Conclusion of The Writing Life

The ending was anti-climatic. Perhaps because its been late when I’ve been reading. Perhaps because there was a tornado warning last night and we students ended up in the basement, kneecap to kneecap, hunched over on the cold cement floor, some laughing, some sluggish, and some not really caring at all. Maybe the little, brown book with its painted words wasn’t enough to keep my attention.

While Dillard’s imagery was great, and her ending pictures of stunt flying breathed music into my head, they did not awaken the writer in me. My eyelids closed against the sentences before they were finished.

Such is a writer’s life.

“It was as if Mozart could move his body through his notes . . . “

But the music will stick with me, and I like that.

“When Rahm flew, he sat down in the middle of art, and strapped himself in. He spun it all around him. He could not see it himself. If he never saw it on film, he never saw it at all–as if Beethoven could not hear his final symphonies not because he was deaf, but because he was inside the paper on which he wrote.”

“‘Purity does not lie in separation from but in deeper penetration into the universe,’ Teilhard de Chardin wrote.”

“It is hard to imagine a deeper penetration into the universe than Rahm’s last dive in his plane, or than his inexpressible wordless selfless line’s inscribing the air and dissolving. Any other art may be permanent.”

“He may have acknowledged that what he did would be called art, but it would have been, I think, only in the common misusage, which holds art to be the last extreme of skill.”

And usually I would finish off a post with the finished sentence of the book, but being a concrete, cynical realist, the last words didn’t suit. So I’ll end with extreme skill.

The back cover of The Writing Life falls shut. Thank you, Ms. Annie Dillard.

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