This blog is ostensibly about books, music, and coffee, and it occurs to me I’ve never written about coffee. So here’s a recommendation.
I usually start my day with a cup of a strong Italian roast from Port City Brewers. But for my second cup of coffee, which I usually drink midday, I’ve come to like Alma de la Tierra, an organic coffee from Peet’s. It’s silky with a hint of citrus.
I have often heard writers say that you have written your lead you have in a sense written half of your story. Finding a good lead can require that much time, anyway–through trial and error. You can start almost anywhere. Several possibilities will occur to you. Which one are you going to choose? It is easier to say what not to choose. A lead should not be cheap, flashy, meretricious, blaring. After a tremendous fanfare of verbal trumpets, a mouse comes out of a hole blinking. . . .
The lead–like the title–should be a flashlight that shines down into the story.
In my writing group the other night, we had 15 minutes to write something beginning with this line from Auden: “About suffering they were never wrong.” Here’s what I came up with.
About suffering they were never wrong. They had scoped our pains with surveyor’s eye And spanned a compass o’er travails long That ran from dawn to lights that die. All humanity’s woes and cares Were catalogued as sundry snares. There’s grief, there’s woe, there’s dark despair, And lust and loss without compare. And when the survey was mapped out neat They took the chart and tacked it high And aiming darts did then compete To see which pains on souls should lie. Thus the Fates do now compete Leaving shears aside as dated, So when you suffer, sore, complete, Know your pain was struck, ill-fated.
(I can’t type this without wanted to revise it (e.g., do now contend), but that’s beyond the scope of a 15-minute exercise.)