Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bouchercon and Beautiful Words

Hey folks, tomorrow I'm headed to Bouchercon, and as a result I'm spending the afternoon running around like an idiot. So rather than a thoughtful, well-researched post, today I thought I would share a couple of passages I read recently that blew my hair back. I hope you enjoy.

By the way, if you're going to Bouchercon, come say hello! I have a panel at 8:30 Friday morning, along with Steve Hockensmith, Henry Perez, Rick Mofina, and Ken Mercer. I'm also signing at the Crimespree booth Saturday at 11. And most of the rest of the time I'll be in the bar.



At this point in the story, Packard had never fallen in love, and didn't trust what he'd heard of the lingo (forever, my darling, with all my heart, until the end of time, more than life itself, with every fiber of my being, oh my darling Clementine, etc.) It sounded out of control to him, and messy.

He had spent maybe a thousand Sundays in church, though--make that four hundred--and then two edgy years on a battleship in the Pacific Ocean, and then five very edgy days in the Pacific Ocean without the battleship, and before any of that, he'd deliberately and often put himself in places where he saw awful things happen not only to people who deserved it but also to people who just seemed to stumble in at the wrong time, walking into the picture as the shutter clicked, through no fault of their own.

Which is to say that by now Packard recognized praying when he heard it, and knew the kind of deals people would offer up, the promises they would make, when they were in over their heads. And that, from what he's heard, was what it--love--was about.

-From Train, by Pete Dexter

* * *

"So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when the flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality."

-From Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

* * *

Peter, however, didn't want to live in basements. He wanted to be a wheeler and dealer (as some would call him), a denizen of the present, though he can't quite live in the present; he can't stop himself from mourning some lost world, he couldn't say which world exactly but someplace that isn't this, isn't streetside piles of black garbage bags and shrill little boutiques that come and go. It's corny, it's sentimental, he doesn't talk to people about it, but it feels at certain times--now, for instance--like his most essential aspect: his conviction, in the face of all evidence ot the contrary, that some terrible, blinding beauty is about to descend and, like the wrath of God, suck it all away, orphan us, deliver us, leave us wondering how exactly we're going to start it all over again.

-From Before Nightfall, by Michael Cunningham