Excerpt of the Week: Zaftig

Population485 pb c

Sold out show in Stoughton tonight. Jeepers and thanks. Gonna tell some new stories, read some new things, but also going to spend a little time looking back. Joggling around the idea of reading the opening paragraph of Population 485, because it’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

SUMMER HERE COMES ON like a zaftig hippie chick, jazzed on chlorophyll and flinging fistfuls of butterflies to the sun. The swamps grow spongy and pungent. Standing water goes warm and soupy, clotted with frog eggs and twitching with larvae. Along the ditches, heron-legged stalks of canary grass shoot six feet high and unfurl seed plumes. In the fields, the clover pops its blooms and corn trembles for the sky.

Since the day that book came out, I’ve received a pile of letters, emails and comments about my use of the word zaftig. It seems to elicit a strong reaction. My wise and trusted editor Frank told me to cut it. I left it. For the record, the comments run roughly 4:1 in favor. Go figure.

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