Annie Dillard Essays

positing that Dillard somehow boxed herself in with her mystical interests.So the key question Remnick asked was why did she retire from writing, some years ago now, to spend her days painting?Gleefully, in “Being Chased,” she recounts an exhilarating race with childhood friends as a man in a suit pursues them through backyards after they bombarded his Buick with snowballs.

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In it, she said, she bites off a big chunk of her preoccupation with human existence.

All I can say is it’s in my pantheon as one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

She seems to be saying that an individual would be willing to sacrifice education, reason, and dignity for the sake of a glimpse of the sacred and holy.

It seems like the church should be projecting a ...

Though Dyer and Dillard have both written novels, it was her nonfiction that galvanized him.

She showed him how a writer can go deep in her work, he writes, “by stripping it of a lot of the clutter—the furniture of character—required by the novel but the physicality of story-telling has to remain strong, has to be doubly strong, in fact.” Dyer’s authorial persona is of a slacker, a stoner, a failure, but that’s in comedic tension with his own work, which belies that, and the Oxford man leaves evidence, in stray lines, of his own spiritual interests.She wrote by hand, she told him, and one day couldn’t remember where she was going with the start of a promising sentence she’d left the previous day on her legal pad.Short-term memory loss, in short, is her explanation for her retirement from writing.Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke?" This statement implies that institutionalized religion has somehow lessened the true emotions and freedoms of nature and experience.flapped into the fire,” and her wings “ignited like tissue paper.” Her “spectacular skeleton” kept burning “while I read by her light, kindled, while Rimbaud in Paris burnt out his brains in a thousand poems, while night pooled wet at my feet.” She intertwines the moth’s last light with her study of “rock mountain and salt sea” in the Cascades and the erosion of time in a meditation on the nature of god.Her sly humor can sneak up on you, as in “The Weasel,” when she finds herself “looking down at a weasel, who was looking up at me.” The two are “stunned into stillness” and a brief stare-down, causing Dillard to wonder how the creature thinks.Reading “The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New,” a heady selection of Annie Dillard’s work, is to discover — or rediscover — this magnificent, fiercely attentive writer who wakes up each day “expectant, hoping to see a new thing.” “A live wire …shooting out sparks,” Dillard charges her prose with urgency.Her writing is filled with specific, memorable, seemingly random thoughts that eventually develop deep metaphoric power."On the whole," Dillard writes, " I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions.


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