Write As If

Write as if you only have a year to live, Anne Lamott advises. (I'm paraphrasing.) That seems like a lot of pressure, but I imagine it would certainly focus the mind on what's important - on what you want to say or what you want to leave behind. A giant timer ticking away behind you. She also advises to write as if your parents are dead. And write as if in a one-inch frame, which is to say, zero in on details a bit at a time; the big picture will take care of itself.  All good advice, especially if you know what you want to write about.  The main thing for writers is just to write. Write as if we are dying. Because we are.


  1. Ummm. Love her, but. If your parents are alive, spend time with them. They will give you grist for the story mill, insight they didn't feel they could spill until asked, so ask. Speak. Converse. Press them because later you cannot. If your parents are alive, do not write as if they are dead, but measure the moments with them that can inform your writing. Balance before art.

  2. Well, of course. Who would advocate ignoring living parents? That wasn't the point. Her point is to not let their presence be a deterrent to honest writing.

  3. A Silly Comedy On A soggy Corona Day

    When the folk gather, so do the clouds.
    Skies seem more soggy than usual.
    Don your straw hat.
    Float behind unanticipated balloons, beneath pink parasols.

    Toss your line into Silver Pond.
    Reel in past generations.
    Hear the frogs' song.
    Spin to answer the possibility in the train's lonesome call.

    Squeeze the ishy-gushy-mud between your toes.
    The Cattleman says "It’s grass in the bank."
    Then thumbs his striped suspenders.
    Even a rain-soaked lollypop from a muddy-puddle-street is still sweet.

    Downstreet, another man digs in his heels.
    He pushes one tractor off the road. And another.
    “O’l Bob” should’a eyeballed the gas can better,

    I guess.