Thursday, September 2, 2010

Teaching a Stone to Talk

Expeditions and Encounters
by Annie Dillard

On the advice of the woman who runs the summer book discussion series at my library, I am reading more Annie Dillard. Shocking, I know. But I thought I would give her another chance. And as it turns out, I like Annie Dillard, but only in very small doses. Any more than ten pages, and I'm out. Admittedly, I didn't even make it through all of the essays.

Teaching a Stone to Talk is a collection of poetic essays involving nature and God. "Living Like Weasels" is particularly beautiful and truly excellent essay.

Her writing style is still too precious, but I can commune with her for a few pages, and I enjoy that.

The real down side of this book is that the one I read was from another local library and someone wrote in it. Now, I understand; I write in all my books. But not in a library book! Come on, people! Plus their notes were obvious and stupid. It was distracting. Yet however annoying the distraction was, it was also a little nice because it gave me a chance to form my own opinions against those of this dumb person. It was like being back at school.

This is the kind of literature that truly needs to be studied. This isn't a leisurely read, at least it wasn't for me. It's almost as if Dillard is talking to me from some spiritual platform just out of my reach. Sometimes I think I understand her, and I get it, but then she looses me again and I lose interest. I think we simply have a one-sided love/hate relationship.

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