Here are some of the famous ones…
“For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can.” — Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book I
It can also be for song lyrics.
“So, we already wrecked the rental car.” — First line from The Decemberists, “Mistral.”
And the most famous…
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
My recently published memoir, October Song, starts like this: “It was late in the fading light of the first day of the long trip, somewhere on the Tri-State Expressway about forty miles southwest of Chicago.”
I’m working on a manuscript about the nature of home. A few tweaks remain. But I think I’m staying with the first sentence.
“My boyhood home was on a hill, a Cape Cod in Western Pennsylvania near a forest of wild cherry and locust trees.” — David W. Berner, The Consequence of Stars.
And what about you? Other writers? I asked.
“Anastasis Manoulakis loved cats.” — Phillip Duke, The Village.
“Dawn crept in like a ninja in feety pajamas.” — Dave Kurman, Pavlov’s Dog.
“Crap—she’s up, the living room lights are on at 2:30 a.m.” — Helen Donovan, You Never Know.
“For the record, I am completely against having ice picks shoved into my eyes in order to scramble my brain.” — Sue Rovens, In a Corner Darkly: Volume 2.
“You see her posters on telephone poles all over town.” — Alvarado O’Brien, The Missing Girl.
“Dan smiles at my wife again.” — Nigel Cooper, The Pursuit of Ordinary.
“I was getting used to being ignored.” — Bruce Wilkerson, A Glance at My Other.
“Lightning slashed across the storm-swept sky.” — Ashley Ledigo, Emajen (Children’s literature)
“I don’t quite know how to put this.” — Stuart Walton, Give Us This Day.
“My Australian girlfriend took a luscious lick of her ice-cream and said, ‘Why is that man wearing gloves on the hottest day of the year?’ — Peter Bartram, Murder in the Morning Edition.
“Tuck fought the growing urge to vomit.” — Danielle E. Shipley, The Legend of Allyn-a-Dale.
“There’s a graveyard visible from his window, and it grows a little bigger every day.” — Steve Conoboy, A Graveyard Visible.
“On the second Monday of September, Judy Talton put on the new jeans she’d run through three washing cycles and the fatigue jacket she’d found at the Salvation Army resale shop, went to the Student Union and, for the first time, took a seat on the Freak side of the Tune Room.” — Rita Dragonette, The Fourteenth of September.
“I’m not psychic.” — Steve Bellinger, Edge of Perception.
“I refuse to let my story end with an arranged marriage.” — Kim Schultz, Three Days in Damascus.
“He was running as fast as he could through the clearing towards the woods.” — Greg Kopp, The Journey of Delphos: Kopp Chronicles.
“I have come to learn that you mortals like to blame animals for your worst indiscretions as if human reason is the bridesmaid of infallibility.” — David Wozniak, An Obliquity.
“Pulliam folded back the sheet and set his bare feet on the hardwood floor.” — Floyd Sullivan, Called Out.
“Moods are the weather of the soul.” — James Hartley, Cold Fire, Shakespeare’s Moon Act II.
“The night sighed and Bethany felt the chilled touch of her dead mother’s hands on her shoulders.” — Dave Rank, A Godawful Thing.
“Pardesh, look: it’s a Humphrey Bogart.” — Bull Garlington, The African Queens.
“Mike and I were standing in front of the Music Box Theater on Southport Street in Chicago, looking at posters of the Dirty Dozen.” — Roger Prosise, Housing Projects, Mansions, and Schools: An Educator’s Odyssey.
“My Da’s uniform hangs in the closet, squeezed in between scratchy wool coats and my Ma’s ratty fur, but my Da went straight to the hospital after the Great War, and never came home.” — Bibi Belford, Crossing the Line.
Don’t you love these? Do you have favorites not mentioned here? Bring them on.