In true Lamott style, this one is crazy, disorganized, and totally funny. She doesn't talk technique so much (although that's there) as she does about the difficulty of being a writer--the psychological backwash of the whole thing. She has a terrific metaphor in there--that her mind is like a bad neighborhood that she tries not to go into alone at night. So perfect. She deals a lot with insecurities, jealousy, and the "critical brain" that keeps us from writing. It's amazing how much of myself I recognize in this book--especially these days as I begin a new project.
I think maybe the most fun I've had as a writer is finishing up the last book. At some point I suddenly realized I was over the crest and I had an actual book, and the rest was organizing, polishing, adding a poem here and there--that was such satisfying, relaxing work. Now I'm back at the bottom again, beginning the climb. That's fun too, but stressful of course. Every time I write a poem I have the whole "is this even going to work? Everyone's done this before, etc. etc." stuff going through my head. The bad neighborhood I've wandered into. It takes a surprising amount of emotional energy to stay out of that neighborhood and the crack dealers who want to suck me in.
I have started my early morning routine again--getting up at 4:30 and writing. I wrote 4 new poems this week. And now I need to follow Lamott's advice, and be gentle with myself, be happy about progress, in any form. It's 4 poems (regardless of how good or bad they are) that didn't exist in the world before this week. And that's sunny sidewalks and a Starbucks up ahead. That's the neighborhood I want to spend my day in.