Wednesday 5 September 2012

Status Update; Opening Passage to Novel

My apologies for not being more diligent in my reviewing of books lately. I've been working my way through Beauvoir's The Second Sex for some time now, and am almost through it. It's an extremely good book, filled with Beauvoir's incredible prose style and her envy-inspiring ability to break an issue down to its most basic components.

In other news, one of my favorite things to do in my free time is write the opening paragraphs of novels. I recently wrote this one for a book set in Saint John, New Brunswick, which I've tentatively titled, "The Mourner." It opens something like this:

Some days, you’d gaze into the purgatorial fog enshrouding the crumbled mortar of uptown Saint John, and mumble to yourself, “I’m done.” You’d even fantasize about writing this phrase on a cardboard sign and plopping yourself down like a bum on the curb of King Street, just to see what sorts of reactions you’d get. You figured that a bunch of people would call you a quitter and yell for you to stop polluting the world with your lazy-ass bullshit. Others might take your message as a suicide note and tell you not to do it, whipping out every moral, intellectual, and theological argument they could to convince you that life was truly worth living. Some stoic dads would even raise their eyebrows and form a pursed-lip smile, then usher their kids along the sidewalk while muttering, “Alright then, Bud. Do what you gotta do.” All of these reactions you could expect with some level of certainty, but it was the outliers that really interested you. The responses you couldn’t anticipate. For example, some people might have thought you were some sort of genius performance artist. Or better yet, some eccentric billionaire might wander by, glance at your sign, and throw his hands into the air, exclaiming that he’d been waiting for decades to see someone express your brand of honesty. “Here,” he’d ejaculate. “Have a million dollars!” You, of course, always promised yourself that you wouldn’t say anything back, even if just such a man reached down and started shaking a fan of cash in your face. Not a chance. It would’ve ruined the whole thing. 

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