START Experiment Day 3 Research: SUPA STAAAAHSS


Today’s task is to find 1-3 people who have accomplished what you’re aiming for during these 24 days.  Research them online and see what you can learn from the trail they have already blazed.

With very little deliberation, I immediately chose Anne Lamott, Tim Rice, and Isaac Watts.  Here’s why and what struck me:

I have loved Anne Lamott since I read her book “Bird by Bird” and read this quote:

“I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.” 

I want to write for all the same reasons she wants to write.  Therapy.  Community.  Brain-expansion.  Laughter.

I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness—and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine.

While researching Anne, I came across the narrative non-fiction style called particularism.  Although I am quick to forget details in my life, like what time I should show up somewhere, I am usually EXTREMELY detailed in my storytelling–both conversationally as well as the written word.  It is validating to see that this is a legit literary designation.

I chose Tim Rice because of his work on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

I was inspired by the stage production featuring Donny Osmond which we saw in Detroit many years ago, and my BSF class to write a similar musical about Paul’s missionary journeys.  I find it fascinating that he wrote it with Andrew Lloyd Webber the year I was born (1968) and opened on Broadway in 1982 when I started high school.  That is quite a gestational period and it gives me hope for the time frame of the development process.

Isaac Watts (July 17, 1674 – November 25, 1748) is my third superstar.  It is said that he wrote over 750 hymns, including “Joy To The World.”   My friend Cathy posts a hymn each day and she posted a great one of his on the day of this assignment, which also happens to be Mr. Watts birthday:

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,

That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.

I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;

The moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, that filled the earth with food,

Who formed the creatures through a word and then pronounced them good.

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed where’er I turn my eye,

If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,

And clouds arise and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;

While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;

And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

It was published by the name “Praise for Creation and Providence”  in a book called “Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children” which was a standard textbook in schools for 200 years.  According to Wikipedia (so it MUST be true), his hymns are found in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal, the Baptist Hymnal, the Presbyterian Trinity Hymnal, the Methodist Hymns and Psalms, as well as the Church of Christ, Scientist, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That is a wide audience for a song writer.

I also appreciate that in addition to being a thoughtful poet and theologian, he wrote many books and essays on logic.  A lover of words, he entitled one work that became quite popular in the 1700s:

“Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences.”

Or as I like to call it, LotRUoRitEATWaVoRtGAEitAoRaHLawaitS


If I could come up with a title like this, half the work would be done already!

All us creative types can use a heaping helping of logic from time to time.  Anne, Tim and Isaac…thank you for your work.


One response »

  1. I’m reading Anne’s Bird by Bird now 🙂 I happened to have a copy a friend gave me years ago, but I hadn’t taken the time to read it. She is hilarious! Love her. You post is great. Thank you for sharing all the wisdom and other writings 🙂

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