For the most part, I really enjoy writing, and this blog is my easel of choice. Occasionally I will have a brain freeze for about five weeks and stare at the screen trying to type words (any words will do), only to find that I can't even muster a decent caption to my photos. And especially since the day Giovanna was born, my brain has been slipping out my ear and flopping onto my desk, unused.
Which is why I love that last month in my bookclub we were assigned to read this book: Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird". Technically, it is a guide to writing, but even for the ladies in my bookclub who don't care much for writing, it was empowering and inspirational in its own right. I highly recommend* it to anyone who wants to improve their writing, and to anybody who just wants an insightful, self-depreciatingly hilarious, inspirational read.
I am still figuring out how this book will play a role in my life, because I haven't churned out my best-selling novel yet. However, I have noticed that I spend more time engaging in the practice of narrating my thoughts and actions now than I used to, as if someday my mundane existence may be the meat for a really great book.
But you know what? By paying better attention to the things I say and do, and jumping into third person on myself, I've learned a few things: I've learned that I am funnier than I thought I was, I do things for strange and even superstitious reasons sometimes, and that between being a Christian and a Social Worker, I have been trained to censor myself from making a lot of frank and hasty judgments about people and situations. For example, when I found myself narrating in my head a silent interaction between me and someone of color, or between me and someone it would have been easy to pass judgment on, I found myself choosing my descriptive words very carefully, because I could feel the power of the words I chose, to represent me and my beliefs or not to represent me. Most of the time I do not engage in this narrative of my life, and I believe that I may be missing out on a simple tool for introspection. This exercise has allowed me to consider writers, and how they may be a small struggling population, but that they in their workaday worlds may be more knowledgeable about themselves than any of the rest of us.
* I do highly recommend this book, but I want to add a caveat that there are some swear words in this book, for those of you who would like to read it but may be very sensitive to profanity.