Another piece rescued from oblivion, originally posted on March 12th, 2011
“In blogging, less is more. Discuss.” That could have been an essay topic in the days of my youth, had blogging then been a word.
An old friend who used to post as Rob. and later Bob, did it for the interaction rather than the self-expression or self-revelation, in which genres he was reticent. His most popular post, measured in number of comments, merely said “Boo!” I think I can claim the credit for introducing him to Blogger, but I made up for this act of kindness by posting argumentative comments (which annoyed him), as well as commenting on his commenters’ blogs, thereby luring them to my own new blog. In fact I think that is how I met Hayden.
My own entries have evolved into protracted dithyrambs. This shall change! If I were not too lazy, I’d act on my plan to write about four writers whom I most specially admire. But their superabundant brilliance actually encourages me into further indolence, rather than provoking me out of it; for they have said so much that I would have liked to say myself, if only I could. Since they can and I can’t, I can write correspondingly less, and focus on “the process of simply being”, as Hayden inspiringly suggested the other day.
So, lolling in bed on a Saturday morning, I’ve conceived a new efficient method of book-reviewing: (i) to review the whole author, not individual books; (ii) to use the author’s own words, and select a brief quote or two which encapsulates the impact the author has had on me. Rather than engage my brain in the hard tasks of synopsis and analysis, I can have the rest of the day free!
So, let’s try it for Annie Dillard. This is from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, page 268, near the end. She has been describing a disconsolate moment, uncharacteristically for her, when she gazes at the sky and sees what seems like a Martian spaceship. It turns out to be “a maple key, a single winged seed from a pair.” She throws it back into the sky and watches it fall again.
O maple key, I thought, I must confess I thought, o welcome, cheers. And the bell under my ribs rang a true note, a flourish as of blended horns, clarion, sweet, and making a long dim sense I will try at length to explain.
Which she proceeds to do, bless her!
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