A Journal of Life Pursued

Posts Tagged ‘Annie Dillard’

First sentences…

In Books, Literature, Reading, Thinkers, Writers on June 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm

…from a few of my favorite books:

“He awoke, opened his eyes.” The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles

“The difference between the Parthenon and the World Trade Center, between a French wine glass and a German beer mug, between Bach and John Philip Sousa, between Sophocles and Shakespeare, between a bicycle and a horse, though explicable by historical moment, necessity, and destiny, is before all a difference of imagination.” The Geography of the Imagination, Guy Davenport

“Life changes fast.” The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

“They sometimes met on country roads when there were flowers or snow.” Dubin’s Lives, Bernard Malamud

“Standing amid the tan, excited post-Christmas crowd at the Southwest Florida Regional Airport, Rabbit Angstrom has a funny sudden feeling that what he has come to meet, what’s floating in unseen about to land, is not his son Nelson and daughter-in-law Pru and their two children but something more ominous and intimately his: his own death, shaped vaguely like an airplane.”  Rabbit at Rest, John Updike

“The amber light came on.” Blindness, José Saramago

“The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest.” Essays of E.B. White

“I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.” Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

“When you write, you lay out a line of words.” The Writing Life, Annie Dillard

“When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.” Walden, Henry David Thoreau

“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo….” Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

…and perhaps the best opening sentence in all of literature:

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

Moleskin Notes

In Creativity, Life, Literature, Memoir, Photography, Writing on March 17, 2010 at 8:27 pm
Journals, Diaries, Notebooks

Journals, Diaries, Notebooks

A survey of things I’ve noted:

“I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read me, who I am and where I am and what is on my mind.” ~ Joan Didion, The White Album

“There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by.” ~ Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” ~ George Burns

“Maybe at last, being but a broken man/I must be satisfied with my heart, although/Winter and summer till old age began/My circus animals were all on show./ ~ W.B. Yeats, The Circus Animals’ Desertion (about waning powers)

Robert Frank: he preferred “things that moved.” 767 rolls of film, 27,000 exposures. “The humanity of the moment.”

Waitress: “Pasta, fries, potato salad with your burger?” “Chips?” I ask. “Fries,” she states. “Chips?” I ask again. “FRIES,” she barks. “Fries, it is,” I say.

“It is the only thing we can do, Klauss. I see no alternative. Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others.” ~ Etty Hilleson (on her way to her death, at 29, in Auschwitz.)

“There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.” ~ Gandhi

“It’s such a complicated thing to understand what you’re trying to bring out of your own imagination, your own life.” ~ William Kennedy, The Writer’s Chapbook

“Altman never gave up creating his cinematic portraits of people on the margins…if only to shed light on the falsity behind his country’s seemingly indefatigable desperate pursuit of success.” Hilton Als, writing in the The New Yorker (December 2009) of Robert Altman.

“You cannot live when you are untouchable. Life is vulnerability.” ~ Edouard Boubat, 1989