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Does The World Really Need Another Blog?


Allow me a bit of shameless self-promotion...


Dr. Mardy Grothe, a retired psychologist, lifelong bibliophile, and an ardent fan of great opening lines in world literature created a website to honor them. Titled "Great Opening Lines", it is the world's largest online database of literary history's greatest opening words, with 1972 current entries.

Here's a link to it: Great Opening Lines


You can search the website by author or title, and entries are sorted by genre: novels, short stories, non-fiction, memoirs, etc.  It's an easy place to get lost in for hours, wandering around, looking for your favorite authors, or simply sampling lines from people you've never heard of.


I was fortunate and honored to have the opening line of one of my short stories included on Dr. Grothe's wonderful website.  The story itself, "Syringe",  is availble here in the Works section, and following is the entry that Dr. Grothe wrote to introduce its opening line:



J. Patrick Henry "Syringe," in The Remembered Arts Journal (June 28, 2016)

     "Freda kept losing her husband."

     In five simple words, the goal of all great opening lines is achieved—the reader feels compelled to read on to see where the story is going. In the second paragraph, the narrator continued:


     "There were many times when she thought she'd lost him, but he would rally, surprising her and the other family members who, at the urging of his doctor, had joined her at bedside to say goodbye. Freda's emotions were whipsawed by these false alarms to the point where her heart became numb, and the man in the hospital bed, the man she'd met and married thirty-two years before, appeared as if a stranger."


     When I learned that the author was alive today because of a lung transplant in 2015, I believed his short story might have autobiographical elements. Henry confirmed my suspicions with this reply to my query:


     "The story is a small mystery that centers around a batch of composition notebooks that Freda's late husband used to communicate when on a hospital ventilator or tracheal tube. It was based loosely on my own experience—five months in hospital post-transplant. I still have the seven notebooks I filled during the weeks I couldn't speak."

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