Annie Dillard

Recently I had to read some nonfiction books by Annie Dillard for an author study and I chose The Writing Life and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (if I have time I will also read For the Time Being). I finished the former novel recently and it really made me think differently on how writers do their job. She opens up about her way of writing, even going so far as to say how she hates to write, not something you would expect from a renowned author. The writing process is delved into in this book, where Dillard talks about how “it takes years to write a book” and “the written word is week”. Her obvious experience with writing shows in the book and this makes her credibility already established. There are some great quotes to take away from in this book. For example, Dillard speaks about writing: “Write as if you were dying- at the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case, what would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?” Dillard speaks volumes about the ethereal nature of writing. Her writing itself is so different from things I have read before, probably because I don’t really go out of my way to read nonfiction. She jumps- more like glides- into random topics in the course of the text which is broken up into small sections throughout the chapter. She does focus on nature quite a bit, however. The last few chapters of The Writing Life tell the story of Dillard’s presumed friend who was a pilot, and how that friendship affected her. This nonfiction book will really help with my author study goals to analyze her writing (I mean, she has practically given me a cheat sheet in book form) and deduce her style.


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