So cold it's like: Trying to walk in a certain way so that the snow crunching beneath your feet synchs up with the music you're listening to on your headphones. Summary: Two young women in Maine get caught up in the painful and sometimes violent event of growing up, expertly rendered in prose as stark as the harsh coastal winter. Excerpt: "The cold didn't invent anything like the summer has a habit of doing and it didn't disclose anything like the spring.
It lay powerfully encamped - waiting, altering one's ambitions, encouraging ends. The cold made for an ache, a restlessness and an irritation, and thinking that fell in odd and unemployable directions. The pain would start in your lap, boring up and tearing through like a big-beaked bird, traveling up your spine then to the base of your skull, entering your brain like a fever.
So cold it's like: Taking a long swim in the Atlantic in February with very little clothing on. Summary: In perfect Chekhovian fashion, a man enters into a torrid relationship with a beautiful woman in a romantic Russian town in, of course, the winter. This woman also has a dog.
Excerpt: "Why did she love him so? Women had always taken him to be other than he was, and they had loved in him, not himself, but a man their imagination had created, whom they had greedily sought all their lives; and then, when they had noticed their mistake, they had still loved him. And not one of them had been happy with him. Time passed, he met women, became intimate, parted, but not once did he love; there was anything else, but not love.
Summary: A haunting story about hatred and violence in a small town, poverty ridden and filled with racial tension. The small yet beautiful acts of love and kindness are quickly swept up in the aforementioned hatred and violence.
It's a quick story that shows how life can somehow be both terrible and worth it. Excerpt: "The first great act of love I ever witnessed was Split Lip bathing his handicapped daughter. We were young, ignorant of mercy, and called her Boneless or Balled-Up Gumby for the way her limbs were twisted and useless. She looked like a newborn colt, appendages folded in as she lay on the velour couch protected by guardrails.
Leo and I stood outside the window on cinder blocks, watching. She was scared of the tub, so to bathe her Split Lip covered the couch with a tarp and caught the runoff in a bucket. So cold it's like: Taking a bath with a just a bucket of freezing water in a concrete room. Posted on January 31, , GMT.
Aaron Calvin. She shot forward, jarring her wrist on the seat in front. The seatbelt pulled her back. They had felt the impact but seen nothing. The driver swung open his door and ducked out into the night. Gone under? The driver was pulling something from between the front wheels. He was bent double and they could see his bottom rise in the air, with the frill of tartan at his waist.
Inside the body of the car they sat very still, as if not to draw attention to the incident. They did not look at each other, but watched as the driver straightened up, rubbed the small of his back, then walked around and lifted the tailgate, pulling out something dark, like a tarpaulin. The chill of the night hit them between their shoulder blades, and fractionally they shrank together.
Phil took her hand. She twitched it away: not petulant, but because she felt she needed to concentrate.
The driver appeared in silhouette before them, lit by their own headlights. He turned his head and glanced up and down the empty road. He had something in his hand, a rock. He stooped. Thud, thud, thud. She tensed. She wanted to cry out. The man straightened up. There was a bundle in his arms. Tomorrow's dinner, she thought. Seethed in onion and tomato sauce.
She didn't know why the word "seethed' came to her. She remembered a sign down in the town: The Sophocles School of Motoring. The tailgate slammed. Recycling, she thought. Phil would say "Very laudable".
If he spoke. But it seemed he had decided not to. She understood that they wouldn't, either of them, mention this dire start to their winter break. She cradled her wrist. Gently, gently. A movement of anxiety. A washing. Massaging the minute pain away.
I shall go on hearing it, she thought, at least for the rest of this week: thud, thud, thud. We might make a joke of it, perhaps. How we froze. How we let him get on with it, what else could we. Something rose into her throat, that she wanted to articulate: tickled her hard palate, fell away again. The porter said: "Welcome to the Royal Athena Sun. That will be the "archaeological feature" as promised, she thought. She glanced down at him and saw that he was carrying a very precious vase that her grandmother had given her.
He continued to insist that he could not get it out. Growing a little concerned, his mother called out to his dad. Dad calmly took control and began gently pulling the arm trying to extract the hand from the vase. He tried loosening it up with soapy water. Still nothing. He then got some vegetable oil from the kitchen and poured it around the wrist and let it seep into the vase. He wiggled it some. It still did not budge. Then they heard a clinking sound and his hand slid right out of the vase. They turned the vase upside down and a penny plopped out. I wanted to get it out so I was clutching it in my hand.
But when I heard Dad say he would give a dollar to have the vase free, I let go. The cracked pot A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you've watered them.
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house. Imagining the little fellow as a person he recalled a few things about the pencil.
Always remember these five things - never forget them - and you will become the best pencil you can be!
No matter what else happens, you must continue to write. Naturalists tell us that it stood for some four hundred years. It was a seedling when Columbus landed at San Salvador, and half grown when the pilgrims settled at Plymouth.
During the course of its long life it was struck by lightning fourteen times and the innumerable avalanches and storms of four centuries thundered past it. It survived them all. In the end, however, an army of beetles attacked the tree and leveled it to the ground.