Study Guide

Bird by Bird Spirituality/Religion

By Anne Lamott


Anne Lamott learns about life and writing from all sorts of experiences, religious and spiritual among them. Lamott is technically Christian, but she also seems to value insights and examples from other religions, as well as from more general spiritual patterns like meditation that might be practiced (although not always in the same way) by those of many faiths or none.

In Bird by Bird, Lamott sees writing as being about life, and religion and spirituality are aspects of her own life that give it meaning. She takes a broad view: you don't have to be religious or spiritual to be a writer, but for some people, it can help because, in the end, it's all about having an open mind and being in awe of life.

Questions About Spirituality/Religion

  1. How do writing and spirituality interact for Lamott? What do they have to say to each other?
  2. Though Lamott identifies herself as a person who learns some things about life and writing from religion and spirituality, she also wants to encourage writers who don't believe in God or spirituality. How does she do this at various points in the book? Do you think her efforts to include people who don't see themselves as spiritual or religious are successful at these moments?
  3. For Lamott, being a writer isn't just about the self but about a wider community. How do spirituality and religion interact with community for Lamott?

Chew on This

Lamott learns a lot about writing from her own church, and she seems eager to learn from other people's spiritual experiences, too, whatever their belief systems are.

For Lamott, writing can be one path to becoming a fuller person.

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