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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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The Writing Life - Lesson Two


This image is of a painting I did about seven years ago. It's a lyrical representation of a stand of trees I saw in a magazine. The composition attracted my attention more than the photo itself. Anyway, I thought it would go well with what I was reading recently...

A painting covers its tracks. Painters work from the ground up. The latest version of a painting overlays earlier versions, and obliterates them. Writers, on the other hand, work from left to right. The discardable chapters are on the left. The latest version of the literary work begins somewhere in the work's middle, and hardens toward the end. The earlier version remains lumpishly on the left; the work's beginning greets thereader with the wrong hand. In those early pages and chapters anyone may find bold leaps to nowhere, read the brave beginnings of dropped themes, hear a tone since abandoned, discover blind alleys, track red herrings, and laboriously learn a setting now false.
--Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

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