Council for Wisconsin Writers 2014 award winner Chloe Krug Benjamin, whose novel The Anatomy of Dreams [published by Atria/Simon & Schuster] received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award, read the excerpt below her photograph here at CWW’s May 16 Awards Banquet.
“In our third year, though, a lunar eclipse brought us together. Mr. Cooke, our physics teacher, had been talking it up all semester, and our class had permission to see it. It would be at 6:51 P.M.—dinnertime—but that night we ate outside. It was cold but not snowing: in Northern California, January brought steamy haze that lent each evening a feeling of dark eventfulness. We carried out blankets and trays and huddled at the top of Observatory Hill, where Mr. Cooke had once shown us how to chart the phases of the moon. I sat with Hannah McGowan, my roommate and best friend, who was telling me a story in a rapid, hushed voice and at one point said, “Sylvie. Sylvie . . .” but I could hardly hear her. Her voice trailed into the air like fog as we waited for the moon to change.
“Mr. Cooke had told us that a lunar eclipse could only occur when a full moon was perfectly aligned with the earth and sun. For just a few minutes, he said, our planet would cast two shadows and the moon would travel through them. Light from the sun, passing through earth’s atmosphere, would bend toward the moon, and our rock would transform: dyed by the planet’s sunrises and sunsets, the beginnings of days and the ends of them, she would turn red.
“I knew all of this, but I was still unprepared for the feeling that came over us when it happened. Slowly, earth’s shadow moved in front of the moon, covering it almost completely. But the moon fought back. Like a phoenix, she shed her ashes and caught fire. We gaped at her change in costume: she hung, a blood orange in darkness. The trees and the sky and even the hill vanished, and we had only each other.”
More about Chloe is at http://www.chloekrugbenjamin.com/#!the-anatomy-of-dreams/c156v
More about CWW, its contests and awards and award winners is at http://www.wiswriters.org