The Pleasure of their Words

Photographs & Memories

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
There are some authors whose work delights you. In some way, their powers of expression move you. Captivated by their skill you wonder at their perfect word choice.

I recently acquired an anthology of the best writing by Annie Dillard called The Abundance. Ten years ago, I read her Pilgrim At Tinker Creek which is a brilliant meditation on nature and the seasons. The Maytrees honours the reader’s intelligence, telling an unusual love story that tears at your loyalties.

The Abundance contains one of my favourite Annie Dillard stories. Total Eclipse was originally published in Teaching A Stone To Talk.

Imagine describing an eclipse over 24 pages, what it does to the landscape and sky and how it affects you and those around you. It would be quite a challenge. Annie Dillard does so in words to savour. Here’s the whole essay:

Annie Dillard's Classic Essay: 'Total Eclipse'

It reminded me of experiencing the solar eclipse of August 11th, 1999, in which it felt like the sky was falling, plunging us into night, creating an instant chill and making dogs bark for miles around.

Which wordsmiths do you turn to for pleasure and inspiration?

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Photographs & Memories