Reading Annie Dillard: Nothing is wasted

Reading Annie Dillard- Nothing is wasted.jpg

I’m of a mindset that nothing is wasted. I believe this. Not prudently, as in “nothing should be wasted,” but confidently, brazenly. Metaphysically. Nothing is. 

Annie Dillard shares a similar view, only she calls it "a crackpot notion," a "little ghost story" she never tires of telling herself:

Imaginative acts--even purely mental combinations, like the thought that a certain cloud resembles a top hat--carry real weight in the universe. A child who makes a pun, or a shepherd who looks at a batch of stars and thinks, 'That part is a throne and that part is a swan,' is doing something which counts in the universe's reckoning of order and decay--which counts just as those mighty explosions and strippings of electrons do inside those selfsame stars. 

This jolly view soothes the Puritan conscience; it gives the artist real work. With his thumb in the dike he is saving the universe. And the best part of it is he need not find a publisher, or a gallery, or a producer, or a symphony orchestra. Thoughts count. A completed novel in the trunk in the attic is an order added to the sum of the universe's order. It remakes its share of undoing. It counteracts the decaying of systems, the breakdown of stars and cultures and molecules, the fraying of forms. It works. (from LIVING BY FICTION)