Disciplining your inner child

6 Jul

Ms. Lamott gives a very specific piece of advice that I love. Just as children need discipline, we as writers need discipline. And she nails down a minimum expectation for us. Three hundred words a day. You shouldn’t let yourself off the hook until you’ve written three hundred words. That seems very doable. I’m up to 60 words already just in this blog post!


Broccoli and jealousy

5 Jul

Ms. Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” deals forthrightly with jealousy (professional jealousy that is). She admits that she suffers from it and goes into enough specific detail that if we knew her personal life, we could probably guess who she’s talking about.

I have a solution for jealousy that Ms. Lamott has not discovered. I do not associate with successful people. I find that by mutual agreement, successful (by this I mean really successful people, not just people who avoid jail and hold down a job) people and I become quick strangers. The few people I’ve known who have migrated to the successful category have also managed to migrate out of my life. Why, I don’t know, but I think they become way to busy for me.

I am in awe of these people. I had no idea they had any talent. I do not suffer from jealousy of them, but I do suffer a little bit of anxiety regarding my ability to assess talent. But this anxiety is balanced by my new ability to brag to my other friends that I know them and be able to give credible stories about their life before fortune smiled on them.

I took a wonderful course in Business Marketing once, where we analyzed case studies of marketing successes to see how we could learn from these events. The instructor posed one of the most seminal questions of my life…one that has stayed with me forever. He asked us, “Were they smart or were they lucky?” A lot of the time it seemed to us that they were just plain damned lucky.

Of course they say you can improve your odds of being lucky by doing all sorts of logical things involving hard work, networking etc. But I think the likability factor was at work big-time with some of my (former) friends and they were just the tiniest bit more strategic in their thinking than the rest of us lumps.

Broccoli. This is a good chapter. Broccoli is Ms. Lamott’s metaphor for inner weird feelings and hunches that turn out to be the unspoken inner weird feelings and hunches of others too. No surprise here–basically this is a writer’s raison’s d’etre. But kudos for acknowledging this and encouraging more people to give credence to their strange intuitions. Of course this can be the road to ruin and New Age detritus. Ahhhh. Life is a balance.

Tweet by tweet

4 Jul

I am enjoying Twitter so much that it has seriously cut into my blogging time.

However, I have pulled myself away to give you a update on my reading of “Bird by Bird”. I’m enjoying it. After reading the ironically titled, “Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning” by Renee Hobbs, it is a welcome relief.

Although I am glad I had a chance to study “Copyright Clarity”, each page made me feel sleepy and confused. And the end result was more questions than answers, although I do feel a little more empowered because fair use rights seem broad for educators, at least according to Ms. Hobbs. A fascinating recap of my interpretations of Ms. Hobbs text will be included in my UIWP website.

But, back to “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. She has a wonderful sense of (self deprecating) humor. However, her issues are not my issues. And I’m hoping she gets to my issues sometime, but I don’t see a relevant chapter title.

She deals with getting beyond writers block and perfectionism beautifully. If these were my problems, I’d be inspired. She makes use of a wonderful Polaroid metaphor, explaining how the work develops slowly just like a Polaroid, and often the intended subject matter is not the most interesting element in the frame.

She talks about the importance of likability of the narrator. Who knew? That’s something I can tuck away for the future.

But alas, my problem has yet to be addressed.

They say writing is really re-writing. That’s where I go offtrack. I love to just pour out my thoughts–but tire quickly of revising. I agree that its a critical step but I often go sideways rather than forward in the revision process. I get stuck. It does help sometimes to have other people’s opinions, but that isn’t always the solution.

I was also given a piece of rewriting advice by a very excellent teacher. He said to try rewriting, but from a different character’s point of view. I have pondered this and think its probably a very good idea, but it just sounds really tedious. I have never been able to do it.

I hope Ms. Lamott will have some insight for me as I continue wandering through her most enjoyable and delightfully readable book.

metaconfusion reflection

28 Jun

What would I do differently for my “metaconfusion” video?


I would use a tripod. Yes, this would spoil the fun and spontaneity but viewers would probably appreciate the fact that they would not become nauseous when viewing it.

I would not reuse footage from a previous video–that is sort of cheating. Recycling as cheating.

I would have better rhymes. There’s a lot of cheese there.

I might use some titles to make some things pop a little more.

I’d do a better job at attributing sources.

I’m sure I could use some cool sound effects and I’d remove the underlying sound.

Next video will be perfect ‘fer sure.

Edit this entry.

My other little friends..

25 Jun

I now realize I like Twitter too. I like following people who give me links to cool articles and happenings. Some twitterers have clever insights. But there is a lot of twitter litter.

Also, I’m realizing although I like my little green flip camera, he doesn’t take superb close ups as anyone who watches my video will see. That’s OK. He’s still my friend. Just not my close friend.


25 Jun

my new best friend

21 Jun

I have a new little green friend. My flip video camera. Yes, I have fallen in love with my little flip camera.

He’s terrific. Light, cute, sturdy and so simple to use. Even I can use him. I can’t believe he only costs $100ish. I don’t care that his microphone is bad and his lenses are amateurish…the videos still look good to me.

What a wonderful SIMPLE and cheap technology!