Smith Henderson Quotes
“wyoming forever. You could wyom all day and not make any progress. To wyom was to go from nowhere to nowhere. Through nowhere. To see nothing. To do nothing but sit. You turn on the radio and wyom through the dial slowly, carefully in search of a sliver of civilization only to find a man talking about the price of stock animals and feed. You listen to a dour preacher wyoming about your bored and dying and wyoming soul.”
“Pete slept too, his chin resting on his chest. He dreamed as well. A diamond turned on his forehead. A tree. He was a landscape. He was covered with trees. He was the Yaak. He was Glacier. He was all the tremendous valleys of western Montana, cloud shadows grazing over him. Storm fronts broke against his nose. He was sparsely populated. He was a city. He teemed with highways and lights. He dreamed he had a sister, a beautiful girl, and in the dream he reasoned out that the girl was Rachel and what he was actually dreaming was a spirit inside of his, a sibling she’d never had, a son. He dreamed that we all contain so many masses and that people are simply potentialities, instances, cases. That all of life can be understood as casework. That DFS was a kind of priesthood.”
“There was a time with his wife on this river or a river just like it, it can't be this river, but in his memory it is this one. A time on a wash just like this where he lay shirtless with her shivering in the August night, jeans pasted dark and wet to his knocking legs, his torso white to glowing in the moonlight. Her hair tendriled and framed about her face like an outlandish black tattoo. Her wet dress like a sleeve of molting skin, which of a sort it had been that whole night in their dancing. Her heart in its red and white cage knocking just inches from his own, like two young prisoners tapping out simpleton Morse I am here I am here I am here. Here I am for your pleasure for you forever. On a river like this where he impregnated her. A river promise too, he said I love you I love you. Seventeen years old. A pleasure so total that even then he knew he had mortgaged years to her and he did not care.”
“How trout looked in that water, brown and wavering and glinting all the colors there were and maybe some that didn’t really exist on the color wheel, a color, say, that was moss and brown-spotted like peppercorns and a single terra-cotta-colored stone and a flash of sunlight all at once. That color existed in the water here.”
“Charles Snow had been as spiritually curious as a fence post, and Pete doubted that his father had ever changed in any meaningful way, even after Pete’s mother died. But there was an aptness to his late conversion, as though he always knew that at the end of his life he’d have to do something to avoid going to hell.”
“did I do that?” She reached over and took two cigarettes from the pack and lit one for him and handed it to him and then one for herself. She got out of the bed and walked naked into the hall and returned with a bottle. He felt the force of this uncanny tableau. As though they had no child. As though this were a different version of things. He took a small comfort that somewhere such an iteration as this one existed, where Rachel had never been born and the only damage he and Beth did was to each other. “I was already gone,” Pete said.”
- Born: Montana, The United States.
- Description: Smith Henderson is the recipient of the 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award in fiction. He was a Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University, a Pushcart Prize winner, and a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in Montana, he now lives in Portland, Oregon.Fourth of July Creek is his first novel.