Wednesday March 25th, 2015

The exercise:

Let us revisit the Random Book Prompt, shall we?

If you've got a bookshelf handy, grab a book as randomly as you like and use its opening line as your own. Otherwise Amazon's Look Inside feature is willing to help you find a first sentence to borrow.

Either way, give credit where it is due and then take that first line wherever your imagination tells you to. Mine is from a book I'm about halfway through, which appears to be a reasonable thing to say until I point out that it was a Christmas gift. From 2013.

I have got to make more time to read books.

I began work on filing our taxes this morning. Ugh. So much information required, so many questions to answer. So much paperwork to sort through. Between Kat and I, so many jobs to report on.

I really ought to figure out a better system for next year.


Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art by Christopher Moore

This is a story about the color blue. I felt you should know that up front. Confusion can be a terrible thing, and I'd hate to find out one day that this tale was the source of it for some poor, dumb, clueless soul.

Not that it would have been you, dear reader, had I declined to join Team Clarity right from the start. Of course not! You have an obvious intelligence about you, what with the firm, confident grip with which you have taken hold of this book and the, dare I say, spark in your eyes. No hand holding required with this one, no sirree. I'm wasting precious ink on some other witless wonder.

Okay? Your ego all good now? Then allow me, if you will, to continue.

Blue can represent many things. It is the color of countless objects, from the sky above us (where else would it be?) to the water in our lakes, oceans, and seas. Jeans, shirts, coats, hats, even shoes, if your fashion taste is... different than mine. All can be dyed that lovely hue.

It's a lot of ground to cover, isn't it? Other authors might be intimidated by such a subject matter. Not I, though. Not I. For I know that this tale, like any other, must begin at a single point. From there momentum builds and obstacles are scaled, dashed across, leapt over, or smashed. So without further ado, I shall commence with one blue thing (well, a pair to be precise) and then we can all sally forth and see where this blue road takes us.

The first thing I noticed about Marie Anderson was the color of her eyes.


Greg said...

Read books instead of filling out your taxes? Ah better, persuade the taxman that reading books is your job and tax deductible! Or possibly, to bring everything you mentioned together: give your taxes to someone else to do as an early Christmas present while you read books :)
That's quite a monologue on blue, just to introduce a pair of blue eyes! Are you being inspired by the book in the way you're writing as well? I especially like the comments about Team Clarity and the list of things that are blue and that can be made blue. I can hear obsession raising its head already :) I suspect you're writing a fascinating book.
My book is another slightly odd one, but I think you might like it if you like chess puzzles, since these are very different to the ones you normally get!

The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes
"Suppose I told you that in the following position no pawn has ever reached the eighth square." The old man who had claimed he was Moriaty's grandson looked in my general direction and he waved a hand, but I already knew that both his eyes were glass and gave him no sight at all. I also knew that no fewer than five different espionage agencies had installed cameras in his eyes, and that only one of them knew about all five of them. "Would you believe me?"
"No," I said immediately. "That's a photograph of a hand of Bridge, played three evenings ago in the Vermiferous Club. Lady Palmerstone is Declarer as South, attempting a risky Five Diamonds. The woman sitting opposite her is her neice, Viscountess decHubby who married the Bitch of Naples two years ago. Her official title in that far-off place is therefore the Pawn of Court, and the bedrooms of that Court are all known as first Square, second Square and so on, up to the 151st Square, which bedroom is actually three miles away from the main buildings of the Court. The eighth Square is the honeymoon suite."
The old man nodded. "An impressive feat of deduction," he said. "I would applaud but arthritis burdens me daily. It is also completely wrong: the Pawn of Court has never been to the eighth Square."
I looked hard at him, but his glass eyes gave nothing away. "That would be very interesting news if provable," I said slowly. "Perhaps even... destabilising, in the wrong ears."
"And something some people might feel needed to be rectified rather than revealed," he replied.
I nodded, and then realised he couldn't see me. "Of course."
"So tell me," he said, sounding conversational again, "How did Lady Palmerstone make her contract?"
"An absolutely outrageous finesse of the eight of clubs," I said. "A trick that should never have made. I was there, I can replay the entire hand for you if you like...?"

Nikhil Nair said...

Life of Pi - by Yann Martel

My suffering leaves me sad and gloomy. Of course, you may now be thinking that I'm another one of those people who submerge themselves in their sorrows and pretend to be weathering a great storm, which is in actuality a mere trivial upset. I assure you, my moments of sadness are anything but trivial, nor do I make a bigger deal of them than they actually are. Especially the current one.
My pet has died. Every day, as I came back from school, ready to forget all that I'd learned in the past quarter of the day, Joey the hamster would be waiting for me, running on his little wheel or snoozing in a corner of his little box. I'd take him out and let him scamper around the room for awhile. He'd then be fed and put back, and I'd let him run around some more at night. This was a routine that had never been disturbed.
Joey helped my mind move away from being preoccupied with bleak thoughts of everyday life onto other things. Watching him run around on his little legs, I'd wonder about his life. It used to be my assumption that life as a hamster (or any other animal, really) would be horribly monotonous, being devoid of the capacity to think at all and never being able to open your mind to new horizons. Joey made me realize I was wrong, though. His endless squeaking, sniffing around and scurrying about made it apparent to me that he couldn't be any happier than he already was. In his case, ignorance certainly was bliss.
Today, however, there is no Joey to greet me. No one is using the little wheel anymore, and there is no familiar squeaking that makes me feel at ease. A sizeable chunk of my everyday routine now stays disrupted permanently.
It was my sister who had found him dead, or watched him die, rather. She said that he had jumped off his wheel while it was still spinning, which was quite unlike him. He then stood still for a while before falling limp onto his side. According to her, the beating of his heart and the movement of his wheel came to a standstill at the exact same second. I liked the way she put that, for it had a touch of grandeur to it.
Joey's departure, aside from giving me an odd, empty feeling, leaves me pondering over the inevitability of death and the possibility of an afterlife. Even now, in his absence, he hasn't failed to get me thinking. I suppose the only reason I'm penning this down is to pay a final tribute of sorts to my pet.
Goodbye, Joey.

Marc said...

Greg - perhaps if one day I become a full time writer I can claim the book reading as research?

I wouldn't mind continuing mine at some point, actually. I quite like the voice I have going on in this one.

I had to click that link. Now I kinda want to read it. Also: I could read more of this interplay between your two characters quite happily.

Nikhil - that's a wonderfully touching piece sparked by the opening line you chose. Some excellent details really bring this one to life - well done!