Posts Tagged Anne Lamott

Trust your broccoli.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Some people believe in Muses; beautiful-floaty-sparkly-external beings that have the power to gift you with inspiration and brilliance, or withdraw it if you piss them off and don’t give them enough attention.

Others believe that it comes from a place deep within yourself, your subconscious mind, which is like a treasure chest waiting to be explored.

Anne Lamott has written a brilliant book titled “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, and in it she explains that her inspiration comes from listening to her intuition – or listening to the broccoli.

“There’s an old Mel Brooks routine….where the psychiatrist tells his patient, ‘Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.’ …when you don’t know what to do, when you don’t know whether your character would do this or that, you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do. The problem is that so many of us lost access to our broccoli when we were children. When we listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished. God forbid you should have your own opinions or perceptions – better to have head lice.”

Anne’s advice can be applied to every part of life, whether you are a writer or not. People need inspiration, whether you are packing your child’s lunchbox, having a brain-storming session, preparing a marketing proposal or planning a holiday.

When last have you gotten quiet and tried to hear that small voice inside?  When was the last time that you listened to your intuition and not to the clamoring, blathering and utterly ignorant blabbering in your own head?

I know that I haven’t been listening to that small voice for a while now and that it is time to get back to my broccoli.

My favourite quote from Anne’s book is this:

“Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”


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On writing …

Quote for the day: “There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.” — Somerset Maugham.

First song I heard today: Bells of Freedom, Bon Jovi.

I have just read a fellow blogger’s account on what the turning point was for her; when she realized she wanted to be a writer.

I tried to remember when my own turning point happened. Not so easy … Some people can remember things from their past with absolute clarity. Like my sister; she can tell me about conversations we had as children that I have no recollection of. Or what we did on a specific day, where we went for holiday, teachers’ names, things like that. But not me – probably because I was living in a world created by my own imagination.

This must mean that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I was always in my own mind, making up little stories and having conversations with imaginary people. (Okay, no need to phone those straightjacket people.) This didn’t help my grades or popularity with teachers, but it kept me entertained.

However, if I had to pinpoint a specific time in space, that proverbial ton o’ bricks on the head moment, it would be the day I finished reading Terry Brooks’ Armageddon’s Children. Urban fantasy is my thing and this book personified everything I love about books, reading, fantasy and a whole lot of other things. I knew that I had to try, because if I didn’t, I’d always have that “what if?” question lurking in the back of my mind.

So that is why I sit in front of the laptop, sometimes gnawing away at its corner in a fury of frustration, sometimes on the point of flinging it through the window like a Frisbee, but always keeping my ass in the chair (thanks Anne Lamott!).

What makes the struggle worth it is that moment, when I read over what I’ve written and a little voice whispers in my ear, “Celia, this actually doesn’t suck.”

That makes me very, very happy.

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