Monday, December 16, 2013

field, poppies

photographer unknown

I'm trying to get back into my fiction writing jive and in an attempt to do so am picking up books I've loved and gleaning paragraphs that move me. Like these ones, by Laura Van den Berg:

They passed an old couple standing in a pasture, rows of stone houses with pink and yellow shutters, and then a field of red poppies, the petals delicate and thin as tracing paper. She wondered if someone had planted them or if they had taken root naturally. She asked Leon to pull over and he did. She got out of the car and walked into the field. He rolled down the window and watched her. 

She stepped carefully to avoid flattening the poppies. The soil was cracked and brown. It seemed miraculous that such brilliant color had emerged from this parched square of land. She bent over and pulled a flower from the ground. A breeze passed over the field, bending the stems of the plants. She crushed the petals in her fist, the little slivers of red pushing between her fingers like silk. The poppy was soft and damp in her hand. From the center of the field, it felt like she was surrounded by a thousand tiny faces. 

--"Still Life with Poppies," What the World Will Look Like When all the Water Leaves Us

Things this tells me: I like landscape in fiction. I like women alone in a landscape in fiction. I like sentences that are gorgeous, and bright pops of color amidst more subdued, earthy hues. I've never heard anyone talk about the color tones of a story.  Oh, and counter to everything we're told, long scenes where nothing much happens.

Happy day, everyone. It's cold out there. Sixteen inches of fresh snow on the ground and the sun is shining, making the snow shine, too.