I Don’t Need to Know the Destination

In her book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writes, “What I do … [when] I realize that the well has run dry… is to stop. First I try to breathe… slowly and calmly, and I finally notice the one-inch picture frame that I put on my desk…. It reminds me that all I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame. This is all I have to bite off for the time being…. You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This [advice from E. L Doctorow] is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

“’Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”

Yes. A one inch picture frame. Bird by bird instead of the whole huge report, assignment, thesis, book! Just get started. Find a way to start getting it down, frame by frame. A medium that works, that people will see and hopefully respond to. On Medium, perhaps.

And not having to know the destination — whether I am thinking of writing or of my life’s path in full — is very helpful and hopeful for me, because the destination, not to mention the journey itself, is so much more than I can ever really hope to wrap my head — or my heart, or my being, in fact — around.

But I can explore, observe, reach out, converse, attempt to actually live, one tiny sliver at a time. With the help and companionship and community and friendship of a few others. A quest with a small group of fellow explorers who really, really, really want to take it on together. Yes!

I can put bits and pieces out there, once or twice a day, and see what develops. Yes, I can do that. Step by step. Without worrying about the destination.