(This is the most fun I've had writing in a long while, it's a journal response for nonfic class - Chan)
So Annie Dillard walks into a forest, and she sits down on this mossy tree, see…I don’t know why Dillard went to sit on the tree, but she calls it “the tree where I sit,” and knowing a little about Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I assume that Dillard goes to this fallen tree to think. This is discouraging to me, and I’ll tell you why. I’ve tried thinking before, as I assume great writers/profound, awesome, esteemed people do. It didn’t work out for me. When I was maybe a junior in high school I came home one night from hanging out with friends. It was softly raining outside, which, to a high schooler that liked to listen to emotionally manipulative, despondent singer/song-writer music, seemed like really great thinking weather, so I decided to go lay in my front yard. If I remember right, I think I actually decided to go out after trying to read scriptures for a little, and my plan was to lay there until I got an answer whether or not the Book of Mormon was true. A little bit of Enos and way too much Patty Griffin. Anyways, I laid down on my back and did my best to be really intent. I can’t remember what I thought about, but it was probably a lot of fretting about whether or not my plan would work, interspersed with lots of other random bits of music or girls or school. The rain hitting around my eyes was irritating and made my face twitch (I had a buddy that said he loved to be lay out in the rain, and I could never understand it, because, like I said, it makes my face twitch when the rain hits my eyes. I felt enviously less “deep” than he because he liked to do something so soulful as lay in the rain. But then again, he was a liar and we were talking to girls, so in retrospect I don’t think he actually liked laying in the rain. In fact, I don’t think hardly anyone likes laying in the rain, writers or otherwise. That’s why rain jackets and umbrellas and houses are such big sellers). And when my dad’s headlights swept over me as he pulled in the driveway, the whole thing seemed a little embarrassing. So I went back inside.
More recently (last year) I had a job that was eight days on and six days off, so I had a lot of free time during those six days. And then I quit my job and didn’t have a job, so I had all kinds of free time. Anyways, I figured that with all the free time I had I would get in some really good thinking, pondering. I lived with my aunt in Ogden, so after a couple unfruitful thinking sessions in my aunt’s backyard and later at a park, I poked around Ogden Canyon until I found this big tan boulder that sat in the stream that runs through the canyon. I had realized since high school that listening to somber feely-feely music, for me, was a slippery slope of somber feely-feely-ness, not a legitimate emotional experience. So this time I chose my spot out of aesthetics and isolation more than whether or not it bespoke emotional turmoil. Anyways, I’d go to this rock every couple days and bring down lots of different books (because you just never know what you’re gonna wanna read when you’re sitting on a large rock), and my journal and a some water and a blanket and I tried hard to think. Now and again I’d have ten or twenty minutes when I felt like I got some good thinking done, but mostly I just got distracted by birds (I like birds, I like knowing their names and seeing new ones). I don’t regret the time I spent on the rock, I spent some good hours there. And I suppose I was thinking the whole time I sat on that rock, but it never really went anytwhere. I'd feel lousy for a few minutes (some troubles had come up), and then I'd see a bird. Then I'd start reading some book for a few minutes, and then I'd see a bird. So I saw some great birds, but I didn't do whatever it is I imagine great thinkers doing when they think. I just don’t understand how people, like Dillard, can go somewhere and think and have such good things come of it. It’s like people who love shrimp—I just can’t relate. So sometimes, when I read something, like Dillard’s piece here, about some person that seems to feel and think more deeply than I, I feel discouraged. I mean, will I ever be a good writer if I’m constitutionally incapable of sitting on mossy logs and probing, like some divinely inspired physician, the slimy but occasionally and surprisingly breathtaking guts of life and humanity with nothing but unflinching honesty and my naked mind!!!? Cause I’m certain that’s exactly how it happens for Dillard. So, anyways, I’m not much of a thinker.