Monday, October 06, 2008

Words That Endure

I was organizing some picture albums when I came across pictures taken in Jordan. I was there with a number of other physicians to teach local physicians, and during the trip Cynthia and I joined a group that traveled to the ancient city of Petra. As I saw the first picture, these words jumped into my mind: "A rose-red city - half as old as time." That line has stayed in my mind for over ten years. A bit of research tells me that it was penned by John William Burgon while he was in college, as part of a poem that won the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1845. Burgon went on to become a clergyman and faded into obscurity, but his words will probably be quoted for decades more.

Have you written anything that you think might grab your reader and hang in their minds? I guess the best writing I've done along those lines was a description of my hero, a failed baseball player who's now a doctor, finishing a boring case. He's stitching up the skin when he begins to feel guilty about letting his mind wander. "Any guilt that Ben felt quickly passed. He’d always thought that closing an incision was sort of like driving through Kansas: boring, monotonous, and you could do it in your sleep."

Let me know your nominations for the best lines that are likely to hang in the reader's heads.

6 comments:

Nicole said...

One could only hope . . .

". . . Fear keeps us from taking the risks that faith produces. . . . " (Romantic confrontation)

from my third novel Sweet Release (unpublished).

Timothy Fish said...

Geoff is in a run down house hoping to find his wife. In a filthy room that smells of urine, Geoff sees the body of his wife. The only way he can recognize her is by a scar on her foot.

Geoff looked at Dan. Geoff looked at the scar. Geoff loved that scar. It was all he had left of the Heather he had known. She had lost everything else, but it was enough. This was the woman he loved. -- from For the Love of a Devil, scheduled for release October 2008

RumorsOfGlory said...

Hi Richard,
I found your blog today, even though I've seen your name a lot on Rachelle's blog.

I love your writing so I'm adding your blog to my Google reader. Haven't been to Jordan, but I've been to Israel twice. Not sure I have a favorite sentence, but I think the blog post I'm most proud of is the one about forgiveness called "Set Free"
http://rumorsofglory.net/blog/?p=106

Deb said...

Favorite line (so far):

“This is a church.” She didn’t spit the word, not quite.
Pastor Matt feigned shock, scanning the big two-story sanctuary, the attached classroom and office wing, the day care center’s fenced play area. “You know, you’re right. Now when did they put this up? There was a perfectly good diner here a few years ago.”

(From ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, released 2006)

Deb said...

Favorite line (so far):

“This is a church.” She didn’t spit the word, not quite.
Pastor Matt feigned shock, scanning the big two-story sanctuary, the attached classroom and office wing, the day care center’s fenced play area. “You know, you’re right. Now when did they put this up? There was a perfectly good diner here a few years ago.”

(From ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, released 2006)

Nicole said...

One could only hope . . .

". . . Fear keeps us from taking the risks that faith produces. . . . " (Romantic confrontation)

from my third novel Sweet Release (unpublished).