Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thought for the Day

The writer studies literature, not the world. He lives in the world; he cannot miss it. If he has ever bought a hamburger, or taken a commercial airplane flight, he spares his readers a report of his experience. He is careful what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know.

The writer knows his field––what has been done, what could be done, the limits––the way a tennis player knows the court. And like that expert, he, too, plays the edges. That is where the exhilaration is. He hits it up the line. In writing, he can push the edges. Beyond this limit, here, the reader must recoil. Reason balks, poetry snaps; some madness enters, or strain. Now, courageously and carefully can he enlarge it, can he nudge the bounds? And enclose what wild power?


-Annie Dillard, The Writing Life (HarperPerennial, 1989), p. 68-69

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I spent a couple of hours this morning pushing and reworking the new poem. I have something good and real and alive here and Yes, I am grateful for that. The poem is out over sixty lines, mostly because after cutting some dross I've built the story back by suggesting several alternative directions in the narrative. I have decisions to make and suspect that this one will edit back down toward fifty lines.

I have another busy day at work. Meetings all morning, meetings all afternoon. Through most of which, I will be expected to extravagantly tap-dance.

I just opened the door to let the cat out and two deer were coming down our driveway as if to say, Good morning! The deer were big and red, walking serenely, then went leaping into the wood lot after they saw me. I suppose one shouldn't be so full of doubt, so early on a summer day.

1 Comments:

Blogger maeve63 said...

Well I have a bit of irony for you. I saw a deer this morning as well. After I dropped R off for work I was heading back down the road when I saw the deer standing by the side of the road, waiting for an opportunity to cross. I thought to myself, "Man, that's a big deer" and it was too. Ok, so maybe this wasn't like deep thinking irony but hey, what the heck; I thought I'd share.

8:22 PM  

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