Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Lines / matching game

I'm still in Colorado on a rainy day. I'll be going to the hospital, where my sister has been admitted once again, this time with pneumonia. Before I leave, I wanted to share a fun exercise we have been doing to pass the time. As most authors know, the first sentence of a book needs to grab the author's interest. For fun, my sister, who is also an author (Absaroka) and I decided to reread the first lines of some of our favorite books.

First lines should arouse curiosity. Here is how a few famous authors have done it. First I'll write the sentence and then the authors in random order to see if you can match the author to the line.

"I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up and throw Newt Hardbine's father over the Standard Oil sign."

"Novalee Nation, seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds overweight--and superstitious about sevens--shifted uncomfortably in the seat of the old Plymouth..."

"Happy families are all alike. Every unhappy family is unhappy in his own way."

"Buck did not read the newspapers or he would have known trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair from Puget Sound to San Diego."

"The first time Jude Allman died, he was eight years old."

"It wasn't as if he hadn't been warned. He got it straight with no beating around the mesquite."

Answers in random order:

Jack London

Barbara Kingsolver

Billie Letts

Leo Tolstoy

Louis L'Amour

T. L. Hines

If you'd like to e-mail me the answers, send to

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ups and downs; hope and despair--and hope again

I've been absorbed with concern for my sister who recently discovered she has lung cancer, with upheavals of test after test, and anxious waiting for results. After a surgery which turned out to be in vain, as the tumor was inoperable, my sister is faced with decisions while recovering in the hospital from the surgery. She will be released today and will start radiation treatments in about a week to ten days.

Joan is a trouper, in good health otherwise, and has a strong faith. I'm convinced she'll beat this monster that has been stealthily growing in her lung for a long time. She has a wonderful support system with a large family and a church group who think the world of her.

I will stay in Colorado to help her all I can while she continues to recover and to fight the cancer. I don't have daily access to the Internet here, but will post more information as I can.