Annie Dillard Poking Fun

On the heels of yesterday’s post about Annie Dillard’s new book, I want to invite you to click over to her official website for a treat of the purple-coat variety.  When half of the internet adverts I see are for social media managers and SEO, it is absolutely refreshing to read someone who says No Thank You. And means it. And please respect her wishes that you avoid Wikipedia. “Unreliable,” she says.

For more fun, read this essay titled Church. It is classic Dillard but I point it out for this fantastic line:

It all seems a pity at first, for I have overcome a fiercely anti-Catholic upbringing in order to attend Mass simply and solely to escape Protestant guitars.

Cheers!


Thanks so much for reading. Be sure to add your email above to receive notification of more posts. Please do leave comments and, if you like the post, please pass it on by using one of the share buttons.

Is It True About How We Spend Our Days?

 

Annie Dillard on Living Life

Yesterday I posted one of my favorite quips of good advice:

Whatever you do today is what you do.”

I can’t remember the source but a reader sent me a similar quote from Annie Dillard: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend out lives.”

Following the Annie Dillard rabbit hole – it’s a Saturday and I’ve got a few minutes to wander leisurely – I found this wonderful essay written by William Deresiewicz titled Where Have You Gone, Annie Dillard? The essay is putatively a review of Dillard’s new book of essays The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New, but it is just as much a review of Dillard’s work over the last forty years. The essay captures Dillard’s genius and makes me want to go back and read every word she has written. I immediately dashed off a tweet to Deresiewicz and thanked him for the best ten minutes I’ve had in a very long time.

Not everyone enjoys Dillard – drat all fashion! She is sublime when writing about nature. Materialists will bristle, though, as under every gorgeously described husk of a dead dragonfly, she is searching for hints of god. Theists of a traditional sort will feel the same irritation. The god she seeks is not found in medieval scripts.  Whatever your view, I cannot for a moment imagine someone reading Ms. Dillard and not coming away enriched.

The Annie Dillard page on Amazon
Annie Dillard homepage where she tells the truth


Thanks so much for reading. Be sure to add your email above to receive notification of more posts. Please do leave comments and, if you like the post, please pass it on by using one of the share buttons.

 

A Little Blood and Guts Today

A little rant

Shocking, I know, but I find it a little hard to be mean. So every now and then, I reach for my trusty pal Art Schopenhauer and turn to the page wherein he writes, paraphrasing,

“ Goddammit! Write In blood. Spill it. Cut your wrist and paint the page. Never waste your time reading anything not written in blood and never ever write anything without it.”

So today – usually the day I reserve for book reviews – I put on my Schopenhauer hat and rant. Just a little.

This Tuesday I recommended Dr. David Katz’s site and books for sound, reasoned, and science based nutritional advice. His isn’t the only good book at the bookstores but it’s one of the best. Want to know what one of the most popular health books are these days? The Daniel Plan – 40 Days To A Healthier Life. By? Pastor Rick Warren. And not happy to just shill diet books between sermons, you can now buy The Daniel Plan Journal, The Daniel Plan Study Guide, The Feast, The Cookbook – I don’t know –  maybe there’s a Praise Music To Dine By CD. I don’t even know what all this stuff is but there’s a lot of money to be made here.

I’ll come clean. These might be great books. I haven’t read them. I don’t intend to read them. There is nothing here that, if useful, is new. Crappy advice comes and goes weekly. What I don’t like is how they are marketed. And how this entire scheme is pyramided to make money. You’ve got a culture of fat people. They all feel badly about how sinful they are and how they gossip and how they secretly tape Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce and how they don’t really care for the poor and then they read “God designed our bodies to be healthy, providing everything we need to thrive and live abundantly” and they groan a little. Time to lose weight. Time to suffer a little. All I need is this book, and those audio tapes, that journal. Gotta have that cookbook. Lucky for them the Bible bookstore has all these laid out in a row for them to pick and choose from.

sivaTo be fair, a quick Amazon search reveals lots of diet books for religious types. Your Muslim Cookbook has the ‘famous bean pie’. There is Eternal Food for Hindus and Buddhists. Not to be outdone by other Christians, the Mormons have their Mormon Cookery. For the brave there is Food and Adimu of the Cuban’s Santeria (in English). It purports to have many fine recipes and instructions for sacrificing animals and using or eating their entrails.

I’m instantly suspicious when I see anything natural and normal tagged as religious. There will be quackery or money involved. Someone is going to try to convince me that the laws of physics don’t really apply here or that this is the way god wants you to do it. See? It says so right here. Ugh.

Deep breath. Okay. If you need Siva or Daniel or aliens hiding behind comets to help you improve health then go for it. But my advice is to forget the Daniel Plan and it’s ilk – this is just a money making scheme. And I have all the advice you need and you don’t even need to pray for it. It comes from Michael Pollan and sums up everything good about food, nutrition, and health:

Eat food. Less of it. Mostly plants.

Thank you. Amen.


Thanks so much for reading. Be sure to add your email above to receive notification of more posts. Please do leave comments and, if you like the post, please pass it on by using one of the share buttons.