“If you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
—– Anne Lamott
High above the Japan Sea a little farther on the trail to the right in the photo stands a tall white lighthouse. It doesn’t pick itself up and run about, looking for readers, er, boats to rescue. It’s just waiting there for boats out in the dark and in the storm, boats that need to know where the land is. Just so, when we’re seeking, when we’re climbing and clambering, in our own dark and storms, we need words that shine for us, that guide us to safety. At times of great gratitude and thankfulness, we may even long to write such words for others. How to do that?
Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life tops my very short list of must-reads for for anyone who writes, or wants to, or wants to write better. Also on my personal short list are Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within and Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
Do you have your own list of writer-lighthouses? And if so, who’s made your list?