Study Guide

Bird by Bird Part 2, Chapter 17

By Anne Lamott

Advertisement - Guide continues below

Part 2, Chapter 17

Radio Station KFKD

  • It's time to talk about radio station KFKD, which stands for what you think it does if you've been watching films about prison or organized crime. Lamott is not worried about getting an R rating; she doesn't have to worry about school boards. Shmoop does, so we'll just let you fill in the word in your head.
  • Radio station KFKD is Lamott's metaphor for all the stuff in your head that gets in the way of your intuition or, as we learned in the last chapter, your broccoli. She says this station blares over-the-top announcements about how special you are out of one speaker and down-in-the-dumps stuff about all your mistakes and failures out of the other. You can't hear your intuition while this is going on, and unfortunately, it's going on in a lot of writers' heads a lot of the time.
  • Lamott recommends extensive therapy, Prozac, and a lobotomy, but we're pretty sure she isn't serious. Her other recommendation is first to realize that KFKD is on. For her, it's on each day when she tries to sit down and write.
  • Lamott finds that a short prayer helps her. She says a ritual of some sort might work for you, too, so you could give votive candles, sage smudges, or small animal sacrifices a try, especially now that the Supreme Court has made small animal sacrifices legal. (We're not making this up—she actually says all of that.)
  • Basically, rituals tell your unconscious that it's time to get rolling, so they may be worth a try.
  • Certain kinds of breathing exercises could also work, according to Lamott. She says she gets nervous about this kind of thing because she fears aromatherapy is right around the corner, but paying attention to your breathing for a bit might calm down radio station KFKD.
  • Then, Lamott tells us about actually trying to start after you've done the ritual or the breathing or whatever works for you. She admits that the mind sometimes wanders here and gives some pretty specific examples of how that might happen—but you can gently bring your mind back to the actual writing.
  • Stories come to us like a river or the Gulf Stream. There's something there, flowing in our subconscious: if we can align ourselves with it as writers, it will flow through us. Station KFKD will mess up this process, so we need to shut it down and just listen to our subconscious instead.

Bird by Bird Part 2, Chapter 17 Study Group

Ask questions, get answers, and discuss with others.

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

This is a premium product

Please Wait...