On the Cutting Room Floor – The Opener

Many writers say the first few lines of a book are the hardest to write. They sure were for me. Here’s my early attempt at the opening of my memoir, The Wrong Calamity. “She thought he was dazzled by her big, expressive eyes, not knowing it was the adoration on her face that pulled him in. He thought she was fascinated by his wisdom, not knowing she was concentrating on looking awed and wasn’t listening. They were kids, just nineteen, when they met on a blind date and straightaway eloped. She quit school to become a wife. He finished his studies and joined the navy. To his chagrin, the war ended before he’d made it past Texas, and his only war story was something dubious, about underwear.”

These are the opening lines of published book: “I was born in the whoosh of baby boomers at Lafayette, Indiana’s Saint Elizabeth’s hospital, where the wards were named with Bible references and the maternity ward was labeled Immaculate Conception. I was a preemie, weighing less than five pounds, and when a nurse introduced me to my father, he said, to her horror, “Last night I ate a chicken bigger than that.” Which do you prefer?

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