Brevity is my nemesis.
I know this because after writing a 339-page novel, I am now embarking on writing a one-minute book trailer that has me blocked. After three days, I succumbed to trawling Youtube in search of great book trailers and have come up with the best, I am certain. I am completely and utterly awestruck by the absolute perfection of the first line of Kelly Corrigan's now famous book trailer, "The Middle Place". I am in awe of how this one line says everything and nothing. And the simplicity of it has taken my breath away. I am moved. I am inspired. I actually want to watch the trailer again and again. It is as satisfying as a good movie, but lasts two minutes. It says volumes with just a few carefully chosen images and a killer first line: "The thing you need to know about me is that I am George Corrigan's daughter."
What more do I want to know about her? Everything. Beautiful.
Is it her voice? the photos? the music? As my publication date looms, in this all-too self-confessed myopic era of my life, Corrigan's first line appeals to me for the sheer fact that she did not choose herself. This wonderful first line is not about the writer. Rather, it is about someone whom she loves, a person who is greater, grander, god-like. Someone who is honorable and rare. Someone who we can see from her photos is achingly wonderful, someone who might have propped us on his knee and gazed at us adoringly, who might have taught us to greet the world with a likable laugh, who might have made us feel smarter, more beautiful, more ourselves. Someone whom we only can wish we had known.
"The thing you need to know about me is..." has so inspired me that I am challenging myself to write it for myself. Right now, while the fire is still warm and the children are sleeping. I have a rare block of much-needed time to come up with a first line. While spreading the news of my book pushes me into the front-line and out of my comfort zone, I am heartened by the fact that this line should not be about me at all.
So, here I sit. Ever curious. A bit intimidated. A bit excited. Somewhat weary. My earnestness, always an anchor as I sink into my thoughts and the ebb and flow of my hard-won maternal wisdom. I've got my plate of buttered toast and my favorite neck-supporting pillow, things that will make the search just a little bit softer. I'm making my list. Wading through. White-knuckling. Waiting, with bated breath, for the right sentence to capture everything and nothing. The artist in me is inspired to create a montage of music, words and images for a book trailer. But the writer in me knows that finding this first line is my priority. Because when I find this line, I may just be ready to start my next book. When I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, the most important thing to know about me, I’ll have remembered how to write fearlessly and breathlessly every day, from a place of connection—to source, to truth, to purity of voice and intention. A place uninhabited, wholly uncluttered and undiscovered by this thrilling wonderful light at the end of the tunnel.