Pick of the day: Ted Hughes (1930-1998) - The Rain Horse.
Former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes demonstrates his undoubted abilities as a writer of fiction with this early and evocative short story. His poet’s eye for detail and his ability to find just the right words to describe what he wants us to see are evident throughout.
From the opening paragraph:
As the young man came over the hill the first thin blowing of rain met him. He turned his coat-collar up and stood on top of the shelving rabbit-riddled hedgebank, looking down into the valley.
to his descriptions of the weather:
He saw the rain pulling up out of the distance, dragging its grey broken columns, smudging the trees and farms.
and of the horse:
A horse sheltering from the rain generally goes into a sort of stupor, tilts a hind hoof and hangs its head and lets its eyelids droop, and so it stays as long as the rain lasts.
and more... we can see, even in his younger years, his skills as a painter of scenes in words. We are there.
Combined this with Hughes’ ability to use simple, direct language to build tension, and we have a memorable tale.
I am thinking of renaming this section of the blog - Stories I Wish I’d Written.
My hope is that any writer might learn something from reading them.
Please feel to share, comment and contribute your own suggestions (I am making the massive presumption that there might soon be some people out there reading this).