Upon Reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott: The Writing Frame of Mind – Radio Station KFKD

Apparently, KFKD stands for K-Fucked.

“It is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to listening to your broccoli that exists for writers.” ~p. 116

Whoa. What the hell is this?

“Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much more open and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and humble one is. Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists of all the things one doesn’t do well, of all the mistakes one has made today and over an entire lifetime, the doubt, the assertion that everything that one touches turns to shit, that one doesn’t do relationships well, that one is in every way a fraud, incapable of selfless love, that one has no talent or insight, and on and on and on.” ~p. 116

I hate the left speaker.

So what to do?

Breathe. Calm down. Relax.

Yeah, right. That easy, huh?

If only.

Every time I accidentally (yeah, believe me, who would ever want to hear the left speaker intentionally?) listen to the left speaker, I would feel terribly depressed. And to get over that is as hard as getting over an ex. Not that I still love him or what, but it’s not always easy to start all over again, start a brand new start, or just simply walk, meeting eyes to eyes then greet him casually like nothing ever happened.

Or maybe that’s just me.

But seriously, it’s not that easy.

Dealing with a writing containing our emotions, thoughts, minds, and even soul, is always like dealing with something fragile for me.

Hell yeah, I’m a perfectionist.

Which is why the accidents of listening to the left speaker happens quite often to me.

It’s like dealing with a sacred, if not cursed, thing, and when something goes wrong, it could take me a whole lot while to be finally able to look at it again and greet it casually.

“Hello. Long time no see! Let’s get back to work now, shall we?”

Eerrrr, never happened. Most of the time, what happen is this:

“Errrm. Hi.” (long silence) “…so…” (long silence) “Well…, I guess I’ll just… I’ll just come back later.” (then leave)

Pathetic, I know.

Arrrgh, why the hell did I pour out what the left speaker told me here?

Okay. Breathe. Calm down. Calm. Down.

“…we need to align ourselves with the river of the story, the river of the unconscious, of memory and sensibility, of our characters’ lives, which can then pour through us, the straw. When KFKD is playing, we are at cross purposes with the river. So we need to sit there, and breathe, calm ourselves down, push back our sleeves, and begin again.” ~p. 121

Right. The characters are always the key.

Think about my characters.

Think about my story.

I used to think that our lives are just like a story in a novel, where each of us is the main character of each of our own novel. So who wrote it? God.

Well, at least that’s what I used to believe.

The thought barely cross my mind nowadays, but reading this book (specifically this chapter) reminds me again of how I used to think of my life and people around me.

I used to enjoy having these kind of thought, really. I would imagine that a big old guy, a.k.a. God, would sit in front of a fancy table, with a fountain pen in His hand. Then I would imagine Him writing about me, about my life, and every time I’m having a problem, I would, of course, feel devastated, but I would imagine that this is a novel about life, where God is writing a story about me, about how I struggled with life and all. And in every story, there’s always a climax. And of course, anti-climax, even though the latter barely cross my mind whenever I’m dealing with the problem. What usually came in my mind instead is, “You idiot! This is reality! Not this stupid imagination of a novel of you!”

Still, the thought fascinates me.

Okay.

So now, I’m the creator of my characters. I’m writing their story. I have to write them down and tell their stories. Right?

I know if I do nothing, their voices and stories would never leave my head and stuck in there.

Oooh. Scary.

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Published by

Laksmi

An MA student at Waseda University, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyo, Japan. An avid reader. A language geek as well. And a book hoarder.

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