Annie Dillard on Abundance

“One of the few things I know about writing is this,” Annie Dillard wrote in The Writing Life.

“…Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”

There was a line from The Qu’ran that Ms. Dillard had written in her journal years ago: “They will question thee concerning what they should spend. Say: The Abundance.”

This was her orientation towards writing. Perhaps life, too.

“The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better,” Ms. Dillard wrote. “These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”

Don’t hold back, was what she once told an interviewer. Don’t hold back from your writing, your students, from those who have less.

“The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you,” was what she wrote. “You open your safe and find ashes.”

So, as she put it in The Writing Life: “Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time.”

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