Writing, according to Annie Dillard in "The Writing L:ife," feels like alligator wrestling at the level of the sentence. Imagine my sheer astonishment when I was rifling through her book yesterday--something I often do, as it is one of several I keep next to me when I'm writing, and need to look for inspiration, words, phrases, etc.; I wear her book when I write the way a river rafter wears a life jacket--and I found THIS:
"You are a Seminole alligator wrestler. Half naked, with your two bare hands, you hold and fight a sentence's head while its tail tries to knock you over. Several years ago in Florida, an alligator wrestler lost. He was grappling with an alligator in a lagoon in front of a paying crowd. The crowd watched the young Indian and the alligator twist belly to belly in and out of the water; after one plunge, they failed to rise. A young writer named Lorne Ladner described it. Bubbles came up on the water. Then blood came up, and the water stilled. As the minutes elapsed, the people in the crowd exchanged glances; silent, helpless, they quit the stands. It took the Indians a week to find the man's remains."
In future blogs, I will offer the thesis that, given all that is happening in the world today, civilization is in an awful alligator wrestle for its life, and blood is in the water.