23 June 2010


For a long time I had a sizable Antarctica section in the manuscript for my book DEEP BLUE HOME. But it didn't survive round two of my own cuts. Which doesn't mean I didn't like it. I prefer to think of a cut as a postponement, and remain hopeful the piece will a find a home in a future book.

Some of my favorite parts of DEEP BLUE HOME that made it through to publication came from an old novel I was working on a few years back. Recycling (I call it parasitizing) my own work makes me happy.

Here's a taste of the Antarctica outtake:
At first glance, the massive penguin rookery at Brown Bluff looks to be strewn with the carcasses of penguin chicks. Thankfully, they’re not dead, only prostrate with heat—so fat and absurdly fuzzy that they’re forced to lie prone on rotund krill bellies, wings outstretched, webbed feet raised in the air behind them, shedding heat through the only unfeathered parts of themselves. The Adélie chicks hatched earlier than the Gentoos on the island and some are near fledging now, emerging from their down feathers like penguins from gorilla suits. Most are joining crèches and partaking in the comical affairs known as feeding chases: a parade of chicks besieging any parent returning from the sea, the youngsters chattering loudly of their hunger. The returning parent, bloated with krill, lurches as fast and far away as it can, hoping to winnow its own chick from the mob. Some feeding chases persist a thousand feet down the beach, a long way for birds with no ankles.

(Photos © Julia Whitty)
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