A writing exercise. I suspect that I was putting all my creative energy into writing Dancing With Bears, and so scribbled down short outbursts of Anything Else.
Here's what it says:
Open: In a land mine field
Open: In a birth control clinic
Open: In the President's bedroom
Open: On Europa
Open: Seventeen hours into your shift as an intern
Open: On Sixth Avenue, carrying a Shakespeare second folio
Open: On a chicken ranch, weeping
Open: Two feet off the side of a major bridge
Open: In a war zone
Open: In a high school
Open: In the Recursive Postmodern School of Ironic Self-Metaphor
You can see me sweating to come up with these, and you can see the point where I got sick of the whole thing and tied it off at the end. But I think it would be a pretty good exercise for a new writer: List eleven varied places or situations to open a story with. Then write a one-page opening for each. I'm sure that if I tried it myself, I'd find a live story before I reached the end of the list.