bird by bird

Anne Lamott wrote a fabulous book on writing called Bird by Bird. The title comes from a story about her brother, who had a report due on birds the next day. He despaired as to how he would complete it in time. Their father suggested that he just take it "bird by bird."
I have taken this advice to heart beyond writing, as Lamott herself suggests in the subtitle, "Some Instructions on Writing and Life." I have numerous plans, much I want to do right now already, OK, yesterday would have been better. I can't do it all at once. And the first task I set out for myself (a book proposal), I completed before the layoff even and it was met with enthusiasm, with a request for a follow-up sample. As with all things (and most especially home-improvement projects), everything takes longer than one might hope. I am writing this forthwith, and moving some other projects along in the process. They will all take time. Longer than I might hope. But all I can do is one bird at a time.
To remind myself, I have knitted a bird (the pattern is in Folk Hats. The wee fellow hangs over my desk, where -- when I glance up in moments of overwhelming so-much-to-do-ness -- I can see it.
Today: I spent lots of time with the kids; I revised my chapter; I threaded about 30 stitch markers. These things all move me toward tomorrow.
Bird by bird.

1 comment:

normanack said...

I think I'm going to write "bird by bird" on the wall above my desk. Thank you!