In the Beginning

I just finished a book called The Martian by Anthony Weir.  The book had a great first line that set the stage for the rest of the adventure. “I’m pretty much f**ked.”  Seriously, how else would an abandoned astronaut on Mars introduce their predicament?  I love first lines.  Each January, when my book club is selecting titles for the upcoming year, my friend Matty puts together a list of potential reads and always includes the first line.  I’m confident The Martian’s first line was at least partially responsible for its addition to our 2015 list  Other favorites include:

You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly – Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

All children, except one, grow up – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin – Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

I certainly do not claim to be half the writer of Weir, Twain, Barrie, Kafka, or Marquez.  I wish!  Unfortunately my fascination with opening lines, contributes to my writer’s block.  I place silly expectations on myself to have the perfect beginning.  Obviously this is ridiculous.  Sometimes a story needs to “gear up” and not every story is meant to be told.  Somethings simply need to be kept in my head.  Seriously.  Trey can attest that many of the things I say ought to just be kept to myself.  (example: My yearlong quest to learn if giraffes are capable of vomiting.  This quest was pre-google. *Update, giraffes, much like cows and horses are not only able to vomit but do so frequently as a part of general digestion.  The more you know…)  So, with the knowledge that I aspire for a perfect opener AND knowing that not every thought ought to be developed, I present a list of discarded first lines inspired by my last week:

1) “There is a toilet on my front porch.”

2) “Cookie Monster has a beautiful singing voice.”

3) “How much snot can a child ooze in an hour?”

4) “Denim panties are a violation of the dress code.”

5) “I do not want to share my art supplies if you have fecal matter on your hands.”

6) “Raccoons belong in the back seat.”

7) “There is irony in the timing of a diarrhea virus when there is a toilet on the front porch.”

8) “I do not want to find inspirational quotes printed on my tampon wrappers.”

9) “I need fewer heroes and more zombies.”

10) “Toilets are not for jumping.”


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