Saturday, February 4, 2006


"Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious.  When you're conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader.  He or she will recognize his or her life in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, ....

"Try to write in a directly emotional way, instead of being too subtle or oblique.  Don't be afraid of your material or your past.  Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you.  Be afraid of not getting your writing done.

"If something inside you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal.  So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work.  Write straight into the emotional center of things.  Write toward vulnerability.  Don't worry about appearing sentimental.  Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent.  Risk being unliked.  Tell the truth as you understand it.  If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this.  And it is a revolutionary act -- truth is always subversive."

- Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird (Doubleday 1994)

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