Nona’s eyebrows and lashes were colorless, giving her a kind of seraphic indifference: her lower lip was cut sulkily straight across, waxed coppery red. Once upon a time her hair had been lit too, bright as a struck match, people said, but I only ever saw Nona with curtains of bled-white silk, always center-parted, soft as sea foam to the day she died.
Exuberant silk blouses and long emerald skirts pinched in mercilessly at the waist, Nona was still standing on her head at cocktail parties when she was eighty. Hers was the kind of beauty that made people stare, that called lives into question, that gave her cause to be celebrated like some uncatchable tiger running rogue in the wood.
Ever the delicious villain of her own private rock and roll fairy tale, Nona could be glitteringly direct. Her rich, throaty laughter, that fanged love; should we sin, hesitating over choosing a cookie, say, or an offering from her jewelry box at Christmas, Nona would promptly swipe her gift away.
“If you don’t know what you want, my darling, you’ll never have it!”
“Marguerite, they’re kids, for god sakes,” Daddy said, from his chair.
“Oh yes, we do want to believe the worst about people, don’t we?” Nona said. Not deigning to address Daddy directly. She thought he was an unforgivable rag.
Oh, those gumball nuggets of emerald, onyx and gold, glittering at us from their velvet crib in Nona’s arms; her limbs were still graceful pipes, even now that they were draped slightly from true. Her skin was the palest, softest chamois. Nona bathed in Shalimar. She smelled like the glinting of diamonds. She was a white throat, a dark room, a closed door.
“Lily, you’re looking plump, child. What on earth have you been eating? Everything, I suppose. Do you want a Chinaman to catch you up and fry you like a little piggie, is that what you want?”
Lily cried, but olly olly oxen free, bitches. Our Nona Marguerite held the secret of life: a withered heart cannot break.
~from All Babes Are Wolves (formerly titled Savages). My new baby.
After visiting my dearest G and another round of the Too Much Fun Club in New Orleans, I’m back to work- at the start of my 12 week residency here in Taos, New Mexico.
It's heaven. My own silent adobe. Rolling out of bed to work all day. The smell of sagebrush through the windows; long, up-tilting mountain runs.
Which is all very lovely and good, because Natalia sent EL off to publishers a couple weeks ago. In August, the whole lit industry pretty much takes a break, I guess, and she didn't want it languishing to the bottom of in-boxes. So here I am, trying not to eat my hands.
More on that soon.
Well, I'm lying. More on that soon-ish... because I've sort of decided that I hate blogging....
Pauline West's first novel, EVENING’S LAND, is winner of the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Award and recipient of the Carol Marie Smith Memorial Scholarship for the NOEPE Center of Literary Arts.
Pauline West's books on Goodreads
Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance
ratings: 27 (avg rating 4.04)
ratings: 24 (avg rating 3.46)
Candlemoth Volume 2: How To Spend It
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.40)
Candlemoth Book 3: A Twist of Fate
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.17)
Stalker: A Gothic Thriller
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)