Day 47 / 366
I finished “The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard the other day. I recommend it. It’s about writing, of course, but it’s also about life, which is why there are cameos by a doomed moth, a Danish aristocrat and some kids playing softball, not to mention an extended, fascinating appearance by a stunt pilot.
Dillard spends more time talking about the hard work of writing - and the difficult conditions in the rural Puget Sound area where she practiced her art - than she does dispensing advice, but here’s a nugget that made me cock my head to the side:
“It makes more sense to write one big book - a novel or nonfiction narrative - than to write many stories or essays. Into a long, ambitious project you can fit or pour all you possess and learn. A project that takes five years will accumulate those years’ inventions and richnesses. Much of those years’ reading will feed the work. Further, writing sentences is difficult whatever their subject. It is no less difficult to write sentences in a recipe than sentences in ‘Moby-Dick.’ So you might as well write ‘Moby-Dick.’”
I’d never thought of it that way. And here I am, well on my way to writing 366 tiny bits that have little or nothing to do with one another. But who knows. Maybe at some point, one of them will inspire a book, or at least something more than a post of a few hundred words.
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