Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bird by Bird: Final reading thoughts

I would like to say, as I begin, that this book has been the most incredible gift as both a writer and a photographer that I've yet been given.

It's an amazing instruction manual concerning doing -anything- and I am very thankful to have read it this year.

I loved Anne's chapter about "How do you know when you're done." I've always had the feeling that I've never finished anything and it's because I am always left with that anxious feeling where I'm just driving myself insane, particularly with my writing pieces. I know exactly the moment that she is talking about that she describes as the moment where one is actually finished. Now I'll know, once and for all, when I'm actually done with something.

I plan to spend my time in this upcoming year (after I graduate next week) working on everything that I've produced in college and getting them to this stage. I am looking forward to getting much of what I've worked on to the point where I can feel that they are finished, where I can put them down and think to myself that this script or that multimedia piece are what I've never been able to let myself say they were: finished.

I loved the chapter about KFKD and it was incredibly therapeutic for me. I have this radio station on in my head all the time and reading about it has helped me to become much more aware of when it's playing and more importantly, to tell myself that it's time to turn the dial down.

I saw a therapist this semester that helped me deal with my anxiety disorder by allowing myself to feel okay when I'm struggling with anxiety, to always be able to tell myself: Okay, what can I do -now-? This seems incredibly easy advice to give oneself, but it gave me a good script to tell myself when I'm having issues. It took someone else telling me that it's alright to take down the perfectionist bar that I've built for myself. Instead of building up so much anxiety about the fact that I haven't done something to the point that I never do said thing, I just gently tell myself: "Okay, well what can I do now?" and I get up and do it.

Reading about KFKD helped me to see, as did this entire novel that I am not broken, I am not a waste of space and I am not a failure- I'm just a perfectionist and that can be more of a hinderance than a help. I have this book and my therapist to thank for helping me to forgive myself for failure and move past it, to see myself for the person that I am and keep myself moving into the future by focusing on the now, rather than ignoring the present by obsessing over the future.

Bird by bird has filled me with the hope that I needed to move to the next step in my life. It showed me that I already have inside of me what it will take me to make it where I want to go as a writer, photographer, and most importantly, as a person. I just have to keep going and instead of losing faith, curling in a ball and worrying myself to death before I leave my bed, I just have to think:

What can I do -now-

If all that is is making breakfast, that's OKAY.

I can ask myself the same question once I've finished eating my breakfast burrito.

(Thank you Anne Lamott)

I am intensely excited about graduation and I'm not driving myself crazy about getting a job because that will not be happening next week, tomorrow, today, and most importantly right now.

I am focused on this entry and afterward, putting Bird by Bird in a box with all of the things that I plan to take with me after I move out my apartment because it's been the best gift that I've been given for my future. It's a book that although I've read through in its entirety, I plan to read again and again and again, whenever my thoughts dial back to station KFKD.

Thank you Rita, for everything that you've done for me, but especially for assigning us this book. I will keep it with me for as long as I live, especially because I am, first and foremost, a writer. It was on the list that my writing teacher gave to us last week about great books for writers. Honestly, it's a great book for everyone, anyone.

I will be continuing to work on my 30 day project after graduation, working on my technique as a film-maker, working on the extensive footage that I took of Sergeant Foust, on making it into a documentary. I'm really excited that I'll have the time to do this after graduation, that I'll have time, in general, especially to begin producing on my own terms.

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