Episode #24 – Anne Lamott’s Writing Wisdom

No matter what class I teach or talk I give, the question always comes up, “How do I write about people in my family?”

On this fifth Thursday of the month, we look to successful writers to share their wisdom with us.

Today, we listen to the words of Anne Lamott, novelist, nonfiction writer, professor, political activist, and author of one of my favorite writing books, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

 Every writer needs to make peace with what they are going to write and prepare him/herself for what may come—good or bad—once it’s in the world.

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Remember always: The only way to do this wrong is to not do it at all!

Until next time, happy writing!

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1 year ago

Since I tend to be straightforward, it does get me in trouble from time to time. I like the idea of putting the draft down for a while.

If I think it’s really going to be an issue, I can always change the name.

I don’t remember if it was Ms. Lamont or not. But I like the idea of “Write your own story.”

Orah Zamir
Orah Zamir
1 year ago

Ihave difficult stories to tell about my parents and brother. Once I tried to tell a relative about my dad’s rages because I didn’t get anywhere with my mother.She told me my dad was a nice guy and I shouldn’t say things like that. I have a more difficult story to tell about my nephew who is carrying family trauma pain. My brother doesn’t get it. He had to have participated in passing on the trauma to his son. I have communicated with him about this and he told me to go ahead and write my story, so I will.… Read more »

Orah Zamir
1 year ago
Reply to  Patricia

The whole story of what happened in jail was in the newspapers. The last part of it, when he was out of jail and living with his mother, he threatened her with a knife. He went back to jail for a while but was let out. He disappeared and has been missing ever since. My brother got a call from him a few years ago asking for clothes and some financial help. He refused. I think about him a lot and pray for his safety and hope he will find the healing process, as I did. I am still not… Read more »

Holly Martinez
1 year ago

Seems like life has worked out well, they died. So far no complaints from them.

Orah Zamir
Orah Zamir
1 year ago
Reply to  Holly Martinez

Thank you for my best laugh today.

Linda Peterson
1 year ago

In my family, we had a relative who was a beloved, fun uncle to my older siblings, while, as his love of
drink increased and he moved in with Mom and us younger siblings, he became a force to be reckoned with, and not in a good way.
When I wrote about him, I told the older girls, “Live the life we younger siblings had to live, then talk to me.”

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