2020: The Year in First Lines

I’m grateful to Karen Heenan-Davies at the ‘Booker Talk’ blog for this meme.

The idea is to look back at the first post of each month on your blog, reproduce the first line from that post and reflect on what that tells you about the past year.

January

6 Jan 2020: Monday Memories – decisions and consequences #1

The first big decision I ever made on my own, without any influence or advice from parent, teacher or mentor, was also the one that set my course in life: the decision to ask my then girlfriend if she was willing to become my wife.

I had been posting ‘Monday Memories’ for about 15 months by the end of 2019 and had completed my life story. I decided to continue with some observations about key turning points and the decisions I made, beginning with this one made at the end of 1961.

February

4 Feb 2020: Monday Memories – decisions and consequences #5

I believe the decision to seek an income from retailing, taken in the wake of accepting voluntary severance from Courtaulds, was not in itself a bad one.

The analysis of life changing decisions continued with this post about a disasterous foray into the world of retailing in 1987/8.

March

4 March 2020: Monday Musings: an Irish Overstory.

Richard Powers’s Pullitzer prize winning novel “The Overstory” is about tree lovers who, as environmental activists, make enormous sacrifices in their efforts to thwart the activities of lumber companies they believe are destroying the natural forests of the North West seaboard of North America

‘Monday Memories’ having been wrung dry I began an occasional series of ‘Monday Musings’ with a piece on forestry development and the prevalence of Sitka spruce in plantations in Ireland and the UK. The opening sentence drew on my recent reading of Richard Powers’s masterpiece which had been a Christmas present from my son.

April

5 April 2020: A Weekend Walk in my Garden #1

Given that so many people are holed up in their homes, many without a garden to delight them, I thought I’d share some views of mine.

The first in a weekly series of virtual tours of my garden which continued throughout the summer and proved popular with followers.

May

4 May 2020: How to access the WordPress free photo library (reblog)

Here’s something I didn’t know about WordPress.

Whenever I come across interesting posts from other bloggers I share them with my followers. As you will see, as the year progressed original posts became fewer in number and reblogs became more frequent. So far I have not made use of the free photo library featured in this one.

June

7 June 2020: another weekend walk in the garden

I’m 24 hours late posting this ‘walk’.

Another post about my garden. I can’t recall why it was posted on Monday instead of Sunday that week.

July

3 July 2020: Before the beginning: do you really need a prologue?

That symbol over there on the right tells you I am a member of the Independent Authors Support and Discussion group

Another reblog. This one about the usefulness (or otherwise) of a prologue in fiction. It provoked a long (for this blog!) and interesting discussion.

August

2 Aug. 2020. 6 principles for writing historical fiction (reblog)

I’m grateful to Christopher Graham for sharing this article on The Story Reading Ape, to Andrew Noakes for writing it and to Jane Friedman for hosting.

Another reblog, but an interesting one, as Historical Fiction is my favourite genre, both as a reader and as a writer.

September

2 Sept. 2020. Sugar and Covid. (reblog)

Here is a warning from someone in a position of inside knowledge.

Reblogging again. This time on the prevalence, despite repeated warnings, of excess sugar in our diets.

October

3 Oct. 2020: Choosing the right word: Prescriptive vs Proscriptive

The word popped out at me towards the end of a passage in which are listed the characteristics of an ideal husband through the eyes of a drippy 25-year-old woman.

At last an original. This one prompted by what I beleived was the misuse of a word in a best selling novel. Desite the criticism here, when I was about 1/3 of the way into the book, I did find it a satisfying read in the end. The subject prompted another relatively long discussion in the comments and in the IASD facebook group.

November

21 Nov. 2020: Review of “The Memory” for Rosie Amber.

When I selected this book for review Rosie pointed out that it was a book that leans “heavily towards women’s fiction”.

It’s the date of this post that is the most revealing. The first post of the month and it’s already the 21st.! Nevertheless, it was another that prompted an interesting discussion, here and over on Rosie Amber’s review site. It was my first review for Rosie and I hope to continue to produce one a month for her in the future.

December

17 Dec. 2020: reblog of Guest post by Robbie Cheadle on Jane Ridson’s blog.

I first came across Robbie Cheadle when we both contributed to the first of Dan Alatorre’s horror anthologies.

Again, my first post of the month was more than two weeks into it. It was another reblog. Soon afterwards I became enthused by the need to discover more about the history of the small town in the Irish Midlands that has been my home for almost ten years now. My initial research into the subject led to an increase in the frequency of posts on the blog as the year’s end drew near. There have been two so far, one a long one. Another is in preparation and will appear here before the month, and the year, ends.

5 thoughts on “2020: The Year in First Lines

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