Thursday, May 17, 2007

Virgil and Annie Dillard

Earlier this week, it was noted on NPR that in the latest scramble to produce more environmentally friendly fuels and reduce the world's dependence on oil, the Japanese are seeking ways to run their cars on sake. The revolutionary implications of this have not been lost on Virgil, who has always thought that gasoline was downright yukky to drink with sushi--unsuitable as using a cold rasher of cooked bacon for a bookmark. (Before you groan, know that the English writer Cyril Connelly actually did this.)

Sometimes in his sheer joie de vivre and dingbat adventurousness, Virgil reminds me of Annie Dillard. One time when she was walking along Tinker Creek, where she used to live, Annie Dillard encountered a group of black steer drinking from the creek. For a brief moment, she envisions them already transformed into leather shoes and beef stew for human consumption.

But then she does the most wonderful, whimsical thing, worthy of Virgil. She rushes toward them in a wild sprint, flailing her arms in the air and hollering, "Lightning! Copperhead! Swedish meatballs!" until they scatter across the flat pasture. And by the next page, Annie is busy scaring frogs in the same knockabout, clownish way.

This kind of goofball brilliance really knocks me out! I do have to wonder, though, about Annie's other great idea, that if she could only give her daughter one piece of advice to live by, it would be "listen to no one--no one except yourself." I used to be in love with that idea, but now I'm skeptical. Because GWB must have picked up on that advice somehow, probably by inhaling it, like nicotine. And now we may never get those troops back home.

Unless, of course, the enemy continues successfully bombing the Green Zone. Meanwhile I can't help wondering what Annie's daughter has been up to with her mom's advice.

1 comment:

colleen said...

Wonderful fun images and unlikely connections getting made here by describing the whimsical with your own whimsy (or is that Virgil?).

I read Annie's memoir, so I can picture her doing that and know how she came to be that way.

When I saw my first bear on the Parkway, it was standing on it's hind legs and I thought for a moment it was a person in a costume!