To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

First lines: The Book of Jezebel

I am writing a post-pre-apocalyptic story called The Book of Jezebel (I was originally going to call it The Book of Demeter, but Jezebel asserted herself so much in my imagination that I catered to her whims and put her back).  I have only fifty pages which I am now rewriting. Probably most of the book will be written by hand when I feel more like it.  Here is the new introduction (rough draft):

The Book of Jezebel

Salt, when set free upon a landscape, suffuses everything with bitterness.  The years had been salt, and nothing but:  salt gave the town its name, Saltwater, from the way salt made the town's water brackish though still fit to drink. On the outskirts, salt had congealed over decades into an expanse of white the color of permafrost, the real permafrost long gone, following the rainforests, the silver birches of Norway, California's giant sequoias and incense cedars, into the maw of extinction.  Ringed by  mountains of stunted chaparral, Saltwater stood lonely in a isolation that was unusual even now, in this rumor of a world near end.  There was a post office, a school, and two windowed buildings, one for medical, one for police and firefighters.  Scatterings of  salt-faded houses: stucco, clapboard, painted aluminum siding.  Beach plants grew in every yard: panic grass, beggar's lettuce, seawort, bayberry, ice plant, thriving as the world slowly drew itself into a parched sea.

Into this landscape her son had been born, at home in her brass bed, a patient midwife attending the nineteen-hour labor. The choice to give or not give birth had been difficult for nearly everyone from the first year the sickening green-gray ovals appeared appeared over the long-ago-melted polar icecaps, a rent in the atmosphere's fragile blue silk.  Eventually, when the ovals widened and melted into each other, all would be lost, scientists said.  There had been resistance at first from both left and right for some decades, but in time a numbness set in:  too many lost their fight and simply waited in a quiet and deliberate acceptance.