How are you all enjoying the summer heat? Well, I suppose if you live somewhere that is perpetually cold you aren't. And if you live somewhere really hot (mid-Georgia right about now) you might not either. I for one can't complain-- I hate the cold with a burning (get it?) passion that consumes all my being. Everyone always says you can put more clothing on but there comes a time when you can't take any more off. Well, for me, I'd rather sweat, because one) sweating is good for you (as long as you bathe) and two) I don't warm up once I'm cold. I stay cold and I shiver and it's not fun. Because I shiver *really* hard.
Speaking of cold, here we go! I won the Sidney Lanier Prize for fiction this last semester for a short story I wrote called "The Scholar," and the reward was two books, one of which is "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. I have never before read this book, and my professor, who not only picked me to be the receiver of the award, but also chose the books in question, decided on this title because she thought it would give me more grit in my own writing. Always a good thing, and I certainly can't claim to have too much-- I used to have the terrible habit of deleting anything I wrote that creeped me out too much. Terrible. I have since then quit of that habit, but unlike some writers I know I have never written something deliberately creepy or terrible just to see what would happen or how I would go about it. That is probably something I should attempt as well. I'm getting there.
In any case! "The Road" is about a father and son in a sort of post-apocalyptic America (the country has been entirely burned somehow) and their struggles to get to the warmer coast, all the while avoiding murderous bands of vagrants along the way. I haven't gotten very far in-- just a few pages on my break at work today-- but already the writing style is intriguing. A bit distracting in its simplicity, to me, but it's very much a part of the character (the father) and adds, in a weird way, a bit of depth. But what I really love is the vocabulary-- me and vocabulary!! Gorgeous stuff. I mean, in describing a nightmare cave creature McCarthy writes:
"Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadow on the rocks behind it."
The cold and silence of the night he describes as:
"Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief."
Wow. I haven't even gotten to most of the 'grit' in the story and already it's beautiful, if in a bare, desperate way. I mean really, I'm not even twenty pages in. I should get to work on that.
And so I shall! Keep reading, friends, and wiggle your toes-- just because it's hot doesn't mean the pages are too sticky to turn!