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Lamott’s Lish Anecdote

Bird By Bird author Anne Lamott told the attendees of the 2008 Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference that her first rejection letter was from Gordon Lish.

She had submitted a story to Esquire when she was just a child, according to Michael Armstrong of, noting Lish wrote on the rejection slip:

“You have made the mistake of thinking everything that happened to you is everything.”

Now in her 50s, Lamott agrees with Lish’s assessment.


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