My wonderful friend and fellow writer (and Warren Wilson alum!) Elizabeth Mosier tells me it’s Work in Progress Day and has tagged me to share the opening paragraph of what I’m working on. I’m honored and a little daunted — this is brand brand new, the beginning of a novella I’m calling Talents, and which I just started three weeks ago, a very rough draft. But here it is!
Mostly it takes a nostalgic eye to appreciate the subtle beauty of north-central Indiana, and even then it probably requires a somewhat sensitive soul, the sort that not only did leave, but pretty nearly had to. Folks who are from the East and the West think of Indiana as “fly-over” country, relentlessly “flat and boring” if they are, as they believe, unfortunate enough to have to drive through the mile after mile of corn and soy beans on their way from someplace, to someplace else. Indiana itself is rarely their destination, and so they almost never leave the interstate, and even when they do, they are unlikely to slow down enough on a country road to notice the tiny yellow butterflies that meander in and out of the fields, the small brown grasshoppers that leap drunkenly on and off the pebbles on the shoulder of the road, the pungent green smell of corn. The coy horizon, always out there, out there, but never any closer. Even the riots of orange tiger lilies that grow wild in the ditches are a blur of color at best, maybe noticed, maybe commented on, quickly forgotten.