Five Things I Learned From Five Paragraphs

by - March 07, 2014

Guess what, y'all?

Annie Dillard's fourth chapter is five paragraphs long — shorter than my blog posts. Honestly. What a showoff.

The chapter was so short, we weren't even supposed to write a post today, but I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight if I had an odd chapter out. I'm not kidding. I think I'm allergic to ducks when they aren't in a row.

So, in honor of her scant five paragraphs, I offer five things I learned from chapter four:

  1. Things will go wrong. Just give it a little time. And plan accordingly.
  2. I sound like an insurance agent; she didn't. (which means my writing still needs work.)
  3. Chapter length doesn't have to be uniform, although that's what every expert except Dillard will tell you. I think she's having trouble conforming to convention again.
  4. When things go haywire, the truest you will be on display. (Do you like that person?)
  5. The burning typewriter in chapter four that isn't consumed is NOT holy ground like Moses' burning bush was. But, when a writer is on fire in front of his keyboard, it does feel a little miraculous.


You May Also Like


  1. Oh, yeah, do things ever go wrong sometimes! I've been trying to write all week, but nothing happened until yesterday morning, thirty minutes before I needed to be leaving to go to work. Then my laptop began to explode with words! I had to finish my piece before I left. Thank goodness, class didn't start until 12:00 noon. (I allow 1.5 hours to get to work so that I can adjust for traffic and still have time to prepare before class starts.)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.