Today I started a post in which I intended to compare a book by artist-author Shel Silverstein to the novels of Katherine Paterson. The first part–the Shel Silverstein part–ran to over 1300 words, and there were more to come.
That posed a problem, as most of the piece was to be about Katherine Paterson. I liked what I’d written, and so would other English majors, some of them, maybe, but most people aren’t English majors. They find literary criticism tedious. So I scrapped it.
A Trick of the Light has received the following honors:
Winner of the Anthony Award for Best Crime Novel 2012
Finalist for the Macavity Award for Best Crime Novel in the US 2012
Finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Mystery of 2011
Finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel in Canada in 2011
Finalist for the Dilys Award from the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association for the book they most enjoyed selling in 2011
Finalist GoodReads Choice Awards for 2011
Publishers Weekly top 10 Mysteries of 2011
Amazon.com top 10 Thrillers and Mysteries of 2011
Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore: Favorites of 2011
The Toronto Star: Favorite Read of 2011 New York Times Book Review: Favorite Crime Novel of 2011 BookPage, Readers’ Choice: Best Books of 2011 (#6 all genres)
Women Magazine: Editor’s Pick #1 Book of 2011
The Globe and Mail: Top 10 Mystery of 2011
The Seattle Times: Top 10 Mystery of 2011
Quill and Quire: Top 10 Mystery of 2011
I-Tunes: Top 10 AudioBook of 2011
Richmond Times-Dispatch: top 5 Fiction Books of 2011
“Okay. Roadside Flowers of Texas. Short. Illustrated. With pictures.”
“Look. Pink. Oenothera. Prim-rose.”
[Sigh] “Back to daffodil.”
“Narcissus. Same. Both daf-fodils.”
“I spit on your science.”
“Can’t be daffodil.”
“Because my heart‘s not dancing.“
Click on the frog to find more short-shorts by Friday Fictioneers.
The spring of my junior year, I took a college course in plant taxonomy. I learned to identify flowering plants by dissecting them and consulting a dichotomous key. I learned the difference between monocotyledons and dicotyledons. I learned to arrange plants for the herbarium, one flower turned up, one turned down, one open (or as close to that arrangement as one can manage).
I learned that poison ivy is a mimic, that its leaves take on a variety of forms, and that if one collects a specimen of poison ivy on every outing (because its leaves take on a variety of forms), one has a perpetual itchy rash. I learned that if one stores a box of dried plants under one’s bed in one’s dorm room, one has a perpetual itch without a rash.
I learned that one’s car can take to the ditch and almost plow through a row of mailboxes while one scans the roadside for flowering plants instead of watching where one is going. I learned the scientific names of over 300 species (I am was blessed with a good memory and excelled at subjects requiring rote memory instead of thought).
A few days after the plant tax course ended, I was standing outside the biology department office, reading the list of upcoming course offerings, when the Plant Tax professor came down the hall. He stopped behind me, leaned over, and whispered, “Looking for a course that’s as easy as the one you just finished?”
And I said, “Yes.”
But here’s the point: The longer I look at the prompt picture, the less it looks like a daffodil, a jonquil, or a Narcissus anything.