Température et incipit : The complete Western stories of Elmore Leonard [102]


Never open a book with weather. Elmore Leonard, Ten rules for writing fictions.

Ça fait plus de 100 billets dans lesquels je m’amuse à démontrer que le conseil d’Elmore Léonard concernant les incipit météorologiques ne tient vraiment pas compte de la science des études littéraires et de la production des plus grandes autrices et auteurs de ce monde. Vous pouvez jeter un coup d’oeil ici.

J’ai fait mes recherches. Il me fallait voir ce qu’il y avait dans le ventre des incipit de Leonard. Météorologique ou pas? Rien de scientifique, j’ai choisi un de ses livres de cow-boy dans lequel on trucide les « Apaches » et les bisons : The complete Western stories, recueil de nouvelles. De la mauvaise foi de ma part.  Les chances étaient fort bonnes que le soleil tape fort sur la caboche de ces hardis hommes de l’ouest. Dans l’incipit? Et oui! Dans quatre de ses historiettes.

Œuvres de jeunesse, écrites dans la vingtaine.

UNDER THE THATCHED roof ramada that ran the length of the agency office, Travisin slouched in a canvas-backed chair, his boots propped against one of the support posts. His gaze took in the sun-beaten, gray adobe buildings, all one-story structures, that rimmed the vacant quadrangle. It was a glaring, depressing scene of sun on rock, without a single shade tree or graceful feature to redeem the squat ugliness. There was not a living soul in sight. Earlier that morning, his White Mountain Apache charges had received their two-weeks’ supply of beef and flour. By now they were milling about the cook fires in front of their wickiups, eating up a two-weeks’ ration in two days. Most of the Indians had built their wickiups three miles farther up the Gila, where the flat, dry land began to buckle into rock-strewn hills. There the thin, sparse Gila cottonwoods grew taller and closer together and the mesquite and prickly pear thicker. And there was the small game that sustained them when their government rations were consumed.
Apache agent, 1951

KLEECAN WAS THREE hours out of Cibicu, almost halfway to the Mescalero camp at Chevelon Creek, when he met the Apache.

Ordinarily he welcomed company, for the life of a cavalry scout is lonely enough without the added routine of riding from camp to camp to count reservation heads, and that day the sky was a dismal gray-green to the north, dark and depressing. It made the semidesert surroundings stand out in vivid contrast—the alkali stretches a garish white between low, bleak hills and ghostly, dust-covered mesquite clumps. It was a composite of gray and bright white and dead green that formed a coldness, a penetrating chill that was premature for so early in September, and more than anything else, it made a man feel utterly alone.
Apache medicine, 1952 -[Ce dernier est fort bien tourné et mériterait de se retrouver an panthéon de mes incipit météorologiques.]

BY NATURE, ANGSMAN was a cautious man. From the shapeless specks that floated in the sky miles out over the plain, his gaze dropped slowly to the sand a few feet from his chin, then rose again more slowly, to follow the gradual slope that fell away before him. He rolled his body slightly from its prone position to reach the field glasses at his side, while his eyes continued to crawl out into the white-hot nothingness of the flats. Sun glare met alkali dust and danced before the slits of his eyes. And, far out, something moved. Something darker than the monotonous tone of the flats. A pinpoint of motion.
You never see Apaches, 1952.

HE HAD PICKED up his prisoner at Fort Huachuca shortly after midnight and now, in a silent early morning mist, they approached Contention. The two riders moved slowly, one behind the other.

Entering Stockman Street, Paul Scallen glanced back at the open country with the wet haze blanketing its flatness, thinking of the long night ride from Huachuca, relieved that this much was over. When his body turned again, his hand moved over the sawed-off shotgun that was across his lap and he kept his eyes on the man ahead of him until they were near the end of the second block, opposite the side entrance of the Republic Hotel.

He said just above a whisper, though it was clear in the silence, “End of the line ».
Three-ten to Yuma, 1953

Elmore Leonard, The complete Western stories. W. Morrow, c2004 [édition numérique]


A propos Luc Jodoin

Effleure la surface des choses. Intérêt pour la littérature, la langue, les arts visuels, la sociologie et les enjeux sociaux. Tendance woke. Préfère Madrid à Barcelone.
Ce contenu a été publié dans Calembredaine, Citations, Époque pourrie, Température et incipit, avec comme mot(s)-clé(s) , , . Vous pouvez le mettre en favoris avec ce permalien.

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *