Jun 07, 2012

by English Muse

Not long after writing about writer’s block last week, I encountered Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. I’m only a chapter and a half in and a little in love.  The book is composed of vignettes and metaphors of the writing life, artfully written and relatable to any creative person.  Dillard writes about the way we are subject to the whim of our own creativity, that as long as the idea is present and the writing can happen, it does–but you cannot know how long it will last.  I especially love the way she speaks of the way words take on a life of their own once on the page:

“Now you watch symbols move on your monitor; you stare at the signals the probe sends back, transmits in your own tongue, numbers.  Maybe later you can guess at what they mean–what they might mean about space at the edge of the solar system, or about your instruments.  Right now, you are flying.  Right now, your job is to hold your breath.”

One might imagine that this experience of the writer connects directly to the experience of the reader.  After all, words on a page, even someone else’s words, are little signals, put together in a way that can take us anywhere–space at the edge of the solar system included.

So, friends, what books have taken you places?  And, also, have you ever had an experience not unlike flying while you are in the midst of creating something?

Until next Thursday,

Katie (unwritten, untitled)

 

[image: Willy Pogany, illustration from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam/quote: Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life. New York: HarperPerennial, 1990. 21]

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6 Responses to “Words on Writing”

  1. marni says:

    interesting! i need this book.

  2. Cassie says:

    ‘The Writing Life’ is a favorite. Dillard changed my life a decade ago with ‘Pilgram at Tinker Creek,’ the chapter on “Time,” and then her book, ‘Holy the Firm.’ Enjoy the rest! x

  3. this looks like a great book to have! perks of being a wallflower and the edible woman are some books that have had that effect on me 🙂

    <3 Sharmaine Ruth
    underpeachtrees.blogspot.com

  4. R.A. Kerr says:

    Great quote from a great writer. Dillard is truly one of the best.

  5. Katie says:

    I just ordered Pilgrim at Tinker Creek on paperbackswap! I can’t wait for it to arrive.

  6. Katie says:

    I haven’t read either of those. Perks of Being a Wallflower is on my monstrous to-read list, but I don’t think I’ve heard of The Edible Woman–I’ll have to look it up.

fin.
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