I’ve just finished reading a book by Anne Lamott called ‘Bird by bird: some instructions on writing and life’. I know that many of you who read my blog are writers, avid readers or both, so I’ve decided to share some quotes from the book that really resonated with me. I even marked them in pencil (which is something I normally don’t do in a book).
Here they are:
‘Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual act of writing – turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward’.
‘Writing is about hypnotising yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotising yourself and going over the material coldly’.
‘…for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth’.
I learnt this lesson early on in my childhood. Dad was a voracious reader who read the newspaper uninterrupted over breakfast. He was a member of the Council of Adult Education’s all male (much to the members wives’ annoyance!) Murrumbeena book group for over thirty years. He also wrote six nonfiction books about the state of the Australian economy and how to improve it, made regular visits to the local library, and often suggested books for the library to purchase. I inherited Dad’s love of writing and reading.
I was an overprotected, introverted child who wasn’t allowed outside to play with the neighbour’s kids on the street. Books were my friends and companions, and I too became a voracious reader. Some of my best memories of school included sorting books in the library at lunchtime in grade six. Once I started secondary school I was fortunate to find a librarian who took the time to find out what kind of books I enjoyed reading, and then made some recommendations. They were always spot on. Thank you Mrs Grainger!
Once I had children it took many years to get a house which could accommodate all our books in the one room. But the wait was worth it. I now live in a home that has a dedicated library room for all of my books. I haven’t counted them, but they take up many bookcases on both sides of a large room. It surprises some people that I’ve kept some books from my childhood. They include Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series, Noddy books, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, and Blinky Bill, which Mrs. Parker, my grade two teacher used to read to our class. I would sit, spellbound on a mat, as she read us at least one chapter a day. I hated having to miss a day of school due to illness. I would just have to fill in what I’d missed of the story with my imagination.
These days I enjoy sharing my children’s books with my grandchildren. And the cycle goes on, as does the circle of life.
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