Once in a while, you come across an exceptionally well-written piece of prose that stays with you long after reading. It’s hard to describe why, but for some reason it speaks to you. Today, Deanne and I were talking about short stories, and I mentioned that the opening paragraph of American writer O. Henry’s short story “The Green Door” is one of my all-time favorites:
“SUPPOSE YOU SHOULD be walking down Broadway after dinner, with ten minutes allotted to the consummation of your cigar while you are choosing between a diverting tragedy and something serious in the way of vaudeville. Suddenly a hand is laid upon your arm. You turn to look into the thrilling eyes of a beautiful woman, wonderful in diamonds and Russian sables. She thrusts hurriedly into your hand an extremely hot buttered roll, flashes out a tiny pair of scissors, snips off the second button of your overcoat, meaningly ejaculates the one word, “parallelogram!” and swiftly flies down a cross street, looking back fearfully over her shoulder.”
O. Henry*, The Green Door
I guess I love this because it is bursting with fantastic description, but also because it’s a tongue-in-cheek take on the fantastical nature of classic mysteries. Also, in context, it’s about the spirit of adventure, and recklessness is usually something I could do with more of.
I loved how many of you responded on this blog and on Facebook to my last post with your summer plans, so let me ask you this: Do you have any favorite clippings of prose (or poetry) to share?