Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh, For the Love of Words! Friday (Annie Dillard)

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Fridays at my blog are dedicated to logophilia. Logophilia: the love of words. Logophile: a lover of words. I celebrate words on Fridays. That means that I'll either a) share a new vocabulary word that I learned in my reading, or b) share a passage that I've encountered in past or present literary sojourns that struck me as particularly beautiful, awesome, or funny. Are you a logophile?

An American Childhood is one of my favorite memoirs. It's about growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. It was especially delightful to read this while living and working in Pittsburgh, driving daily past locations mentioned in the book. I first discovered Annie Dillard in college and vowed to read more of her once I realized that if I could magically be able to write like any author, it would be Annie Dillard.

Somewhere between one book and another, a child's passive acceptance had slipped away from me also. I could no longer see the world's array as a backdrop to my private play, a dull, neutral backdrop about which I had learned all I needed to know. I had been chipping at the world idly, and had by accident uncovered vast and labyrinthine further worlds within it. I peered in one day, stepped in the next, and soon wandered in deep over my head. Month after month, year after year, the true and brilliant light, and the complex and multifaceted coloration, of this actual, historical, waking world invigorated me. Its vastness extended everywhere I looked... I was not to discover literature and ideas for a few more years. All I had awakened to was the world's wealth of information.

I love this passage because it speaks of a curiosity about the world. I hope that the day I stop learning--and loving to learn--is the day that I die. If all you do is stare bleary-eyed at the TV for hours every night, never reading, never dreaming, never learning, never yearning to travel, then oh, my friend, in the words of the dreamer Anne Shirley: "how much you miss."

1 comment:

SaraO said...

This is such a beautiful passage. I think everyone remembers that moment...the one where you realized the world was bigger than you. Great find.