Finding the Art in Everything

15 November, 2008

The Slope

Annie Dillard writes through a moment when she says her "mind is a slope," and then lists a dozen bizarre and disparate moments, "ghosts" she calls them, "that drift across the screen from nowhere." "It's insane," she says. "The engineer has abandoned the control room, and an idiot is splicing the reels. "

I read, astounded. How did she do that? How did she record, with great importance--and it's important because it utterly arrested me even though we're strangers, and because she won a Pulitzer for this book of these moments, and I still believe that these accolades go to things that mean something--how did she record the very slopes in my own mind I dismiss as nonsense (that I'm too embarrassed to share) ?

And then I distrust her record, because in my experience, the very nature of the slope is that I glide too fast. Any image I grasp on my way down is one of a hundred. The only ones I keep would be there in my memory only by flailing, clumsy accident. Am I reading her flailing, clumsy accident? Am I always reading someone else's flailing, clumsy accident?

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