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.