bird by bird

by blogasana on July 26, 2011



I may be the only who has not read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

But don’t fear, I am remedying that. It’s a wonderful book about writing, but just as good for a laugh or a life-lesson.

My favorite story in the book thus far also happens to explain the title. Lamott writes:

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.”

Whether it’s grief, boredom, overwhelm, fear, joy, meditation, asana or minutes in the day, wouldn’t we do better by taking it bird by bird.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy --- Just A Titch July 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm

It’s my favorite book of all time, seriously. Anne Lamott is basically a religious figure in my world.

Remind me to tell you about the time I met her and humiliated myself.


blogasana July 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm

no you didn’t… you MET her??


Kelley M July 27, 2011 at 1:56 am

Amen. I, too, have never read this book so perhaps you are not alone. I have added it to my reading list. Yay!

Thanks for the reminder. I feel like I needed this today.


Anna Guest-Jelley July 27, 2011 at 3:31 am

Oh my goodness, Anne Lamott is totally my shero. I’ve read Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies too many times to count. Operating Instructions, Plan B & Grace are also wonderful. I often think of this very quote you pulled about bird by bird — so fitting for many situations.


Priscilla July 27, 2011 at 9:07 am

Thank you for posting this. I’m a huge Anne Lamott fan. This quote reminds me of something a wise old friend of my mother’s used to say: “Inch by inch is a cinch; yard by yard is very hard,.”


Tracy July 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Anne Lamott is a literary & spiritual figure of me as well, Bird by Bird being tops! Bird by bird… After the tragedy that struck us here in Norway last weekend, this is a fitting line for meditating upon… As often you always share the most relevant, Michelle :o) Happy Day!


Elizabeth July 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Sadly, I haven’t read it. I was on hold for it once at the library and then it came in and they changed from calling to emailing and I didn’t find out until it was put back in circulation again. It’s on my to-read list. :)


Thais July 31, 2011 at 1:56 pm

havent read it yet.. clearly i need to add it to my list!!


Leili Learning Life July 31, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I’m new to her work. From the link you shared, this is my favorite quote:
“Take the attitude that what you are thinking and feeling is valuable stuff, and then be na├»ve enough to get it all down on paper.”

Bird by bird — I love that. How else are we to really move through/experience/embrace life?


Brittany August 8, 2011 at 1:16 am

I love Ms. Lamott. I read one of her books my freshman year of college and it changed my life. (If I was featured in O magazine, it’s a book I would list). I have Bird by Bird on my bookshelf and must read it!

Great quote. Thanks, Michelle!


Brittany August 8, 2011 at 1:16 am

Oh, and I’ve met her too. I kinda scared her …. I think.


blogasana August 8, 2011 at 4:37 am

which book was it?


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