All in First Lines

First Lines, 06/03/14

First lines of the novel that I was too busy to write today, because I was busy writing:

"As sun set on the mountaintop, the hermit suddenly wondered — almost aloud — if he was crazy. It was not an epiphany, not in any spiritual sense. It started like an ache, like a pebble in one's shoe. Twilight faded, and his mind capsized, sinking into an icy sea of panic.

All night he sat in the moonlight shadows of a sycamore…”

First Lines, 05/04/14

First lines of the novel I shamefully failed to write today:

"He awoke, feeling like Lazarus, back from the dead, as though he'd spent the evening dancing across the River Styx, and somehow survived--the protagonist of a postmodern novel, impossible to retell.

She lay beside him, still, sleeping in the morning light, smelling of used gin and cigar ash. The distance between them could not be bound by their king-sized bed. The world outside their apartment window was abuzz with the throbbing thrum of sirens…”

First Lines, 03/09/14

First lines of the novel I won't write today:

"It's me or YOU,' she said, holding two guns. With her right hand, she pressed the heavy barrel of one to her temple. In her left hand, her finger squeezed against the trigger of a .44 aimed at his chest.

The burst of epinephrine and dopamine that human physiology prescribes for moments like these somehow failed him…”

First Lines, 01/16/14

First lines of the novel I won't write today:

"It was 7 a.m. on a Saturday in July when he dropped off his key. The Mississippi Delta was already hot; his tee-shirt clung to his back as he stepped out of the pickup and made his way up the dusty driveway to the front porch…”

First Lines, 01/15/14

First lines of the novel I'll have no time to write today:

"They discovered their love for each other in the ripeness of Autumn. That's what García Márquez called it — that unexpected moment when an ordinary tree blossoms and bears an exotic new fruit…”

First Lines, 11/29/13

First lines of the novel I had no time to write today:

"In that bitter moment, she realized that she was no longer 'his,' as she'd long perceived. Instead, he was HERS. Her responsibility. Her problem. And her burden to bear, through this life — and possibly the next…”

First Lines, 10/24/13

First lines of the novel I won't be writing today:

"'WHO IS YOUR CO-PILOT?!?' the controller's voice crackled across the radio. The black box recorded it all. There was more radio silence, except for the rapid beeping that confirmed that the plane had rolled dangerously starboard. Capt. Rogers — Ahab, his buddies called him — was dead, and the cockpit was empty…”

First Lines, 10/13/13

First lines of the novel I won't be writing today:

"He was a widower. A widower... That word — three empty syllables, three pennies tossed into a well — never attached to him, as a self-identifier. Widower, like a used band-aid. He struggled against it, like man versus crocodile. Widower.

Since the accident, he'd heard that word three times…”

First Lines, 10/11/13

First lines of the novel I won't be writing today:

"'I don't like telling stories,' the old man muttered. 'I have no use for them.'

He reached for his coffee, and his eyes fixed on a photograph hanging on a distant wall, taking on a ghost-town vacancy. After a moment, he mumbled this non-sequitur: 'They can't kill a memory. Only time can do that.'…”

First Lines, 10/10/13

First lines of the novel I won't be writing today:

"He woke up with a migraine. Through razorblade eyes, he was nearly certain that the clock screamed 4:15. This had become his unwelcome routine; every morning, a little earlier. 

Today was the 3-month anniversary of her death, a detail he wouldn't come to notice until he reached for her across their empty bed…”

First Lines, 10/07/13

First lines of the novel I won't be writing today:

"I should have recognized that smell, but I didn't. It took seeing the doctor's white lab coat before I started putting it together. A small smear of still-red blood, just above his waistline, brought an instant twinge of pain to the large incision at the base of my skull…”

First lines of the novel I won't be writing today:

"My schedule is rigid, inflexible. Everything I do is done with careful deliberation. My friends have retreated, one by one, and the doctors say my kidneys are shutting down. Opportunity has never darkened my doorway, and I don't have many days left."