I first read a chapter of Bird by Bird – a very poor photocopy complete with cryptic, indecipherable notes in the margins – in the one and only creative writing class I took in my undergrad. We did a lot of readings but this one really stuck with me, and after I graduated and was feeling beaten-down in a lot of ways, I picked up the book and I read it from front to back.
This is one of those books that feels like the cool hand of someone checking you for a fever. Calm. A signal that things can get better, maybe even soon. This was also a book that began to help me realize the full spectrum of standing up for myself, and the many forms that standing up for yourself can take, and the necessary ways of going about it. I particularly like this passage, which is still saved on my phone from the first time I read it:
When I moved across the country, this was one of the books that ended up in storage. But I’ve been feeling an itch – an ache – to reread it, and finding it for $2 at a thrift store seemed like the universe talking to me. You know? So here we are. One step at a time. Bird by bird.