The book is Word Paint: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan. According to the book:
“Like painters, writers are the receptors of sensations from the real world and the world of the imagination, and effective description demands we sharpen our instruments of perception.”
“Description is an attempt to present as directly as possible the qualities of a person, place, object or event. When we describe, we make impressions, attempting through language to represent reality. Description is, in effect, word painting.”
The speedboat couldn’t reach the island fast enough for Sophia. She stood at the bow, watching with impatience as the island slowly grew larger in the darkness. The wind whipped her dark auburn hair against her face but she didn’t notice the stings on her skin. She was focused on getting there, the upcoming conversation and getting back. She had very little time.
She had told her daughter she would only be gone for the weekend. She hated leaving her there alone with him. She didn’t know if she could trust him and prayed that she hadn’t put her daughter’s life at risk. But that was why she had to come.
She could have made a simple phone call, but she didn’t want just verbal answers. She wanted to feel the responses, to know the truth in them. And that could only be accomplished in person.
She could flash only about a hundred miles at a time, forcing her to the confines and time restrictions of an airplane, just like everyone else. It was frustratingly slow. Each one-way flight was fourteen hours. That didn’t leave her much time to get the information she needed to calm her fears…or to change their minds.
As the driver approached, Sophia could already feel the magic of the island. She felt her body automatically shedding the years of intense control, as if a second skin was falling off of her and slipping into the water. After so many years of being on guard, she could just let go and be herself. She had forgotten the exhilarating feeling. Too anxious to wait, she jumped from the slowing boat and easily cleared the ten feet to the dock.
Although she had such little time and she could have been at the door in the blink of an eye, she strode up the path to the mansion. It was a hurried walk for the average person, but slow enough for her that she could pull her thoughts together one more time.
She hadn’t been to the island since her daughter was just an infant. It hadn’t changed. The tall Cyprus trees lined the uphill path, leading to a walkway framed with stone arches, which had at one time intimidated her with their ancient history. She barely noticed them now. She focused on the primordial stone mansion that glowed white in the darkness, reflecting the moon’s light. She could see dim, flickering lights in the deep windows.
A familiar, lanky man opened the heavy, wood front door for her.
“Good evening, Ms. Sophia,” he said politely. “Ms. Katerina is expecting you.”
Of course she was. It was virtually impossible to surprise Rina, but at least, Sophia planned it so there was not enough time for Rina to call a counsel. As their matriarch, Rina was fully capable of providing the answers Sophia sought. And Sophia wanted straight answers, directly from Rina, not contrived ones from the council.
“Hello, my beloved,” said a soft, feminine voice. The stunning woman seemed to float down the massive stone stairs in a long, silver, satiny gown. Even in the immense, dark foyer, lit only by the flames in the wall sconces, her beauty was remarkable. The resemblance between Rina and Sophia was striking. The average human, with their average eyes, would believe them to be sisters, possibly twins. Sophia’s face was a little softer, though, the angles not as sharp. Although it had been eighteen years since they had seen each other, neither had changed.
Rina wrapped her arms around Sophia. “I have missed you so.”
“Hello, Mother.” Sophia stiffly returned the hug.