The Abundance Quotes

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The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New by Annie Dillard
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The Abundance Quotes Showing 1-25 of 25
“This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“The discovery in art is often gradual, a process of minor discoveries riddled with uncertainties and the potential for making that which is discovered vanish before your eyes, like a mirage.”
Geoff Dyer, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“...in Dillard it's the comedy of rapture. Or at least it's a comedy that permits prose and thought to soar while inoculating the rapturous against the three ills of which nature writers should live in permanent dread: preciousness, reverence, and earnestness...”
Geoff Dyer, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful; it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“You adapt yourself, Paul Klee said, to the contents of the paintbox. Adapting yourself to the contents of the paintbox, he said, is more important than nature and its study. The painter, in other words, does not fit the paints to the world. He most certainly does not fit the world to himself. He fits himself to the paint. The self is the servant who bears the paintbox and its inherited contents.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Since everyone around you agrees ever since there were people on earth that land is value, or labor is value, or learning is value, or title, degree, necklaces, murex shells, the ownership of slaves. Everyone knows bees sting and ghosts haunt and giving your robes away humiliates your rivals. That the enemies are barbarians. That wise men swim through the rock of the earth; that houses breed filth, airstrips attract airplanes, tornadoes punish, ancestors watch, and you can buy a shorter stay in purgatory. The black rock is holy, or the scroll; or the pangolin is holy, the quetzal is holy, this tree, water, rock, stone, cow, cross, or mountain--and it's all true. The Red Sox. Or nothing at all is holy, as everyone intelligent knows.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Our lives and our deaths surely count equally, or we must abandon one-man-one-vote, dismantle democracy, and assign seven billion people an importance-of-life ranking from one to seven billion.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“What limpid lakes and cool date palms may our caravans have passed untried? Until, one by one, by the blindest of leaps, we light on the road to these places, we must stumble in darkness and hunger.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“All those things for which we have no words are lost. The mind—the culture—has two little tools, grammar and lexicon: a decorated sand bucket and a matching shovel. With these we bluster about the continents and do all the world’s work. With these we try to save our very lives.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Divinity is not playful. The universe was not made in jest but in solemn, incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see. And then you walk fearlessly, eating what you must, growing wherever you can, like the monk on the road who knows precisely how vulnerable he is, who takes no comfort among death-forgetting men, and who carries his vision of vastness and might around in his tunic like a live coal which neither burns nor warms him, but with which he will not part.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“The universe has continued to deal in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down eons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever-fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn’t flint is tinder and the whole world sparks and flames.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened, and its deepest mystery probed?”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars themselves neither require nor demand it.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Usually it is a bit of a trick to keep your knowledge from blinding you.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“All those things for which we have no words are lost.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“The mind wants to live forever, or to learn a very good reason why not. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, even God. The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy. The dear, stupid body is as easily satisfied as a spaniel. And, incredibly, the simple spaniel can lure the brawling mind to its dish. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“I never saw a tree,” Dillard declares, in a valuable piece of advice to writers of any and every stripe, “that was no tree in particular.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“about”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“I think that the dying pray at the last not "please," but "thank you," as a guest thanks his host at the door. Falling from airplanes the people are crying thank you, thank you, all the way down the air; and the cold carriages draw up for them on the rocks.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“In New Orleans—if you could get to New Orleans—would the music be loud enough?”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Friendship is no doubt the highest form of love and also very difficult.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New
“Hemingway studied, as models, the novels of Knut Hamsun and Ivan Turgenev. Isaac Bashevis Singer, as it happened, also chose Hamsun and Turgenev as models. Ralph Ellison studied Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. Thoreau loved Homer; Eudora Welty loved Chekhov. Faulkner described his debt to Sherwood Anderson and Joyce; E. M. Forster, his debt to Jane Austen and Proust. By contrast, if you ask a twenty-one-year-old poet whose poetry he likes, he might say, unblushing, “Nobody’s.” In his youth, he has not yet understood that poets like poetry, and novelists like novels; he himself likes only the role, the thought of himself in a hat. Rembrandt and Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Gauguin, possessed, I believe, powerful hearts, not powerful wills. They loved the range of material they used, the work’s possibilities excited them; the field’s complexities fired their imaginations. The caring suggested the tasks; the tasks suggested the schedules. They learned their fields and then loved them. They worked, respectfully, out of their love and knowledge, and they produced complex bodies of work that endure. Then, and only then, the world maybe flapped at them some sort of hat, which, if they were still living, they ignored as well as they could, to keep at their tasks.”
Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New