I just finished reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamotte. It’s a book about writing, why she does it, how she does it, and how she teaches about it. I really liked it, it was funny and informative, with lots of quotes and poems from other writers.
One of my favourite passages: “One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places, to explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life as it lurches and tramps around.”
In it, she describes writing characters and plot as similar to taking Polaroid pictures, you think you know what you’re focusing on, and what you want the end result to be, but it’s only as you are writing and watch what develops that you really see what the image is that you’ve captured. And often, it isn’t at all what you thought it was going to be.
I had just read that chapter, and was walking down the street in San Francisco trying to describe the scene around me in my head, and take note of the little details that I usually breeze right by, when I noticed that someone had written LOVE on the back of a walk light that I walk by, just underneath, everyday. The sky was very blue, and I thought it would make a good picture, so I quickly snapped an image before dashing across the street, as the seconds counted down on the cross signal.
It was only afterwards, when I was looking at the image, that I realized there was an sticker of Henry Winkler, aka The Fonz from Happy Days, stuck on the light post beside it.