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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
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Book of the Month > Pilgrim at Tinker Creek discussion

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Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
Please add your comments about our February 2015 Book of the Month, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek here.

Thanks & happy reading!


message 2: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments I am not sure how many times I have read this book in the past, but it is certainly well worth another go.


Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
Agreed, Ray. It has been a long time since I've read it so I'm definitely overdue. I'm horribly behind in my reading (should be finished with Fire Season soon) and then I'm jumping into this one.


message 4: by Lily (new)

Lily (lilykumpe) | 24 comments wonderful - now the trick is to find a copy in Australia (or electronic copy I can download.) I was surprised to discover the kindle e-book version is available in the US but not Australia.


message 5: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments profile of Annie Dillard here. Originally published in Hellbender Press of Knoxville nnessee.
http://rayzimmerman.weebly.com/the-ra...


Sharman Russell (sharmanaptrussell) | 27 comments Wow--why wouldn't the kindle book be available in Australia? Maybe just one of those odd publishing quirks. Certainly I'd love to see Annie Dillard write about Australian flora and fauna. I can imagine her wonder and humor. (Lily, if you ever feel like doing a writerly imitation of Dillard meeting a kangeroo...or some other marsupial. I think that would be fun. Maybe that's a way to approach some of your blogs on nature? Mimic, overtly, the voice of Annie Dillard--four uses of figurative language in one sentence. I've had writing students do this as a kind of writing exercise and it was liberating for them.)


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily (lilykumpe) | 24 comments Sharman wrote: "Wow--why wouldn't the kindle book be available in Australia? Maybe just one of those odd publishing quirks. Certainly I'd love to see Annie Dillard write about Australian flora and fauna."

Thank you Sharman, I love this idea of playful writing practice. It sounds like a fun challenge.

Well, I found an Annie Dillard Reader at our library. It isn't exactly Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but it does have a few chapters from the book.

I was able to buy Diary of a Citizen Scientist for kindle, but before I finished the book we ordered a hard copy too. My husband bought it for himself because he thinks reading on electronic devices is sacrilegious. I agree in theory, but once I'm lost in the text I forget all about the physical object.


message 8: by Leslie (last edited Feb 08, 2015 06:44PM) (new)

Leslie Patten | 16 comments Hi, I just joined this group and its my first one so I need to get the hang of it. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is one of my all time favorites, read many many years back. Just reading Annie Dillard is like savoring a delicious meal.


Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
Welcome, Leslie! We're a very informal group here and basically just comment when the need strikes us so feel free to add your two cents! :)


Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
As mentioned previously, it has been many, many years since I've read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and yet the second I started reading last night about the frog who had been "consumed" by the beetle (by having its innards sucked out) I immediately recalled the whole horrific scene. What an incredibly disturbing image!


message 11: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments She said in one of her books that she was horrified by nature.


Sharman Russell (sharmanaptrussell) | 27 comments I once taught a Nature Writing class, using Annie Dillard's book, and was walking back to my hotel in L.A. through a pretty tree-leafed neighborhood. Behind me, I heard a plop. A baby bird had just fallen from its nest. Somehow, all of this--me "teaching" nature writing, L.A., the bird falling--has stayed with me. A kind of gestalt of nature. (Of course, not the only gestalt. There are so many.)


Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
My worst moment (and consequently most memorable) so far is seeing a blackbird (probably a grackle) pin a sparrow down in a driveway and stab it in the heart with its beak. It was like witnessing a murder.


Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
On a "lighter" note, I've been doing some research for a novel I'm working on and was struck reading the first chapter of Dillard's book of the spiritual connection she finds in the play of shadow and light. Quite Yin-Yang, all things considered.


message 15: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments Just into the second chapter at this point, but I was really struck by the opening segment about the tomcat leaving footprints on het sleeping, or rudely awakened, body. I always forget that opening passage and it startles me each time I read it. Conversely, the image of the frog deflating seems permanently stuck in my brain.


message 16: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments Untying the knot is a fabulous story - chapter 5 is all about perception and reality …


Sharman Russell (sharmanaptrussell) | 27 comments I am here in Portland speaking about citizen science at a conference of Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and I find myself quoting Dillard: "We teach our children one thing as we were taught--to wake up."


message 18: by Andree (new)

Andree Sanborn (meeyauw) | 127 comments I just read that section today. Portland, MAine? I'll run up.


Sharman Russell (sharmanaptrussell) | 27 comments Ah! Portland, Oregon....


message 20: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments The discussions of Horsehair worms in the chapter titled "Fecundity" illustrates in interesting point. She focuses on what is not known about these creatures. In the first chapter of The Forest Unseen, Haskell discuses these same creatures and focuses on what is known. They reach similar conclusions. The creatures must produce thousands of offspring for a few to find the requisite chain of hosts and reach the adult stage.


message 21: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments I also hadn't noticed before how much she references the writings of other naturalists. Edwin Way Teale, Joseph Wood Krutch, et al. Extensive reading to compliment her extensive writing.


message 22: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments My Copy has the afterword (1999) and another afterword from 2007.


Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
That's great, Ray - thanks for the link. I agree (and had forgotten) - there is a pervasive spirituality to this book that encourages you to read again and again to hit all the layers. I'm reading v-e-r-y slowly but enjoying it immensely.


Sharman Russell (sharmanaptrussell) | 27 comments The spirituality--AND the figurative language!


Becky Norman | 657 comments Mod
I'm also noticing much more this time the way Dillard builds on scenes she's previously mentioned...almost like variations on a theme. :) She introduces a new image quite subtly, but then refers back to it in subsequent chapters. (Remember that praying mantis I mentioned a few chapters ago? Now I'm going to use that image to discuss my next topic...)


message 27: by Ellen (new) - added it

Ellen | 1 comments Dillard definitely uses figurative language and imagery in nature to explore her spirituality and own mortality.


Sharman Russell (sharmanaptrussell) | 27 comments Yes, and figurative language--metaphor, simile, personification--may be how we actually think and understand our world as the story-telling animal. The universe is like this and my life is like that and my relationship to this bird is...at least I think this applies to our religious and spiritual beliefs and the way we grasp at the mysteries of our existence.


message 29: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 637 comments "The universe is made of stories, not atoms."
- Muriel R,


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