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Old 01-27-2012   #41
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Re: Great Opening Lines

There are so many things which are impossible to explain! Why should certain chords in music make me think of the brown and golden tints of autumn foliage? Why should the Mass of Sainte Cécile send my thoughts wandering among caverns whose walls blaze with ragged masses of virgin silver? What was it in the roar and turmoil of Broadway at six o’clock that flashed before my eyes the picture of a still Breton forest where sunlight filtered through spring foliage and Sylvia bent, half curiously, half tenderly, over a small green lizard, murmuring, “To think that this also is a little ward of God!”

— Robert W. Chambers, “The Yellow Sign” (1895)
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Old 02-01-2012   #42
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Re: Great Opening Lines

"Sorcery and sanctity," said Ambrose, "these are the only realities. Each is an ecstasy, a withdrawal from the common life."

Cotgrave listened, interested. He had been brought by a friend to this mouldering house in a northern suburb, through an old garden to the room where Ambrose the recluse dozed and dreamed over his books.

-- Arthur Machen, "The White People" (1904)
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Old 03-14-2012   #43
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Re: Great Opening Lines

There are other realities beside and beyond our own, which is the only one we know, and therefore the only one we think exists.

A man staggers out of the howling recesses of some seedy dive into the uncertain gray of dawn.

His movements reveal the combination of bold daring and practiced confidence that mark a habitual drinker - the deadly serious parody of a clown.

His face is the crater field of some lost satellite.

His overstimulated senses are seething with impulses: the din of the tavern, philological disputes, pride, humiliation, love, quotations, dirty jokes, hate, loneliness, faith, purity, despair –

He doesn’t know his way home.

So he sleepwalks to the next intersection, where the tram tracks cross the street - two dully glistening snakes.

Keeping his head aloft as though he were blind, he taps and tests the ground with his cane, then he pokes it into one of the rail grooves, and lets himself be led as if tethered to a pole.

The tip of his cane sails through the groove, raising a bow wave of moldy leaves and trash, gravel, dirt and muck; his shoes splash through puddles, wrench his ankle on the uneven cobblestones, trip over track ties, churn through gravel, dig through dust. The fog slaps his face like wet cotton wool. Wind tears at the strands of hair that dangle onto his forehead from below the edge of his hat; dew settles on his lips, giving them a salty taste, and collects in tickling drops inside the two creases on either side of his mouth: his pulpy, oily cheeks do not absorb the moisture. He mumbles to himself, occasionally blurts something out loud, launches into a song, interrupts himself, laughs, goes silent, resumes his mumbling. His eyes are wide open and fixed unblinkingly ahead, like those of a blind man, like those of the gods.

In this manner he travels from one end of the city to the other.

The city lies somewhere in the godforsaken southeastern part of Europe and is named Czernopol.

-- Gregor von Rezzori: An Ermine in Czernopol (translated by Philip Boehm)
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Old 03-14-2012   #44
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Re: Great Opening Lines

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
George Orwell "1984"

For some reason this will always remain to me one of the most chilling opening lines of any book.
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Old 03-15-2012   #45
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Re: Great Opening Lines

The cabin-passenger wrote in his diary a parody of Descartes: 'I feel discomfort, therefore I am alive,' then sat pen in hand with no more to record.


--Graham Greene...A Burnt-Out Case



Incidentally, this book seems an attempt to dramatize anhedonia, if such a thing is possible...

Flash fiction story of mine: Pseudopod Pseudopod Bonus Flash: The Discussion Of Mimes

Flash fiction story of mine: Guardian Devils

Flash fiction story of mine
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Old 05-27-2012   #46
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Re: Great Opening Lines

This book is dedicated to the Ancient Ones, to the Lord of Abominations, Humwawa, whose face is a mass of entrails, whose breath is the stench of dung and the perfume of death, Dark Angel of all that is excreted and sours, Lord of Decay, Lord of the Future, who rides on a whispering south wind, to Pazuzu, Lord of Fevers and Plagues, Dark Angel of the Four Winds with rotting genitals from which he howls through sharpened teeth over stricken cities, to Kutulu, the Sleeping Serpent who cannot be summoned, to the Akhkharu, who suck the blood of men since they desire to become men, to the Lalussu, who haunt the places of men, to Gelal and Lilit, who invade the beds of men and whose children are born in secret places, to Addu, raiser of storms who can fill the night sky with brightness, to Malah, Lord of Courage and Bravery, to Zahgurim, whose number is twenty-three and who kills in an unnatural fashion, to Zahrim, a warrior among warriors, to Itzamna, Spirit of Early Mists and Showers, to Ix Chel, the Spider-Web-that-Catches-the-Dew-of-Morning, to Zuhuy Kak, Virgin Fire, to Ah Dziz, the Master of Cold, to Kak U Pacat, who works in fire, to Ix Tab, Goddess of Ropes and Snares, patroness of those who hang themselves, to Schmuun, the Silent One, twin brother of Ix Tab, to Xolotl the Unformed, Lord of Rebirth, to Aguchi, Master of Ejaculations, to Osiris and Amen in phallic form, to Hex Chun Chan, the Dangerous One, to Ah Pook, the Destroyer, to the Great Old One and the Star Beast, to Pan, God of Panic, to the nameless gods of dispersal and emptiness, to Hassan I Sabbah, Master of the Assassins.
To all the scribes and artists and practitioners of magic through whom these spirits have been manifested....
NOTHING IS TRUE. EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.

-- William S. Burroughs, Cities of the Red Night
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Old 05-27-2012   #47
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Re: Great Opening Lines

"Horror and fatality have been stalking abroad in all ages. Why then give a date to this story I have to tell?"

Edgar Allan Poe, Metzengerstein
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Old 10-08-2012   #48
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Re: Great Opening Lines

Nightscape of city in November: intermittent blotches of streetlight; a chilly thing, the wind slithering across the weeping faces of buildings; the silence.

Form is dulled and softened. Outlines are lost, silhouettes unsealed. Matter bleeds some vital essence upon the streets.

-- Roger Zelazny, "Is There a Demon Lover in the House?" Heavy Metal Magazine

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 10-08-2012   #49
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Re: Great Opening Lines

Something has happened to me: I can't doubt that any more. It came as an illness does, not like an ordinary certainty, not like anything obvious. It installed itself cunningly, little by little; I felt a little strange, a little awkward, and that was all. Once it was established, it didn't move any more, it lay low and I was able to persuade myself that there was nothing wrong with me, that it was a false alarm. And now it has started blossoming.

Jean-Paul Sartre "Nausea"
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Old 11-28-2012   #50
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Re: Great Opening Lines

God grant that the reader, emboldened and having become at present as fierce as what he is reading, find, without loss of bearings, his way, his wild and treacherous passage through the desolate swamps of these sombre, poison-soaked pages; for, unless he should bring to his reading a rigorous logic and a sustained mental effort at least as strong as his distrust, the lethal fumes of this book shall dissolve his soul as water does sugar.

--- Comte de Lautréamont: Maldoror.
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