The introduction to Lamott’s book sets the tone for the rest of the read through her use of words, friendly semi-formal tone, and heavy use of anecdote. This is Lamott’s time to establish herself as the narrator of the book, letting the reader become acquainted with her as a person. She tells the story of her father, a prominent writer in his own right, and how he raised her in the presence of constant creation.
“Every morning, no matter how late he had been up, my father rose at 5:30, went to his study, wrote for a couple of hours, made us all breakfast, read the paper with my mother, then went back to work for the rest of the morning.” (pg. 14 iBooks version)
Lamott’s world as a child was writing. She grew up idolizing her father, though her young mind found the fact that he didn’t have a “day job” odd. All the same, she wanted to be a writer like him when she grew up, to be published by some big company and roll in the fame and fortune that came with it. When her father died of brain cancer, she wrote a novel of the experience, It took a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and alcohol, but she finally got her first novel published.
And it wasn’t half as satisfying as she thought it would be. So, years later, Lamott wrote this book to chronicle her way of working, to leave something that other writers could learn from. And now, we the creative writing group, have empirically analyzed it to learn all there is to know about the pedagogy of Anne Lamott, and her take on the phenomenon of writing. This is Bird by Bird.