Setting prompt

The following excerpt from Cynthia Bond’s powerful new novel (you heard it here) Ruby makes a great prompt to start a story or just tackle a familiar setting in a new way. Read and model your writing as closely as you can or as loosely as you like…

The crow caught a cross current and gained altitude as the man grew small and then vanished behind a rise in the earth. she tilted with the curve of the horizon. The sun warmed her hollow bones, her blackest feathers holding its heat. She flew over thatches of land, gold, green, brown following the red river road until she reached the town square. Far below she saw a knot of men crowded onto the store’s steps, the women fanning their faces and looking on, headscarves tied. A woman chasing three boys off with a broom. She saw the different roofs, black tar, shingled, wood. She flew on. More farms. Wide wild pines spearing the clouds. Pockets of green. Bony fences leaning into the road or boxing in pigs, chickens, cows. A berry cobbler set out to cool. A red melon split on an outdoor table, children gathering around it like flies. The crow saw two men plodding home, carrying empty pails. Smoke from the mill in the distance. She flew past Marion Lake and the tangle of woods beneath, a wealth of beetles, grasshoppers and other legged insects, until she finally reached Bell land. The dried grass, empty hard field. Figs and apricots wormy on the earth. Gravestones litterring the hillside. The house with holes poked through the roof. Rain and sun cutting them larger each day until now the foot of the girl’s bed was in view. She was asleep on her belly, her black soles facing the sky.

18282970I have just finished reading Ruby and am very excited to be have had the opportunity to ask Cynthia Bond some questions about it as part of a feature I’m writing for the Historical Novel Society. It’s an amazing book. Hard reading but rewarding.

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