Sorry for the hiatus. I accidentally found myself in Turkey, scrambling around ancient ruins and swimming in warm turquoise waters. It was terrible. (Not really). But now I am back and drafting plenty of upcoming SFF and storytelling-related articles. In the meantime, here is the first of a new series of posts I call Shiny Things: word-trinkets that catch my eye with their sparkly awesomeness. I will collect them here to share with you, ’cause that’s just the kind of crow I am.

The first shiny nugget is not actually from the SFF genre, but that’s cool because we are good little children who know to read outside our favorite genres. This excerpt is from literary author Babara Kinglsover’s The Lacuna. A million authors could have written this same scene a million different ways, but I love that she chose to tap into the way a child might see this scene. By giving the trees personalities and the animals opinions, she transports us straight into the boy-narrator’s imaginative perspective of the world.

At the end of the tunnel the cave opens up to light, a small saltwater pool in the jungle. Almost perfectly round, as big across as this bedchamber, with sky straight up, dappled and bright through the branches. Amate trees stood in a circle around the water hole like curious men, gaping because a boy from another world had suddenly arrived in their pool. The pombo trees squatted for a close look, with their knobbly wooden knees poking up out of the water. A tiger heron stood one-legged on a rock, cocking an unfriendly eye at the intruder. San Juan Pescadero the kingfisher zipped back and forth between two perches, crying, “Kill him kill him kill him!”

Piles of stone blocks lay in a jumble around the edges of the pool, a broken-down something made of coral rocks. Vines scrambled all over the ruin, their roots curling down through it like fingers in sand. It was a temple or something else very ancient.

The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingslover (p. 56).