• C.E. Medford

Human After All

I'm reading Annie Dillard's The Writing Life. There is certainly no shortage of writers writing books about writing - and that's not a dig - we all respond to different teachers, and even the same writer will respond differently to the same teacher at different points in their career. But I don't find it any quicker or easier to choose a writing book than a novel. So, given that Pilgrim at Tinker Creek struck me (and continues to strike me, decades after first finding it) as the finest nature writing I've ever read, it made sense to see what Dillard had to say about the back end of it all. I'm taking my time with it, a page a day. I think that sort of book sinks in better in small doses. The description of something as unchanging as one's writing process is the polar opposite from the kind of plot based book you can rocket through an afternoon on. And it's rewarding me. The beginning of the book, which I picked up 6 months ago, did not resonate. This morning, it felt like the truest thing ever written. Imagine, a master like Dillard, trying to hit the coffee gold zone (productive-but-not-psychotic, for those unfamiliar). It is a relief somehow. The writing in Pilgrim is beyond what I expect of human beings. The coffee is a reminder that it was the product of a human being after all. We take our comfort where we can.

#anniedillard #thewritinglife #cemedford #magicamerica #writinginspiration

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