For most of us, these prizewinning spelling bee words would be difficult to pronounce, let alone spell. We asked twenty-one of today's most talented and inventive writers to go even further and pen an original tale inspired by one of dozens of obscure and fascinating championship words. The result is Logorrhea-a veritable dictionary of the weird, the fantastic, the haunting, and the indefinable that will have you spellbound from the very first page. There's only one word for such an irresistible anthology: Logorrhea
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April 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Logorrhea by John Klima
1: pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color
2 a: the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art
2 b: the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character)
3: a 16th century woodcut technique involving the use of several blocks to print different tones of the same color; also: a print made by this technique
4: the interplay of light and shadow on or as if on a surface
5: the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow
The First Day Of Creation
In the nook of the tavern, the old man's face--or part of it--catches the fireglow slanting through the frame of oak door left ajar as he leans forward across the table, elbows on the wood, a glinting silver mechanism in one hand going clunk, chik with the flicking of a thumb, while, with his other hand, he holds a cigarette up to his mouth to draw in a breath--foosh. He holds it for a perfect moment of satiation, head raised now so that his bliss-closed eyes come out from under the shadow of his hat's wide brim, as if basking in the warmth of sunlight blood red through their lids; and even beneath the bush of drooping grey moustache that his fingers seem half-buried in, there is a hint of smile on the lips pursed round the roll-up. Let there be light, I think, and then he leans back, disappearing into the leather shadow of the nook to blow out billows of blue-grey that curl and unfurl in the air like offerings of incense rising. An invocation in volutions, the breath of smoke immediately conjures up, in my mind's eye, an image that I seize--that old man's face half-lit as now in sharp chiaroscuro, shrouded in the swirling nebulae of chaos, of the first day of creation.
I must have him for my God.
--Maester, your stout.
The barkeep blocks my vision for a second as he lays the tumbler of black liquid on the table, and it brings me sharp out of the reverie.
--Grazzis, I say out of habit. Thank you. How much?
He waves a hand as I reach into my longcoat's inner pocket.
--Full board and beer, he says. It's all on the Monadery. . . . Fader Pitro's orders. He hopes--we hope--to make your stay here as pleasant as possible.
With a tilt of my glass to him I take a sip and smile at the busy tavern of sandminers and craftsmen, quarriers and traders, farmers in for a few quick jars before Evenfall; it's not the sort of place you'd find in the Merchant Quarters of Vrienze or Nephale where I so often have to smooth my way from one commission to the next with smiles as painted as the courtesans . . . but it's not so different from the harbour inns or carter's lodges that I spent much of my apprenticeship in with my own Maester. Fewer knife fights, I suspect, though.
--I'm sorry that we didn't have your room ready, he says.
--No problem, I say. A well-poured stout is all it takes to keep me happy.
--I've sent word to the Monadery that you've arrived.
--Maya grazzis. Thank you. Thank you.
The bells of the Monadery di Sanze Manitae toll Evenfall, audible even over the tavern din of lewd jokes and earnest discussions, which changes tone in response to the knell as arguments find quick, laughing resolutions; chairs scrape back, friends say good-byes, off home down the cobble-street slopes before darkness descends. The door opens and closes, opens and closes, until there are only a dozen or so customers left, drinkers more devoted, or perhaps who live in the safety of the lamplit squares and strazzas of the market area, close enough to scorn superstition for the short walk home. The atmosphere becomes more homey with just these groups of three or four here and there, without the escalating racket of voices raised over voices raised.