“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?”
I read this some years ago and I had somewhat of a different view. I remember it as boring, unnecessary, unfunny and a ton of condescension.
For some reason though I felt compelled to read it again I loved it. I cried. I laughed. I related so damn much. In between my two reading I have written so much more. I have loved and lost and LIVED so much more. And I like this person, who read the book again, so much more.
It is well known that it is easier to write reviews of books you hate than books you love, but that doesn’t mean you should hate every book you read. And I did that for a while, but I’m much kinder now. At least I’d like to be kinder.
It’s impossible to review this book without getting a bit personal, because that’s what Lamott is good at. Opening herself up, yet feeling like she’s opening you up, instead. Sometimes she hits the mark perfectly, revealing something ugly and you think, yes I’ve felt that. Other times she reveals something ugly and you think “god, I hope I never become that petty/selfish/insecure/dark” until you realize that you most certainly have been exactly that.
I love that she is open and honest about writing as writings own reward. So often when I tell people I enjoy writing they ask me if I have been or want to be published. But I really just write because I can’t not. And Lamott seems to get that, that there is something in writing that is a way of life.
“You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean”
Some of my original criticism still stand though, but reading this book requires honesty and it rewards you with awesome, little relatable diamonds that seem to both capture exactly what you are and at the same time inspire you to do greater things.
“That is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away”