Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Opening Paragraph du Jour



Herein begins an informal occasional series. The opening paragraph of Anais Nin's Collages:

Vienna was the city of statues. They were as numerous as the people who walked the streets. They stood on the tips of the highest towers, lay down on stone tombs, sat on horseback, kneeled, prayed, fought animals and wars, danced, drank wine, and read books made of stone. They adorned cornices like the figureheads of old ships. They stood in the heart of fountains glistening with water as if they had just been born. They sat under trees in the parks summer and winter. Some wore costumes of other periods, and some no clothes at all. Men, women, children, kings, dwarfs, gargoyles, unicorns, lions, clowns, heroes, wise men, prophets, angels, saints and soldiers preserved for Vienna an illusion of eternity.

Isn't that charming? Note the lack of specificity, the suppression of commas outside the lists, the quick turns of invention, the way the author keeps it lucid and interesting throughout. She really did know what she was doing.


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