Saturday, November 21, 2009

Anne Lamott

I had the privilege of sitting in on a Reading class at West Valley Community College last month. Students were asked to bring a novel of their choice into the classroom.

Guess which one of our authors wins 'Most Popular'?

Answer: Anne Lamott

I was not surprised by Anne Lamott’s popularity. In person, Anne is as insightful, funny and as strikingly bold as she is on the page. Her habit is to explore terrain others shy away from: Alcoholism, God, Failure, Writing, Death and Parenting. Anne’s voice is real and loving and funny and wise and fearless. Her self-deprecating humor sweeps you up and carries you through all of these subjects so that by the time you finish the book you feel fundamentally reassured. Anne helps us pat ourselves on the back. She tells us things like it’s okay not to be perfect. In fact, she convinces us that perfection is down right lame.

Not only are Anne’s books a favorite choice among students, but Bird By Bird is also a class favorite for Writing Instructors. Just as dreadlocks are not typical hair fashion in academia, neither is honesty about how hard it is to write. Reading Anne Lamott in English classes charts a course for instructors to cut through the bullshit and get the real story. I don’t have any research to back this up, but that is not going to stop me from making the claim that: Anne’s essay “Shitty First Drafts” from Bird By Bird is probably one of the most widely used essays in first-year composition classrooms.  

“For me and most other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts,” Anne writes.

I can relate to this right now...hmmm. Maybe it's time for a rewrite....


Look for Anne's next book in April 2010...

No comments:

Post a Comment



I have enjoyed putting together our little bookstore up in Squaw Valley over the past four years. We love our bookstore and it has been your support that makes it all possible, so Thank You!

I have received many requests for an online SVCW Bookstore. Some who miss us when they are away, and others who are just tired of lugging all those hardcovers around on airplanes. There are also those writers who are honest about being broke and needing to purchase books at Amazon's discounted prices. As fellow writers, we understand your pain!

For these reasons I thought it would be fun to try our hand at a SVCW Books and Authors blog. I will track down our authors and past participants and post their books, news, reviews and information and link our SVCW books to Amazon. Ten percent of every book purchased through our blog will help support the bookstore. I am looking forward to building an online archive of the outstanding collection of books represented by authors who frequent the Community of Writers.

Thanks for visiting our Community of Writers blog!

Community of Writers Onsite Bookshop Manager