I seek a memorable, lasting, first impression -- one that will drag readers back to this blog week after week, putting pressure as it were on their very cerebral cortexes to ascertain what nuggets of truth, fancy, or downright stupidity await them.
Therefore, I invoke the muse of the enlightened first sentence -- a literary technique known to many but perfected by only a handful of the most deliriously talented writers.
Witness, for example, Camus: "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know." (OK, you purists, I agree that's two sentences. But you get the idea.) Or Karl Marx: "A spectre is haunting Europe -- the spectre of Communism." Powerful, regardless of its veracity or lack thereof.
Everybody knows "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." But did you know that these are only the first 12 words of an introductory sentence containing 119 words and 17 commas?
No compendium of famous first lines would be complete without this: "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." Inspired!
The following, no doubt, is less well known: "The history of modern civilization is essentially the story of the never-ending attempt to conceive a form of government that approaches perfection despite the imperfections of the people who create it." One colossal gold star to anyone who correctly identifies the source. (Answer in next week's entry.)
Herewith, my all-time favorite: "Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains." (Purists, you win again. Rousseau precedes this line with a three paragraph introduction to Book I of "The Social Contract.")
I invite readers to submit their favorite "first lines" and test this author and their fellow readers. Let's have some fun!