BIRD BY BIRD | THANK YOU, ANNE LAMOTT
When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly.
In one of the most seminal collections of advice on writing, Anne Lamott delivers amazing missives on the subject, but also on life. Her beautiful work is all based on witnessing a moment with her older brother and father--one which changed her. She explains...
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"
Though the task before me doesn't include binder paper, pencils or a school report, there have been a few moments in the last two months of immobilization and yep, moments of sheer overwhelm at the enormity of the reinvention, redefining, reimagining ahead.
And then...a reminder to myself of how anyone ever accomplishes anything -- tiny or monumental - just "bird by bird."
And though my "flying lessons" right now resemble something the Wright Bros might readily identify with (more crashes than airborne victory), my wingspan is greater than it's ever been, the sky is blue and welcoming, my ground crew is invaluable and it's a great day for flight.
Bird by bird, Kelley, bird by bird.