"Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms? Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power? What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered? Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We still and always want waking."This is the amazing thing about books. In 2009, I was swept away and shaken awake by The Hunger Games, The Book Thief, Olive Kitteridge, Robert Hayden's poetry, and Claudette Colvin. I can't wait to be inspired in 2010. What have you read that has caught you by surprise and pressed upon your mind the majesty and power of the deepest mysteries?
Monday, January 18, 2010
Annie Dillard: The Writing Life
Well, it's a new year, and I'm getting ready to send out my manuscript (a novel for kids) to literary agents. I always need a little encouragement and inspiration for these things, so in preparation, I've been reading Annie Dillard's beautiful musings in The Writing Life. I love this passage about why we read: