Archive for March, 2012

It Does All Mean Something!

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Gotta love anything with Sean Bean in it.

I was once in a play (Reckless by Craig Lucas) where the main character struggles with whether “things happen for a reason”.  She finally comes around to the decision that they do, despite grappling with such vagaries as her husband taking a contract out on her life for being too perky.  Despite playing this character, I have my doubts.  I along with many others suspect that life consists of a lot of random shit, rendering it not pointless but perhaps meaningless.  This, I think, is part of the reason why books (and TV series) like Game of Thrones are such hits (apart from the scantily clad women and the valiant men who are true to their word).  Sure bad things happen to good and innocent people, but when they do, a crow pecks out a third eye (figuratively) and you know the precipitous fall was not all for nought (even if you don’t find out why until books later).  We can take comfort in that.

Famous Last Words

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

One never hears about impressing publishers with a real zinger of a closing sentence.  I suppose the rationale is that if the publisher has read that far, you’ve got them.  But I imagine there is the odd publisher who is only skim reading (yes, I’ve heard this actually happens) and so may be won over by your closing words.  And aside from publishers, what you finish with can make the book.  Imagine the Great Gatsby without its closing paragraph?  I would argue that that paragraph makes a good book truly exceptional.  But, nonetheless, closing lines don’t tend to have the opening sentence’s mystique.  This, I think, is because they are inevitably out of context, while an opening line can stand on its own having had nothing come before it.  Take the closing line of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: “Yes,” I said, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”  Pretty meaningless on its own, pretty devastating in the book.  Still, there are some wonderful last lines that don’t need a preamble, for example Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities (which also has a fantastic opening sentence): “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”  And I continue to have a soft spot for the last words in The Catcher in the Rye: “Don’t ever tell anybody anything.  If you do, you start missing everybody.”