A Question to Live and Die By


I am reading the book The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. It’s a wild honest book about being a writer. I just read a particularly piercing question Dillard asks as a way to come at writing, and I wanted to share it with you because it could frame and focus a whole life:

“What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon?”

Dillard says to write as if you were dying, and she asks this question that I don’t believe any writer could ever really read without opening up a wide gaping pause after it.

But I think this question is begging to be made bigger:

“What would you begin doing if you knew you would die soon?”

Of course this is an age-old question—I am not the first one to ask it. But sometimes it gets tossed around, in one ear, out the other, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll think about that when I’m retired.”

But if you ask it, and ask it again, and do all you can to remember to keep asking it (every day, every hour, every minute), I believe your whole life will come into such clear, laser-beam focus that all you will be able to do is bow.

Thank you Annie Dillard.


Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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