May 28, 2009

Old Woman of the Mountain


Another book leapt up and demanded to be read quickly, and it was Annie Dillard's The Writing Life. The reason why it sort of nudged it's way out of the bookcase, wiggled it's spine at me and said, "Hey there, cutie. How `bout a dance?" is that, well, I don't seem to have a writing life right now. Call it depression or call it bad scheduling or even self-defeatism but I just haven't been doing it. Even blog output has been shoddy lately, I think. And this Annie Dillard book seemed like good medicine, and, thankfully, it was.

It's not exactly inspiring, and it's not about the craft, but Dillard's book is like a bit of meditation on the entire writing process with plenty of parables. When reading this, I imagined her with a flute or one of those crazy-looking Asian guitars and sitting under a cherry blossom tree, bleating out some tune only to pause to say, "Writing is like playing chess with a secret baby" then flutter out a tune to punctuate the strange sentence as if it was the most wise thing a person could possibly say.

And the surprise of this book to me is that it's funny. Not all the way through, but there's a cantankerous sense of humor that slips into the pages that's refreshing. For example she spoke about the amount of time it takes to write a book, and she said that it takes around 5 to 10 years to write a good book and gave advice not to worry about those people who write a book a year because, and I'm paraphrasing here, some people also pull cars with their teeth, too. Those book a year people, they're freaks like Magnus Von Magnuson and the rest of those people in leotards chucking cars over fences.

But I enjoyed this book, and you might, too. She spends a lot of time about the idea of deletion and editing and inspiration, all if it stuff you know, but it's nice to read and gives you courage to take to your writing like Civil War surgeon, leaving a pile of limbs stacked high behind you, all in order to save your stories. Plus it's only 110 well-spaced pages so it's not like we're talking a tome here. It's worth your time.

And it's not a direct result of reading this book, but more like a concerted effort to stop feeling sorry about myself, but I think I have finally have something figured out. I don't want to talk too much about it, not because I'm trying to be secretive, but what's that phrase? if you want to hear god laugh say your plans out loud, or something like that...and that sure has been true in my case. Seems like everytime I say, "I'm gonna do/go/write _______" it falls around my ankles and god just laughs and laughs because he is, in this example, a butthole. So let's just keep this hope locked in the box.

viva el mustache

ps....Hey, God, when I said you were a butthole you and I both know it was a fucking joke.

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