Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Mar 2019’s Great Opening Lines)

An ever increasing sense of confinement starting with the first line

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

“There was not an inch of room for Lottie and Kezia in the buggy.” – Katherine Mansfield’s Prelude in The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield (Wordsworth Classics)
This line is so elegant and simple it’s deceptive. It’s “not an inch of room for”, not “no room for”. “no room for” would be pedestrian, boring and unimaginative. “not an inch of room for” gives us a hint of character, mood, and atmosphere. We are shown the narrator’s attitude towards the environment the moment we start reading.
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The Chatter After Lights Out

New Life, Old Magic

It’s Spring again. Another 365.something day tour around our own little star. Isn’t it grand? Do you take for granted your travels on Spaceship Earth? Our home isn’t stuck on some foundation with a permanent address that can be viewed on Google Maps.

No, far from it. We’re traveling. We are travelers without knowing from whence we came or where we go.

The Old Ones know this. They take nothing for granted.

Except cookies and peanuts.

From yours truly.

Opie and Opette come to dine nightly, as does Vincenzi the Fox. Gladys and her crowd come by during the day.

Most recently we’ve been guested by Verne, one of Hecate’s kits. There are two others who also come by and say hello, although usually after we’ve shut off the lights and are in bed. We hear them talking; “Pass the peanuts?” and “Is that fresh water?” and “Any more cookies?”

And we’ll see them and other Old Ones through the year and through the years. All of them come to us. We’re a house of magic. So they tell us.

We believe. Old Ones don’t lie.

Say hello to Verne, all.

Three Poems

Spiders, Cats, and Mice

Poetry is not a form I go to readily. Even so, my poetry’s won awards. Here are three I particularly like. Hope you enjoy.

Do Your Daughters Sing?

She hears her daughters
(who may some day eat her sons)
Sing
Eight-legged wonders
in a shroud of silk
Warmed by day
Cooled by night
They burst free
Fleeing her mischief
Spinning their own way
to distant eaves
Not even knowing her name


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What if Today is The Day You Make Oceans?

Make oceans form.

 
A favorite anecdote of mine is this:

A friend’s daughter is a concert oboist. No one else in the family ever demonstrated any penchant for music. One day he asked her what caused her to pursue music with such determination.

She said that when she was a child – she thought maybe three or four years old – the family went on a trip and met a friend of her father’s in a restaurant. She remembers that she was fidgeting because her mother kept telling her to sit still while her father and his friend talked.

This friend asked the waitress for an extra straw. He took out a pocketknife and made a few cuts in it, then put it to his lips and started playing music with it like it was a flute.

Real music. Tunes you could recognize.

He then gave her the straw and said, “Here you go. Play me some music so I can go to sleep when I get back to my hotel.”

She said she didn’t remember who the friend was but did remember that his ability to take a common soda straw and turn it into a musical instrument was magic to her. True magic and she never forgot it.

It’s also what caused her to pursue music the way she did, because she wanted to give others that kind of magic.

That friend was me. I’d been making musical instruments out of straws since I was a bored kid in a restaurant and had to ask my dad to borrow his pocketknife.

But what her story taught me is that we can never know how much the slightest act of kindness – or cruelty – will affect another’s life.

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One Hen, Two Chucks

It’s tough being an ignored Young Turk(ey)

Okay, so they’re names are really Bert and Larry.

Remember Gladys? Remember my she was an advance scout? Or maybe she just got tired of all the gobbling?

Not quite accurate.

She got tired of all the testosterone.

There was Gladys, merrily prancing through our yard, munching and mensching with the other Old Ones, then voobah, Bert and Larry show up.

She ignores them.

You should see the look on their faces when she does. There they are, strutting their stuff for all to see, and she’s all “Yeah, sure, whatever.”

I’m so glad I’ve found the love of my life. No more courting. No more prancing. No more fluffing, strutting, whatever.

As a joke, I strutted for a neighbor, Debbie. We sometimes walk our dogs together in the morning. She mentioned seeing two Toms in our backyard and I did a good 100ft riff on Turkey machismo. Debbie laughed so hard she almost dropped the leash.

So much for me strutting, huh?

Say hello to Bert and Larry, folks.