There is a line in Joe R. Lansdale’s novella, Briar Patch Boogie, that took my breath away when I read it. It goes a little something like this:

It was still raining and you could hear the drops falling into the water like plums falling off trees.

It’s a good line, in isolation. A clear, beautiful image and a nice cadence to it. It’s a great line within the context of the story, where it tells us all sorts of things about the narrator and the things they notice and the contrast between his internal life and the way he presents to the world around him.

Nothing terribly surprising about that; Lansdale is fucking incredible at this stuff. He’s one of those writers who is utterly in control of every aspect of his work, building scenes and characters and stories with incredible precision. A man who loves the language and the character, the sound of the words on the page and on the tongue.

I’ll be taking a whole bunch of Lansdale short stories away with me, when I hit Gladstone this weekend. More than I would usually take, for a quick trip away, because I’m now travelling without my poor, broken laptop and need something to fill the hours when I’m not taking workshops.

Were it not for the inconvenience when it comes to work matters, I could quite get used to being computer-free around the house.

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