First Five Fragments for Friday: First Lines

Your weekly offering of writing/art prompts.

And now for something completely different – first lines from published work that might intrigue you. I’ve put the citations below, separate from the first lines, so you can come to them without knowing anything more, if you like. In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to write the narrative that erupts for you (or sketch the picture that comes to mind) and then go see where the first line you used came from.


1. Not everyone goes to poetry readings to find love.

2. My mother, Jasmine, woke up this morning to find the word D-I-V-O-R-C-E written in mirror writing on her forehead with a big black felt pen.

3. After I had been admitted to Klepp, the psychiatric hospital which stands like a gigantic palace by the sea, I recalled the time when I, as a little boy, stood one grey, foggy day in the bumpy street, watching the houses and the puddles.

4. He was not to do anything in bad taste, the woman of the inn warned old Eguchi.

5. When Chava Colon from the Prison Coalition asks me one January day in 1982 to become a pen pal to a death-row inmate, I say, Sure.

As always, happy Friday.

My current desktop and nod to both Andy Warhol and my own dachshund, Truffles…..just because.


1. hooks, bell. Wounds of Passion: a writing life. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997.
2. Coupland, Douglas. Shampoo Planet. New York: Pocket Books, 1992.
3. Gudmundsson, Einar Mar. Angels of the Universe. London: Mare’s Nest Publishing. 1995.
4. Kawabata, Yasunari. “House of the Sleeping Beauties.” House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1969.
5. Prejean, Helen. C.S.J. Dean Man Walking. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.




  1. “Not everyone goes to poetry readings to find love.” Heh. This stirs up all kinds of snide replies, which I won't bore you with. First lines are fun. I see why they want you to start off novels with something hooky.
    Love the psychedelic dachshund!


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