On The Writing Life

It’s compelling somehow, painted, abstract, intuitive, and purely inspiring. Her words are not deep nor large, but they hold a meaning, and as Annie Dillard tours me through her writing cabin, block of wood, and the inchworm, I’m left with wanting to write–and yet knowing how hard it is to capture the vision and conquer the page.

From chapter four, Dillard says,

“But you are wrong if you think that in the actual writing, or in the actual painting, you are filling in the vision. You cannot fill in the vision. You cannot even bring the vision to light. You are wrong if you think that you can in any way take the vision and tame it to the page. The page is jealous and tyrannical; the page is made of time and matter; the page always wins. The vision is not so much destroyed, exactly, as it is, by the time you have finished, forgotten. It has been replaced by this changeling, this bastard, this opaque lightless chunky ruinous work.”

And that is the frustrating part. I may see the vision, but it will not go on paper for me — at least not half the vibrancy I know is there. Writer’s frustration. Yes.

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