Wednesday, August 12, 2015

If my kids were reading this quote, they would definitely say the broccoli is telling them NOT to eat it. Of course, Ms. Lamott is using broccoli as a writing metaphor. What she actually means is when you are at a crossroads trying to figure out what your character is going to do next, listen to them. Try to hear that still small intuitive voice we heard as kids that used to help us know things before we knew we knew them. She believes this voice can lead you to the right decision. She also believes that the loss of that childhood intuitiveness happened over time as grown-ups, who were the ultimate authority, dismissed our uncanny knowing of the right thing to do. For us to write well, we need to learn to hear that voice again. Shut down the doubting voice and listen to your broccoli instead of the rational mind for, as we know, it often leaves little room for creativity. 

Ms. Lamott does a much better job of explaining how to go about listening to your broccoli. If you would like to learn more, grab a copy of her bestselling book, Bird by Bird, find the chapter on Broccoli (about halfway through the book) and learn how to listen to your broccoli.

Image result for Bird by Bird"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our  family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.' "

I don't just love listening to broccoli, I love eating it, too. Here's a link to favorite recipe that will hopefully help you enjoy your broccoli as you listen to it.


Blogoratti said...

Interesting thoughts and perspective indeed. Greetings to you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bird by bird - one step at a time.
My broccoli always says to eat it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love broccoli too. This is an interesting way to look at things. I need to listen to my broccoli later today.
Susan Says

Deborah Hawkins said...

I'll eat broccoli and cheese soup, and broccoli to be polite at a guest's house...Otherwise. lol

But yes, I used to think writers were crazy when they said, "Listen to your characters." Then, I actually did it one day, and was like, "ohhh!"

(And I had many a last minute project. smh)

Liz A. said...

I've never been a big broccoli fan. I do have that book. Have for years. Still haven't read it.

S.P. Bowers said...

I think that broccoli quote was my favorite part of that book.

Medeia Sharif said...

Bird by bird is great advice. It's always a good idea to break up large tasks into smaller ones if it's a huge project or intimidating. I always push myself to work chapter by chapter.

Misha Gericke said...

Bird by Bird is a great book to read if you're trying to be a writer. I'm lucky in that my family let me keep my intuition. In fact, to a large part they encouraged it.

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