14 March 2005

Dillard discovery

While wandering through Barnes & Noble this weekend, I came across In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction (edited by Lee Gutkind), which was just published this past November. I had a bus to catch and so didn't have time to read the entirety of Annie Dillard's introduction, "Notes for Young Writers," but it looks excellent. Among her brief bits of advice are things like, If you can, live in a different part of the country every year...and...Never be in a situation where all you do is read and write. You need people. Now I don't consider myself a writer, but it was heartening to discover that I follow most of this advice already (i.e., I'm not as weird as I think I am).

Unfortunately, Amazon's excerpt skips the introduction and goes straight for the first essay. But I hope to nab my own copy and post more at some point.

I did a little background search this morning, and it seems that this essay (or an older version of it) was originally published in the Summer 1997 issue of Image. In her bibliography it's listed as "Advice for Young Writers," and she put "do not read this crap" by the entry. Gotta love her. (Of course, she also calls The Writing Life "an embarrassing nonfiction narrative" so this is not surprising.)

During the first week of January, she spoke on NPR about the tsunami: "She asks how can we remind ourselves that the thousands of victims were individuals with lives and loved ones and not just faceless statistics." (For the Time Being also addressed this.)

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