SIMPLICITY: Annie Dillard by Philip Harnden

Annie Dillard by Philip Harnden

From Journeys of Simplicity

(b. 1945)

American writer, poet, and pilgrim.

Dillard wrote the second half of her Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek in a second-floor, cinderblock room with a window that overlooked a tar-and-gravel roof and a parking lot.  “Appealing workplaces are to be avoided,” she maintains.  “One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark.”

In this writer’s cell she kept her fielder’s mitt (for afternoon softball games), some books, a bag of chocolate-covered peanuts, two or three quotes taped on index cards, a dozen different-colored pens, some piles of big index cards, and her messy yellow legal pads.  One day she shut the window blinds and never opened them again.

More recently she set up shop in a tent in the yard of her Cape Cod house.


Nine-by-twelve-foot canvas-roofed tent
with sewn-in floor

Tan coir rug
fits precisely

canvas chair
cot and mattress

heavy-duty extension cord
powers computer on desk
lamp by cot

red-pattered woven throws
on cot

couple of blue dhurries

all sorts of clutter
bird skeletons
fishing floats

dust them once a year

spiders and ants

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