Women Writers to Admire: Anne Lamott

As a wannabe fiction writer, I've read endless pretentious writing manuals. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott shocked me by making me laugh. In fact, I LOLed. She's not only hilarious, but she strips the writing process of its mysticism. Like anyone else, she trudges through the forest of fiction writing without a magic formula. She graciously gives us permission to write crappy first drafts and but tells us with tough love that getting published won't solve our problems. "The real payoff is the writing itself." These bits of wisdom won me over.

Bird by Bird led me to Lamott's other nonfiction. The cover of Some Assembly Required features an irresistibly cute baby's foot. I couldn't pass it up. As a mom of a toddler, I related to the hilarious and painful moments of raising an infant. In this case, Lamott kept a journal of her first year as a grandmother. She falls gaga in love with baby Jax the way only a grandparent can. She describes it as "the total love addiction--the highest highs, and then withdrawal, craving, scheming to get another fix." But she can't help herself since "we're wired to be delighted, obsessed; we're engineered that way." As always, Lamott writes with gutsy honesty and self-deprecating humor.

Next on my list is the chronicle of her first year as a mom, Operating Instructions. She's also written several books on faith, including the newly published Stitches, and seven novels.

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