Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bird By Bird

Last evening a friend and I were chatting on the phone a few minutes. It turns out a project she was facing was sending her 'over the edge' of feeling quite overwhelmed. Oh yes, I recognized that feeling, having experienced it numerous times over my lifetime.

But I was pleased when a little story I'd read a very long time ago from Anne Lamott's book, bird by bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, fluttered to the surface of my mind.  It seemed the perfect advice for the occasion.

In the event you are facing your own insurmountable mountain this week, here is the excerpt from the book.  Trust its sane truth turns the mountain into a molehill and beauty settles back in its place.

"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.' "

Wishing you grace for the journey!



  1. Bird by bird is my motto these days - one word, one sentence, one paragraph at a time.

    Thanks for this reminder.

  2. One bird at a time.... it's the only way to get things done! Of course, a little chocolate treat at the end of a task always helps too : )

    Have a beautiful Easter week!
    ~ Violet

  3. Exactly. . . one step at a time. Just keep plodding in the right direction. I am often paralyzed into inactivity by the size of the task. Today, I have many "thank yous" to write for my recent birthday, and bereavement cards to send and a couple of gifts to send in the mail. All of these tasks are small but those are three tasks that I need to remember "bird by bird."

  4. Excellent advice in memorable words!

  5. I think Anne is an amazing writer and has so much to share. I have several of her books. I do wish that she would always elevate the language however. I'm one of the squeamy ones who doesn't care to go from one perfectly beautiful sentence to one laced with strong language.

  6. I love this story. I thought of it recently when confronted with a big task. Ann Lamott is remarkable!

    Happy Resurrection Day,

  7. Love that!
    Working at a High School, there is always a student so stressed.
    I tell them to take it hour by hour. And if that doesn't work, 5 minutes by 5 minutes.

    Great advice!

  8. Bird by bird....very apropos in this spring season, when my yard is full of robins! I like your new look!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo