Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book of fiction for young adults about the Spanish settlement of New Iberia in 1779 entitled "Flood on the Rio Teche":

“It is a fecund city on the banks of the Bayou Teche. The air, fungi-laden and humid, presses down on us all the time. Jays squawk incessantly in the magnificent oaks, the stand of trees like somber umbrellas overshadowing day-to-day commerce. On the Teche’s banks are dagger-shaped plants; in the fields, the drooping cane grows thickly. The place seems somnolent and enclosing. I fell in love with the trees, the air, and the vigor of many cultures living alongside one another. I was inspired by the lordly oak and complaining jay, meandering bayou, and pale green light of Spring. I can never leave this place for long. It has a voice, a liquid voice, husky because of the mist above the brown water and the decay, dark banks loamy with decay. The people came down, in exile, and made their music, sharp in the heavy air, laughing confidently, laughing away the somber history of their exile and rejoicing on the banks of muddy water, birthing many infants, the making of children rich and life-giving. They plowed the loamy soil, poled in the backwaters of the swamps looking for food, always the wild animals lurking, the mosquitoes, and the stifling curtain of heat, behind which they sang and told stories. Its voice is a very old voice and its history is one of struggle.”