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amazing grace

7 February 2009

I just finished rereading one of my favorite books about writing, Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott.
It’s full of so much good writing wisdom, and honest hilarity…and other alliterative description, like awesome anecdotes.

Read me.

Read me.

This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of—please forgive me—wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in on our small, bordered worlds. When this happens, everything feels more spacious…I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world—present and in awe.

See? such good stuff.
Well, I already find myself full of wonder in my bordered world, but I’m trying to be even more conscious of it, and try to do more with it besides lock it away in a notebook.
Step 1: share it on the blog.

So the other day I’m watching Ellen. [oh I’m not afraid to admit that! I love me some Ellen! her goofy dancing, her easygoing conversations with beautiful celebrities, her quirky interactions with everyday people, and the occasional glimpse into what it’s like to be funny and female and successful. Yup yup yup. Big fan.]

So the other day I’m watching, and Stevie Wonder is the guest. Surprise! He sings before the first commercial break. Ellen dances. The crowd goes wild. Later, she interviews him and they talk about his songwriting process. And I get goosebumps.

“You have songs you just hang out with,” he says, “until you feel comfortable with what you want to write.” He tells the story of one song he’s had on his mind since he was 24 years old.  He finally finished it for the inauguration CD Change is Now. WOWOWOW.

for some reason, when thinking about writing this post, I thought of the lyrics:

i once was lost, but now i’m found; was blind, but now i see.

and, no smartypants, not because Stevie Wonder is blind…
but because the feeling of finding inspiration after a long time of feeling lost is a lot like GRACE.
and it’s amazing to imagine Stevie Wonder [Stevie Wonder, y’all!] sitting on an idea for decades, waiting for the right time to set it free.
In awe.

One Comment leave one →
  1. yupatuwah permalink
    12 February 2009 12:49 pm

    Very good post and very true. I gotta read this Bird book. I always think of this, from Anton Chekhov’s letters, about the writing process:

    “Subjects for five big stories and two novels swarm in my head. One of the novels was conceived a long time ago, so that several in the cast of characters have grown old without ever having been put down on paper. There is a regular army of people in my brain begging to be summoned forth and only waiting for the word to be given…The subjects that sit in my head are vexatiously jealous of those already on paper.”

    Not quite as upbeat as Mr. Wonder, but nonetheless. Singular flashes of inspiration aside, most ideas need time to grow. Some go nowhere, some are traded or get combined with other ideas, some get sold off for spare parts. This is why writers carry notebooks. Always.

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