Creative writing is an incredible art form. Writers have the tools to create a real world with real characters inside the pages of a book. However, for a story to be effective, it must be driven by someone who is telling us the story through their eyes. In “Bird by Bird,” written by Anne Lamott, the anecdotes and metaphors used to describe her mother and the importance of characters has inspired me to use my personal experiences in my artwork, as I am human afterall. (Buy "Bird by Bird" here )
In Part Three of “Bird by Bird,” Anne Lamott writes about her mother in such a heartwarming way. Lamott described her mother’s emotions to effectively represent her mother’s pride in her work. After explaining that three people loved her use of “wire hood” in her second book, Lamott adds her voice when adding “Let’s be honest. Two real people and my mother.” The use of “real people,” is relatable, as most of use know our mothers are not like everyone else. In addition, Anne Lamott also paints a visual picture to help portray her mother’s support. Lamott shows her mother’s emotion by writing “…what she is feeling is…like it’s my handprint is clay” to paint a visual picture of her mother’s pride. This comparison is absolutely beautiful; it perfectly shows that her mother still pictures her as a baby. The book is filled with various descriptive anecdotes and techniques to improve your writing; this example supports that we find the best material in our truths and past experiences.
Later, Lamott discusses the importance of dialogue and effectively supports that the characters are essential in driving a story. While the plot is also a core element to any story, the characters are the forces that make the story real. Lamott brings up that if a writer is lucky, their characters “may become impatient with your inability, while writing dialogue, to keep up with all they have to say.” This is a beautiful picture she paints; it's like you can hear the voice of these fictional characters fighting to be heard. They are no longer forces of fiction. The most powerful line Lamott uses to explain characters is that “they exist somewhere;” these characters are somewhere in this world living and breathing. Rather than simply focusing on the dialogue, writers must understand that the characters they create should have a universe inside of them, just like all of us. Every single human and animal has the privilege of experiencing the universe from a unique perspective, and a great writer will create a soul in their work.
Undoubtedly, Anne Lamott’s strong use of voice perfectly describes the importance of personal experience when being a creative writer. Lamott paints a beautiful picture when describing her work as “handprints in clay” from the perspective of her mother; the visual she creates reminds most of us of our own mother. Lammott also emphasizes the importance of a character that feels real to the reader. If a character lacks motives, thoughts, and emotions, they are not believable or relatable, which makes for an uninteresting story. Although I previously knew the importance of real life experiences and characters in writing. Reading Anne Lammott’s “Bird by Bird, was a beautifully written reminder of what it means to be a writer.