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Research and Analysis: The Writing Life

March 16, 2016 | Author: | Posted in english literature, literature and language

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17 July 2006

Annie Dillard ‘s The Writing Life

Ostensibly , The Writing Life by Annie Dillard is a book about the life of a writer “The ” implies the is general , dealing with the life of anyone who works at writing . At the very least , it should describe the writing life of Annie Dillard . The dust jacket quotes Dillard describing the book “This book recounts what the actual process of writing feels like . It tells a complex story . It offers bits of [banner_entry_middle]

br technical information . It is about work ” Presumably the book was written to shed light on the art and life of a writer . Upon reading this book it becomes clear this book does of these things

One wonders for whom this book was intended . It certainly is not a how-to book about writing . It reveals remarkably little information about Annie Dillard ‘s writing life . It offers nothing about the creative process from which Dillard provides such beautiful , haunting prose . It does however offer a good amount of Dillard ‘s wonderful prose Unfortunately the great writing is not sufficient to bake The Writing Life a notable book . People who love the rambling imagery that never quite concludes anything will like this book . However , in the end The Writing Life provides little information about the writing life at all

At best this book is a series of journal entries tenuously connected . At times Dillard writes from the second person point of view “You climb a long ladder until you can see over the roof , or over the clouds . You are writing a book . You watch your shod feet on each round rung , one at a time (Dillard 19 . At times this point of view , so suggestive of the imperative mood , makes the reader gasp for breath at the pace Dillard sets . At other times Dillard writes from the third person and at times she writes in the first . When doing so she engages in interminable imagery and verbal meandering as if she were intent on appearing “vague and abstracted – engrossed with nature and art , to be sure , but in an idly sensual rather than a rigorously analytic way ” Bawer , 448 ) that lulls the reader into ennui

This book does not read or feel like a polished book . Dillard does not write at all about revision or research each of which occupy more of a writer ‘s life than does writing the first draft . Apparently , Dillard doesn ‘t do drafts “[t]he reason to perfect a piece of prose as it progresses – to secure each sentence before building on it – is that original writing fashions a form ” She writes of the information and the struggle of trying to write the first draft which she says will take from between two to ten years . She estimates that a full-time writer can produce seventy-five useable pages every year (Dillard 14-15 . She writes this in spite of her frequent quotations in this and her other books… [banner_entry_footer]

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