Lamott’s father is a central inspiration in Lamott’s novel Hard Laughter. In Bird by Bird, Lamott depicts him as a central figure in her life, although she focuses more on the effect of his writing rather than on her father himself. In fact, she does not reveal his name, or the kind of books he wrote. She does portray him as a free thinker with a bohemian circle of friends. Lamott remembers his friends staying for dinner and drinking too much when she was a child. She also emphasizes her father’s discipline. He woke up at the same time each day—a practice that Lamott herself advocates—and began writing promptly after breakfast. His writing was often controversial; for example, he wrote a disparaging essay about Lamott’s hometown. Lamott is alternately thrilled and embarrassed by her father’s career as a writer, and her father is a steadfast supporter of hers. He encourages her to write a novel about his illness in the same way he encouraged her to go to the library every week to read.