Today's first paragraph:
I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I've never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I've never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or solo walk. I've never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. And, if such things were to be, I'd live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially.
Two odd, exact admissions. The simple sentences start us rolling; we're set off with a push. (If it seems illogical that short sentences speed up a narrative, think of a steak cut into bite-sized pieces. Now think of trying to chew a steak whole. That semicolon before these parentheses shaved a millisecond off your life.) But then what's this about raising arms at the moon? And who calls a moon "beguiling"? The hands and moon slip past before you know it. Until hat and that the slant rhyme of moon and bathroom barely registers. Go back to make sure lines haven't been rhyming all along.
Two more clipped thoughts — technically one compound sentence with a stray period stuck in the middle to call out the clunky, mismatched pairing of car and night. We are being set up for a couplet straight out of Dr. Seuss, followed by another unrhymed pair.
So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. Hush, and you might hear the speaker's footsteps as she approaches the lip of the stage — if this is, in fact, the voice of a woman. (Baths, a sister, the beguiling moon — a hunch.) Gender this or gender that, brass and strings swoon in the orchestra pit. We're made to focus. But it's in the closing sentence that the author wholly commits: in case living a thousand lives and exponential love aren't high-pitched enough, they're delivered in a triple rhyme.
It could be Chick-Lit, it could be a fairy tale, it could be neither or both. The voice reminds me as much of Joni Mitchell as any author, not so much the words but her precision with each note: articulation, range. It could be a bestseller if the whole book is as carefully paced, blooming with detail.
On the other hand, there may be unicorns by chapter three, and can we safely rule out that a house pet is not telling the story? Because that would help explain the beguiling moon.
Am I out of my mind? Would the paragraph keep you reading? Come back Monday to find the author and title.
Wednesday (February 8th) brings another opening paragraph from a not-yet-published book.
Skip back to February 1st's paragraph.
Update: Read more about this book. And a change to the timetable — the next preview will go up (fingers crossed) Thursday afternoon.
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Books mentioned in this post
Dave is the author of Out of the Book, Volume 3: State by State