A Year in First Lines

I’ve done one version of it in previous years (listing the first line of each month on my blog), but I’ve seen a number of bloggers like Annabel Gaskell and Eleanor Franzen do a different version of it: first lines of books that they read each month. So I will attempt a combination of the two, with the aim of recreating something akin to found poetry and giving a snapshot of my year.


By this year, the year ’45, the Germans had already lost command of the air-space over our little town. Scorching heat of a midsummer Sunday in Obor market…
The young woman runs burning along the side of the marketplace… I’ve stupidly invited the outside world in. Repeat after me: summertime, and the living is easy… And, if it is not, we like to pretend it is.

Jim closed the blinds, unplugged the telephone and put the tape in. Today’s programme is all about stomach ulcers… Aardvark primogeniture, he exudes all the confidence, but I avoid his eyes. My whole life seems to consist of being really happy in some wonderful places – and then having to tear myself away from them. GPS tells me it’s eleven minutes. I don’t think that’s right, it’s too short.

Last night I dreamt that I met up with an old friend of mine at her new house on the lake. Doorways into secret gardens bring the promise of forbidden delights. This had been a happy home once. The radiant afternoon sunlight of early September was so brilliant that it still seemed like summer. There’s no swell to speak of, just little lapping waves. The voice was quiet, smiling, ‘Is that Miss Clarvoe?’

Tomorrow I will sit demurely. Tomorrow is absolutely fine.

From The Secret Garden of Heligan

For a year which started with a lot of pain, anxiety and rejection, it has ended very well. I really like my full-time job and am doing the things I love in my spare time (reading, writing – in drabbles, reviewing for Crime Fiction Lover, promoting literature in translation for Asymptote Journal). My boys are becoming more independent, kinder and wiser every day, while my cat is ever more gentle and cuddly. And I am laughing, joking, feeling younger and freer every single day!

While the money worries have not been resolved, we still have a roof over our heads and can afford to heat the house. (I have been taking Christmas packages to those less fortunate in the area, and believe me, it’s not a small thing at all to be sheltered and warm). My income may be less than during my freelance life, but at least it’s regular (plus, the novelty of paid holidays has not worn off yet!)

Camus by Cecil Beaton

Au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été. (Camus)

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

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12 thoughts on “A Year in First Lines”

  1. I’m so glad your year is ending better than it began, Marina Sofia. That, in itself, is a very good thing. So is the balance that comes from being aware of what we have; I try to remind myself of that, too, especially on THOSE DAYS. I love your year in first lines. There’s something about the rhythm of it that works…

  2. A terrific post, am so pleased there are green shoots for you Marina Sofia -and a marvellous imaginative illustration of that in the Lost Gardens of Heligan – what a wonderful, shivery beautiful image!

  3. So glad your year ended on a better note. Here’s to 2018!

    (I’m desperately trying to think what book’s first line could possibly have included “Aardvark primogeniture”… 😉 )

  4. Great post and a lovely note to end on. In some ways it sounds similar to how I ended 2016, and 2017 has seen me really benefit from much less stress. It’s an ongoing process but I hope 2018 brings you much joy!

  5. Such a seminal year for you, MarinaSofia; and an ending that’s full of promise. A bright beginning in fact 🙂 Happy New Year to you; I’m looking forward to following along in 2018!

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