In and out of over-warmed little shops, a surfeit of incense and candles, Chris smelling warm and deliciously of grapefruit and vanilla, me developing a desire for a carving of harvest mice in late wheat...
We found ourselves in the children's section of the bookstore, looking for Yulies (christmas presents). In a bookstore, Chris and I are a song with a chorus that goes: "Look! I love that book!" And while Chris selected a volume of traditional fairytales for her niece, I found a section of reprints of Rosemary Sutcliff. I replaced all my Roman Britain volumes a few years back, but I can never resist picking them up and holding them in my hands. Sutcliff was one of the writers I loved as a kid, but I had not realized just how much her actual writing style affected me -- there it was, the elusive tone and voice I hear in my head when I am trying to capture words in a net made of paper. I found out today that Chris had never read her, So I opened Dragon Slayer, (her retelling of Beowulf) at random and read a random line aloud:
She was of the same kind as Grendel, monstrous, evil, a Death-Shadow-In-The-Dark; but she had possessed the power to love, and she had loved her son, and was therefore more terrible than he had ever been.