This book was probably my first introduction to humorous writing in English. I really liked this style of writing a lot that I’ve begun reading Billy Collins’ collection of poems Sailing Alone in the Room. I’m experimenting with my comedic voice both in my poetry and in recent explorations in drawings. Reading the book made me nostalgic about writers like Bob Ong and Eros Atalia—Filipino humor writers whose books I read in grade school and high school.
What’s most interesting about Anne Lamott’s book is that it was also a book of writing lessons. So, Anne was basically teaching writing but through a comedic voice. It was very effective! If only teachers of all kinds could teach with fun and humor, things will be a lot easier for everyone—students, parents, taxpayers, politicians, even the teachers themselves!
My favorite lesson from Anne was her advice on how to avoid libel when writing about your ex:
If you disguise this person carefully so that he cannot be recognized by the physical or professional facts of his life, you can use him in your work. And the best advice I can give you is to give him a teenie little penis so he will be less likely to come forth.
Haha. Great advice from a great book! I highly recommend Anne’s book.
Lamott, A. (1995). Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1st Paperback Edition). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.