In celebration of the release of Jane Yolen’s THE EMERALD CIRCUS, Tachyon presents glimpses from some of the volume’s magnificent tales.
by Jane Yolen
dwell in Possibility. The pen scratched over the page, making
graceful ellipses. She liked the look of the black on white as much
as the words themselves. The words sang in her head far sweeter than
they sang on the page. Once down, captured like a bird in a cage, the
tunes seemed pedestrian, mere common rote. Still, it was as close as
she would come to that Eternity, that Paradise that her mind and
heart promised. I
dwell in Possibility.
stood and stretched, then touched her temples where the poem still
throbbed. She could feel it sitting there, beating its wings against
her head like that captive bird. Oh, to let the bird out to sing for
a moment in the room before she caged it again in the black bars of
down the skirt of her white dress, she sat at the writing table once
more, took up the pen, dipped it into the ink jar, and added a second
fairer House than … than what? Had she lost the
word between standing and sitting? Words were not birds after all,
but slippery as fish.
suddenly, she felt it beating in her head. Prose!
A fairer House than Prose— She let the
black ink stretch across the page with the long dash that lent the
last word that wonderful fall of tone. She preferred punctuating with
the dash to the hard point, as brutal as a bullet. I
dwell in Possibility.
her head to one side, she considered the lines. They
will do, she thought, as much praise as she ever
allowed her own work, though she was generous to others. Then,
straightening the paper and cleaning the nib of her pen, she tore up
the false starts and deposited them in the basket.
could, of course, write anytime during the day if the lines came to
mind. There was little enough that she had to do in the house. But
she preferred night for her truest composition and perhaps that was
why she was struggling so. Then
those homey tasks will take me on, she told
herself: supervising the gardening, baking Father’s daily bread.
Her poetry must never be put in the same category.
she smoothed down the white skirt again and tidied her hair—“like
a chestnut burr,” she’d once written imprudently to a
friend. It was ever so much more faded now.
pushing that thought aside, Emily went quickly out of the room as if
leaving considerations of vanity behind. Besides the hothouse
flowers, besides the bread, there was a cake to be made for tea.
After Professor Seelye’s lecture there would be guests and her tea
cakes were expected.
For more info on THE EMERALD CIRCUS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story