September 11th, 2008

How to

“At first, in the good old days, I did not know how to split wood. I set a chunk of alder on the choppint block and harassed it, at enormous exertion, into tiny wedges that flew all over the sandflat and lost themselves. What I did was less splitting wood than chipping flints. After a few whacks my alder chunk still stood serene and unmoved, its base untouched, it’s tip a thorn. And then I actually tried to turn the sorry thing over and balance it on its wee head while I tried to chop its fee off before it feel over. God save us…

“One night, while all this had been going on, I had a dream in which I was given to understand, by the powers that be, how to split wood. You aim, said the dream–of course!–at the chopping block. It is true. You aim at the chopping bock, not at the wood; then you split the wood, instead of chipping it.”
–Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

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