Anne Dillard

Anne
Dillard
1945

American Author, Poet, Essayist, Winner of Pulitzer

Author Quotes

Our interpreting the universe as an artifact absolutely requires that we posit an author for it, or a celestial filmmaker, dramatist, painter, sculptor, composer, architect, or choreographer. And no one has been willing openly to posit such an artist for the universe since the American transcedentalists and before them the Medieval European philosophers.

Numbers from one to ten, however, are called "God." In other words, counting to ten you would say, "God," God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God." It is possible to distinguish among these numbers by the tone in which each is pronounced. "God," for example, corresponding to our "five," is pitched relatively high on the musical scale, and accordingly sounds an inquisitive, even plaintive, note. It is in sharp contrast to the number corresponding to our "ten," which has a slightly accented, basso finality, thus: "God."

On plenty of days the writer can write three or four pages, and on plenty of other days he concludes he must throw them away.

On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies? straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.

Once, a great handful of a girl out west told him - I never did love you. [?]How mean of her to salve her spit curled conscience by trying to take away their past! In the kitchen he had started to use those very words on Lou - they sprang readily to mind, as wounding words do - but he stopped himself.

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is a signal to spend it now. Something more will arise later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.

One of the main reasons that it is so easy to march men off to war, says Ernest Becker, is that each of them feels sorry for the man next to him who will die.

No child on earth was ever meant to be ordinary, and you can see it in them, and they know it, too, but then the times get to them, and they wear out their brains learning what folks expect, and spend their strength trying to rise over those same folks.

No one ever said it would be easy.

No, the point is not only does time fly and do we die, but that in these reckless conditions we live at all, and are vouchsafed, for the duration of certain inexplicable moments, to know it.

No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing. If the mockingbird were chirping to give us the long-sought formula for a unified field theory, the point would be only slightly less irrelevant. The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful?

Nothing moves a woman so deeply as the boyhood of the man she loves.

Nothing on Earth is more gladdening than knowing we must roll up our sleeves and move back the boundaries of the humanly possible once more

Nothing rose to plug the gap, to address what some called ultimate concerns, unless you count the arts, the arts that lacked both epistemological methods and accountability, and that drew nutty people, or drove them nuts.

Noticing and remembering everything would trap bright scenes to light and fill the blank and darkening past which was already piling up behind me. The growing size of that blank and ever-darkening past frightened me; it loomed beside me like a hole in the air and battened on scraps of my life I failed to claim. If one day I forgot to notice my life, and be damned grateful for it, the blank cave would suck me up entire.

Nature seems to exult in abounding radicality, extremism, anarchy. If we were to judge nature by its common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed. In nature, improbabilities are the one stock in trade. The whole creation is one lunatic fringe...No claims of any and all revelations could be so far-fetched as a single giraffe.

Nature's silence is its one remark, and every flake of world is a chip off that old mute and immutable block. The Chinese say that we live in the world of ten thousand things. Each of the ten thousand things cries out to us precisely nothing.

Matters of taste are not, it turns out, moral issues.

Much has been written about the life of the mind.

My God, I look at the creek. It is the answer to Merton's prayer, "Give us time!" It never stops.... You don't run down the present, pursue it with baited hooks and nets. You wait for it, empty-handed, and you are filled. You'll have fish left over. The creek is the one great giver. It is, by definition, Christmas, the incarnation. This old rock planet gets the present for a present on its birthday every day.

Naturally society cherished itself alone; it prized what everyone agreed was precious, despised what everyone agreed was despicable, and ignored what no one mentioned-all to it's own enhancement, and with the loud view that these bubbles and vapors were eternal and universal. If June had stressed to Mabel that she was going to die, would she have learned to eat with a fork? Society's loyal members, having sacrificed their only lives to it's caprices, hastened to entrap the next generation into agreement, so their follies would not have been in vain and they could all go down together, blind and well turned out. The company, the club, and the party had offered him a position like bait, and he bit. He had embedded himself in the company like a man bricked into a wall, and whirled with the building's maps, files, and desks,senselessly, as the planet spun and death pooled on the cold basement floors. Who could blame him?- when people have always lived so. Now , however, he saw the city lifted away, and the bricks and files vaporized; he saw the preenings of men laid low, and the comforts of family scattered. He was free and loosed on the black beach.

Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn't it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place? This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme, the brainchild of a deranged manic-depressive with limitless capital. Extravagance! Nature will try anything once.

It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.

Last forever!' Who hasn't prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying.

It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg.

First Name
Anne
Last Name
Dillard
Birth Date
1945
Bio

American Author, Poet, Essayist, Winner of Pulitzer