Sunday, November 04, 2007

On the Birds

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, unsettled on a lot of fronts, which has meant even more irregular blogging, so I was determined to just relax and not do much of anything today, and I succeeded admirably. The only thing I wanted to do was think about a story I've been meaning to write on birds, part of the research involved reading Daphne du Maurier's "the Birds", because I'm in the mood to play a few riffs off other stories, and I just wanted to get a feel for the tone of the story, and to see if it matched the thing that's bouncing around in my head.

To my shame I had never read "the birds" before. Sure, I've seen the movie three or four times, but the short story is a different creature altogether, and a wonderful one. It's about as perfect a horror short as you could want, beautiful rhythmical writing*, wonderful characterisation, and a quiet, precise sense of place, not to mention rising menace.

It's hot and humid in Brisbane today, sultry as all hell, but while I sat reading that wonderful story all I could feel was the cold.

If you haven't read it, you should.

*truly muscular prose in an unadorned, but not bland, sense here's the opening paragraph:

On December the third the wind changed overnight and it was winter. Until then the autumn had been mellow, soft. The leaves had lingered on the trees, golden red, and the hedgerows were still green. The earth was rich where the plough had turned it.

It's that first sentence that's a kicker for me immediately setting the tone. Fantastic.

1 comment:

Miss T said...

Hey chook, so odd that you have written about "the birds". Picked up the very same at a second hand bookstore on Brunswick St. I've not seen the film (to be honest, the idea of having a few birds batter me with their wings has never given me the heebee jeebees), but husband Dave swears it's the scariest bugger of a movie he's ever seen (and he's a horror nerd). So he's started on the story (a break from Chuck Palahnuik) and is glorying in its freaky scariness. Your post has me even more curious. I promise to read it asap. Hope that the rain breaks for you! ;)