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Reading Now: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

At some point, I plan to write more about this book. About how I feel a bit like I should be too intellectual to be reading a book for teenagers. About how I truly disliked Katniss through a lot of the book because she was just such a teenager. About how I could not have cared less about whether she ended up with Peeta or Gale. About how, despite all this, I could not put this series down and would recommend it to everyone, especially my human rights colleagues who study the effects of war or children’s rights.

But, for now, I’ll just say, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

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March 2009: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird

Back in college, I studied journalism. And honestly, I was not very good at it. As soon as I sat down at my computer to write anything, my fingers would lock into a hyper-extended state, and my brain would melt from my ears. Or maybe it just felt like that. Eventually something would eke out onto the page, usually just in time for me to turn it in and not fail. There were many late nights, though, and even more whiny tantrums thrown on my friends’ dorm room floors.

One of my professors finally handed me this book by Anne Lamott, told me to read it, and get over my perfectionism. Because that was the problem – I did not want to write anything unless it was perfect. But, as you can tell if you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, I did get over it. I give a lot of credit to Anne Lamott and Bird by Bird for helping me move on.

I am currently reading this book again because I want to write more and, at times, I feel like I have forgotten how. So I am gleaning advice from this book again and hoping I can move on … again.

A few months after I graduated college, I saw Anne Lamott speak in Boston at that beautiful Episcopalian church in Copley Square. I cannot quite remember what she talked about, though I probably have notes somewhere since I was still in that earnest, note-taking phase of life. As I sit now reading this book again, I see her in my head, standing at the pulpit above the congregation, her crazy curly hair bobbing, telling me to stop worrying and just write that “sh**ty first draft” because “[a]lmost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. D.A.D. permalink
    13 January 2009 2:02 pm

    That is not quite precisely what I tell my writing students. That’s why they don’t get grades until they revise.

    So there.

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