Thursday, September 29, 2011

Words from a Master

"A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight... it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, ‘Simba!’"
~Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard is one of my writing heroes. Partly, it's because I'm an essayist myself and am awed by her command of language and basically every aspect of her craft. I'm also inspired by her willingness to tackle the big topics -- the things most writers seem to leave to the poets. Death. God. Love. (Of course she writes poems, too, so she's got an advantage in that arena.)

But Annie Dillard is also one of my writing heroes because of quotes like the one above -- that woman's got one hell of a personality. If you need additional proof, you need only look at her curriculum vitae. I mean, who includes political affiliation (Democrat, of course!) on a CV? Plus, there's that story one of my professors told about Annie Dillard dancing at a New Yorker party. That endeared me to her, too -- but you'll have to get in touch with John Hildebrand if you want to hear that one. I couldn't do it justice.

Really, though -- if you're not acquainted with Annie Dillard's nonfiction, you should be. First stop? Holy the Firm. And as a follow-up, For the Time Being. You will be positively stunned.


Stoneboat said...

Signe is a master in her own right. Check out her website at

By the way, if you Google Signe JorgensEn with an "e" instead of an "o," you'll find some rather risque photos.

Don't forget to get a subscription to Stoneboat. PayPal is nice & easy.

Sig. said...

Who has been googling me? Fess up, guys. Lisa? Rob? Jim? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?