Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An American Childhood

I just finished reading this memoir by Annie Dillard. She is an excellent observer and communicator of life, and her gifts are put to good use in this book.

Here is an excerpt of her describing an experience of her's as a small child:

"I lay alone and was almost asleep when the damned thing entered the room by flattening itself against the open door and sliding in. It was a transparent, luminous oblong. I could see the door whiten at its touch; I could see the blue wall turn pale where it raced over it... It was a swift spirit; it was an awareness. It made noise. It had two joined parts, a head and a tail, like a Chinese dragon. It found the door, wall, and headboar; and it swiped them, charging them with its luminous glance. After its fleet, searching passing, things looked the same, but weren't.

I dared not blink or breathe; I tried to hush my whooping blood. If it found another awareness, it would destroy it. Every night before it got me it gave up. It hit my wall's corner and couldn't get past. It shrank completely into itself and vanished like a cobra down a hole. I heard the rising roar it made when it died or left. I still couldn't breathe. I knew--it was the worst fact I knew, a very hard fact--that it could return again alive that same night...."

Curious to know what she's refering to? Read on...

"It was a passing car whose windshield reflected the corner streetlight outside. I figured it out one night."

Amazing. What's even more amzaing is that she does this throughout the book--totally sucking you in with her vivid descriptions. It's almost exhausting for your mind, but you are compelled to read on. I would encourage this book and this author highly.


the lewisi female said...

1. Yay for an Ainsworth blog!
2. Maggie, is that lipstick??
3. Yay for lunch tomorrow!
4. Yay I got a job!
5.Yay for book recommendations and possible borrowing options??

Maggie Ainsworth said...

In response to #2: Yes, it is lipstick. What can I say, it was a night on the town in Chicago and I was feeling a little crazy.

In response to #3: See you in 2 hours!

In response to#4: Woohoo! Congrats on the job!

In response to #5: You can totally borrow this book.