The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Annie Dillard’

The Gracious Lie

June 12, 2015 | by


From the paperback cover of The Party.

Readers of this space know that I’ve recently devoted an unprofitable amount of time to puzzling over the underlined passages of a secondhand copy of Sally Quinn’s guide to entertaining, The Party, notorious when it was first published in 1997. My quest to discern the logic in the underlining became, as Douglas Sirk would have it, a magnificent obsession. Was the reader mad? Did she have an ax to grind? Was she a reviewer? None of these theories really held up.

But then one person came up with an approach far more innovative than my own. Like the perennially underestimated amateur sleuth who’s able to crack a case that’s stumped the authorities, this person took one look at the examples I had isolated and was able to see with a clarity that, in my obsession, had escaped me. “I was inspired to string all the underlined bits into a poem,” the reader wrote: Read More »

Key West Karaoke

January 29, 2014 | by

While we’re on the subject of the Florida Keys, here’s Annie Dillard, Laurent de Brunhoff, Robert D. Richardson Jr., and Phyllis Rose singing the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” in Key West, circa 1995. If the sheer infectiousness of Dillard’s dancing doesn’t get you, maybe the nineties-era video effects will. This is Rising Star Video Karaoke, after all—not amateur hour.




October 15, 2013 | by


Just beyond the Sarah Lawrence Library there is a patch of earth where young children play. They bounce into each other, ricocheting off in all directions, exploring their new world, digging into the ground incessantly with plastic buckets, scoops, and rakes. I wonder if they are aware of what they are doing. We are constantly sifting through the dust of the past. Annie Dillard said, “We arise from dirt and we dwindle to dirt and the might of the world is arrayed against us.”

A little boy, his hair a cropped mohawk, wipes his muddy hands on a bright orange shirt. Next to him a little blond girl rakes calmly at the giant mound of earth he excavated. Then without warning they toss down their tools and are off chasing something out of view. A new boy and girl move in and take their place, digging.

When I was a child my father told me a story about growing up in Trujillo, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. The story was about the day he lost his sneakers gambling marbles with the Garifuna Indians, who lived in thatch huts right on the beach. Read More »