There are two kinds of sentences fascinating to the well-traveled visitor to world literature: the first sentences of books and the last sentences uttered on famous deathbeds. Every once in a while there are remarkable sentences to be found even within the pages of books, but they are much less frequent.
It comes as no surprise that these kinds of sentences cluster around those special occasions. Much thought goes into the first line, whole lifetimes go into the last. In between we often blabber. A good first sentence contains the seed for the whole story to follow. „In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.“ – The rest is implementation.
The last words uttered by great people constitute summaries of interesting lives, successful lives, lives well lived. If these sentences that become known to the public always correspond with the actual utterances is already of lesser interest. We, who remain living for a little while longer, look at those utterances as guidance. We need those great lives with their great final words.
„It is finished!“ (Jesus), „Does nobody understand?“ (Joyce), „Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.“ (Jobs) All valid instances that leave the reader pondering his own existence, his own accomplishments, his current direction. As writers and thinkers should we not try and put this much effort in each and every one of our sentences? Should that not be the prime objective of each sentence? To motivate, to inspire, to encourage?
And how can we go about creating such sentences? Do we need to resort to solitude in order to come upon true sentences? Or should we rather take to the masses, partake in conversations and discussions? What is your recipe for true sentences?