For the next few months I will be sharing bits of my works-in-progress. This month I’m featuring “The Boxes in the Closet”, a memoir of my parents’ love story set during World War II. The book has four “voices” – first person in my voice in the Introduction and Epilog; a narrative written in third-person; first person in the voice of my father Armond; and first person in the voice of my mother Lois. The “bits” I’m sharing are all opening paragraphs of chapters or sub-heads in chapters.
This is because I want reader feedback. Opening paragraphs are always the most important. Without a good opening, many people won’t read the rest. That’s the question I’d like answered – would you read on?
Here are Chapter Three’s opening paragraph and first paragraph of a first person narrative:
Chapter Three: Caskets to Roads
In 1937 Armond was 19 and in common with many adults as well as teens, could not find steady work. Although he had gone back to school for a short time after returning from his railroad adventure, he quit a year before graduation in order to go to work to help support his family. The only job he could find was as a janitor and apprentice carpenter in a casket factory. He didn’t like the work, but he figured a casket factory was safer than other jobs – after all, just as many people were dying during the Depression as they had before.
Armond: The Ditch Digger Poet
I didn’t like leaving home and my mother, even though I was almost 21. That sounds like I was a mama’s boy, and it is true that I loved my mother, but the reason I didn’t want to leave her was because she took care of everyone, but no one took care of her. I had tried my best. Now it seemed like the best I could do was leave. The CCCs paid $30 a month, and $25 of that would be automatically sent to her. Twenty-five dollars bought a lot of groceries. The thought of that $25 made me feel good, like I was at last helping put food on Mother’s table, even if I would not be there to help with all her other chores.
Thank you for reading. I’d love to know if you want to read on.