“It should surprise no one that the life of the writer – such as it is – is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation. Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world. This explains why so many books describe the author’s childhood. A writer’s childhood may well have been the occasion of his only firsthand experience. Writers read literary biography, and surround themselves with other writers, deliberately to enforce in themselves the ludicrous notion that a reasonable option for occupying yourself on the planet until your life span plays itself out is sitting in a small room for the duration, in the company of pieces of paper.”
I close my eyes and crane my neck awkwardly over cold ceramic. Who doesn’t think grand thoughts, their head in the shampoo bowl?
I’ve been reading Annie Dillard‘s, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
One doesn’t actually read Annie Dillard. You dip your fingers in the ribboning chocolate of her prose, savoring the exquisiteness of each image, every sentence.
In this book, she describes her quest to see, recalling early on her childhood memory of surreptitiously hiding pennies in sidewalk cracks for strangers. Hidden pennies become the metaphor for beauty.
Writing is like kissing.
A first kiss, that it. Your very first one. (I was thirteen.)
He’s leaning in. You’re thinking of your body as it’s shaking. You’re willing it to stop, begging your insides to stay clam. Keep cool. You rehearse the mechanics of kissing as you’ve learned it from your friends and wonder if, when his lips touch yours, you’ll know what to do.
A half-second of approach. It’s enough time to remember: tilt your head, close your eyes.
You want to leave your body and stare this moment in the face.