Annie Dillard's reflections on a life spent writing are almost sacred among many writers. Neither mystifying nor demystifying the process, she explores the writing profession, writer's block, the physical aspect of putting words on a page, even the temptation to just mess around. This isn't a how-to manual—it simply examines The Writing Life.
Writing is lonely, she says. But it's a paradoxical loneliness, for while the act of writing is solitary, inspiration comes in company with nature and people. Dillard doesn't defend this, she simply presents it as fact. Throughout the book, vignettes support her statements, and we get a personal confession and prose poem rather than a celebration or apology.
For those who've encountered Dillard, The Writing Life follows the mystical, natural course of her famous memoir Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, with no obvious preconceived route. For those who haven't read Dillard, this is a simple presentation of a craft she both glories in, and (like most writers), is often battered by.