“They later moved to a tin-roof house that was situated in a gas field under a spectacular flare that burned all the time. Big copper-green beetles the size of mice came from all over the Southland to see it and die in it. At night their corpses pankled down on the tin roof.”
– Charles Portis
This week’s quote is from Norwood, a novel I talked about on Goodreads. I admire the excerpt first for its language: notice how it juxtaposes lovely romantic descriptions with more unadorned, mundane action, to humorous effect: the “spectacular flare” didn’t “spew forth endlessly into the night's forlorn abyss,” or something like that; it simply “burned all the time.”
There’s also the dark comedy of the understated “…beetles the size of mice came from all over Southland to see it and die in it.” A gruesome death demands an abundance of language, unless you are a beetle subject to the pen of Charles Portis.
Finally, Mr. Portis makes up a perfect word, “pankled,” to described the sound of the dead husks hustling down the tin roof. I hope to never pankle anywhere.
This week’s quote is also the first quote on my new blog. I’ll be posting quotes and updates here weekly in anticipation of my upcoming novel and in conjunction with my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books this year. The taskmaster at Goodreads tells me I'm, "thirteen books behind schedule," but I have excuses. I haven’t finished nearly as many books as I’ve started, due to laziness, forgetfulness, and pankle-less writing.
In other news, I’m over-the-moon that my upcoming novel with Skyhorse, The Hummingbirds, is also going to be an audiobook, thanks to my dear friends at Pear Press and Libro.fm. We’re already in the process of thinking about potential readers of the audiobook, which is (fist pump/dance move) truly humbling. If you have any suggestions of professional audiobook readers, please pipe up.
My agent has also received a sniff at film rights from a production company housed very near the setting of the novel. If you have fingers, take a moment to cross them for my fledgling book while it’s read by folks with the power to make paper into film. Or at least pray nothing pankles.
Finally, I'm thrilled to have a poem, "Where the Sun Goes Once it Sets," in the new anthology of Washington poets, WA129, put together by poet laureate Tod Marshall, in honor of our fair state's 129 years of existence. You can purchase the anthology here.
Wish you well,