Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Vacation No More

This blog has gone on vacation, or is on sick leave.  Or perhaps it merely suffers from neglect. 

“Oh, no,” Judy and I lamented.  “Who shall write first?”  We each have been leading ordinary, hum-drum lives, albeit packed-to-the-top and over-flowing.  Satisfying and enervating but perhaps not exciting for anyone else.

I would stop right there, perhaps should (laughter).  However, this week I am thinking about writing again, for my first-draft manuscript is calling me to fix some things, add some things, scratch out many things.  It’s a dangerous time for a young (not in years but in output) writer. 

Also this week, I have been reading Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life.  Now here is writing worth cogitating over, rearranging brain cells for.  I am awed by Annie’s perspicuity (ordinary words won’t describe her). However, in the midst of her clarity, her incredibly complex strings of words gather meaning after meaning as they wend their way across the sky. Some of them tumble into the recesses of my mind (which should have a bigger reservoir than it has).  When they finally hit bottom they  acquire a new and tantalizing essence and even three whole days later I feel as if I’m drowning in them.

I can’t write like Annie at all, at all.

I wanted to give you a sampling of Annie’s writing but the sample turned into paragraphs, then sections, then chapters, and pretty soon I would have copied the whole book.  So, to whet your appetite I have keyed in the first paragraph of the book and hope you’ll run right out to Amazon (I use something archaic:  the nearby library) to order it.

When you write, you lay out a line of words.  The line of words is a miner’s pick, a woodcarver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe.  You wield it, and it digs a path you follow.  Soon you find yourself deep in new territory.  Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject:  You will know tomorrow, or this time next year…. You make the path boldly and follow it fearfully….

This much I understand:  you never know what will happen when you write.

1 comment:

  1. You really are an Annie Dillard whether you know it or not. Your words in pictures, like hers, weave and cascade and splash. Guess I'll go upstairs, dust that book off and mull it over again. It evidentially didn't take the first time. :-)