Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Dickinson and Dillard

My theme this year is the ABCEDARIA of Women who have inspired me.

D is for Dickinson, Emily and Dillard, Annie - uniquely talented - both true to themselves and both with a touch of the divine, I believe.

Emily Dickinson - how can her life be summed up? Let's let her do it, shall we?

My life closed twice before its close— 
It yet remains to see 
If Immortality unveil 
A third event to me 

So huge, so hopeless to conceive 
As these that twice befell. 
Parting is all we know of heaven, 
And all we need of hell.
I have studied Dickinson, wrote papers on her poems, and read countless books about her small life and still I do not know her. Yet, she inspires me. Why? I cannot say except that perhaps it is for the same reason I chose the other inspiring women on this list - a certain inability to be anyone other than themselves and a fierce and loyal adherence to their art. Yes, that is what I love about this woman who lived large in a small room in a small town.

As for Annie Dillard - she has been inspiring me since I was a young woman. This photo is the young Annie and the same one that appeared on the inside cover (I think I'm remembering this) of her book Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek.  That book opened so many windows in my mind - that someone could write that way - so effortless seeming, so natural, and so conversational - and at the same time about such large things. Dillard addressed spirit and wilderness and god and human effort - all within the confines of a small book about a short time in her life in the countryside near Roanoke, Virginia.
I liked her other books too - her collections of poetry, her novels, her nonfiction. Her memoir An American Childhood remains one of my very favorite books in any genre.
Her essay collections such as Teaching a Stone to Talk, and non-fiction narratives like Holy the Firm, and For the Time Being are like sustained contemplations on the meaning of being an awake human in this world. Both The Living, and The Maytrees are beautifully written novels and damn good stories. 

So that is it for D's.
Do you have any writers or poets that you go back and back to for inspiration?


Margot Kinberg said...

I must read Dillard's work, Jan! As for Emily Dickinson, I've always loved her poetry. Such a fascinating person, too. Little wonder you included her in this list.

J E Oneil said...

I'm not a huge poetry fan, but I always liked Emily Dickinson. She was just a fabulous poet! And I've heard of Annie Dillard but I'm not sure that I've read anything by her.

lissa said...

the first poem I ever read was Dickinson's 'I'm nobody,' which I didn't quite understand at first but it still remains the only poem that I can remember bits of.

have not heard of Dillard but will check out her works.

have a lovely day.

Heather Jackson said...

Inspiring women for sure! What a great theme for the A to Z Challenge.

@HeatherJacksonW from
WriteOnSisters - Masterplots from A to Z

Susan Scott said...

Annie Dillard has been a fascination to me forever. I confess I haven't read her books (tho have noted to find them) but I come across her from time to time in eg 'Brain Pickings' a wonderful resource of interestingness of writers poets artists and more. The editor posts links to her various works - www.brainpickings.org. Her words melt my heart and I stand in awe of her ability to write so flawlessly and beautifully. I will DEFINITELY seek her out thank you Jan..

I find inspiration in just about anything I've chosen to read. I dip into Oscar Wilde every now and then - his De Profundis is very powerful. Marion Woodman, Marie Louise von Franz e.g. never fail to inspire ..