Annie Dillard, “The Writing Life”

The Writing Life

Drop some oil on a piece of white notebook paper.

Rub your pencil very hard against a piece of tissue paper.
Put the tissue paper against the wall.

Bring in an eggbeater.

Keep a record of the clouds you see.
Put water and gravel into a dishpan.

Break apart stones to see if they contain fossils.
Break apart a lump of coal.
Find the Milky Way.

Click two marbles together softly.
Sit facing a wall.

Do you see the speck of light
In the center of the circular paths?
Is the instrument beaten or shaken or blown into?
Notice that when you push down, the book moves up.
Have you also gained a change of direction?

Cut finger holes in a large piece of cardboard.
Hold the cardboard over your head while you run.

Name some other modern ways of telling stories.

-Annie Dillard, found poem from Samuel A. Thorn and Carl D. Duncan, Let’s Discover More, 1957


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