In an ongoing quest to define my own Faith, I’ve been trying to read books and articles by intellectuals who believe in God, and how this faith manifests in their daily lives. Most recently I’ve picked up this Anne Lamott book. I read and re-read her book on writing Bird by Bird in college, and should probably read it again like yesterday. She basically had the opposite upbringing of mine: she was raised by liberal, atheist parents who thought all believers were idiots — and found herself drawn to her friends’ and friends parents who were Christian, drawn to the warmth and ceremony and stories. (Haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m interested to see how this curiosity turned into faith, and what exactly what breed of faith it is that she now has.) Turns out she was upbrought, if you will, in Tiburon, California, with my Dad. Awesome. I like to imagine them together, vandalizing playgrounds and drinking red wine out of 7 up cans beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. This definitely did not happen, but they went to some sort of social club together. I just like to pretend.
With no proper segue, here’s one of my favorite parts of Bird by Bird, advice that really stuck with me…..or perhaps just continues to justify my occasional writerly laziness:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”