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30 September 2016

Oyster (+ Annie Dillard's impossible pages)

For his contributions at the NYTimes, I always really enjoy Sam Anderson's work, and earlier this year he published a great piece in the New York Times Magazine entitled "Annie Dillard’s Impossible Pages: Three early and unpublished works by the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek." If you haven't sought it out, there's a classic and wonderful chapter about "Seeing" in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek ("a long nonfictional account of her experience embedding, Thoreau-style, for a year of close observation of the titular waterway in Virginia.") Here's the beginning of Anderson's article:

"It’s unclear what to call Annie Dillard, where to shelve her. Over more than 40 years, she has been, sometimes all at once, a poet, essayist, novelist, humorist, naturalist, critic, theologian, collagist and full-throated singer of mystic incantations. Instead of being any particular kind of writer, she is, flagrantly, a consciousness — an abstract, all-encompassing energy field that inhabits a given piece of writing the way sunlight clings to a rock: delicately but with absolute force, always leaving a shadow behind. This is an essential part of what it means to be human, this shifting between the transcendent self and the contingent world, the ecstasy and the dental bill. We all do some version of it, all the time. But Dillard does it more insistently...." [Keep reading]

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Still Life with Blood Orange Slices

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