The Beginning and The End


photo by D. Crickets

The most famous lines in literature are often books; first and last sentences. When strung together, they can tell a story all their own.

Hannah Ledrick, Staff Writer

Perhaps no part of story is more difficult to write than the end.  Or is it the beginning? Below,  I attempt to tell a story through numerous beginning and ending lines from famous works of literature and young adult fiction. The list of novels used in this piece appears at the bottom. 


It might seem strange to start a story with an ending. But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.  He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance. And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.

I wish you all a long and happy life.  I never saw any of them again — except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them. I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be.

This is not a full circle. It’s Life carrying on. It’s the next breath we all take. It’s the choice we make to get on with it. I took one more glance over my past life, then turned to the future. I was eager to embrace the world.

That was a memorable day for me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. So it goes. After all, tomorrow is another day. In the meantime, she would just live.

It is an autumn day, fine and clear and cool. Late afternoon, when the sun nears the horizon and turns the sky into a watercolor of pastels. It is beautiful, as though God is showing off.

The airplanes was getting ready to land. I looked out my window, down at the furry pine trees and gray, satiny water, and I felt glad to be home, even if there was uncertainty waiting for me there. The house stood on a slight rise at the edge of the village. For an instant, everything was bathed in radiance. I’m so glad to be at home again!

I ran. But now I must sleep.

Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through. Light falls through the window, falls onto me, into me. Moments. All gathering towards this one. He is coming, and I am here.

Oh my friend, my friend. There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it, you’ve got to stand it. We sat there for a long time, till the crowd around us thinned, till the sun shifted and the light changed. Till we felt our eyes could meet again, without the tears.

When they finally did dare it, at first with stolen glances then candid ones, they had to smile. They were uncommonly proud. For the first time they had done something out of Love. She opened the door wide and let him into her life again. Later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake.It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said. I’ve had enough trouble for a lifetime.It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. I carry a lot of scars. I like the way that sounds. I carry a lot of scars.

I was still getting over being dead, and let me tell you, that’s a comeback. I had never been on a road so dark and lonely. I am haunted by waters. But then I awake.

I see diamond flakes beginning to fall, land on a joyful, upturned face, drifting to settle in my beloved’s hair. I see poplar and spruce, solid and sure, covered in the softest, quietest white. The snow glitters like a sky filled with stars, like a galaxy on a planetarium ceiling.

But I don’t think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt. Freely we serve because we freely love, as in our will to love or not; in this we will stand or fall.

But that is the beginning of a new story – the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.

All that was left was love and wonder. An excellent year’s progress. In the end, that is enough. And what happier ending could there be than that? 

Are there any questions?



Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell


P.S. I Love You, Cecelia Ahern

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Rebecca Wells

Dracula, Bram Stoker

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

Wild Swans, Jung Chang

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx

March, Geraldine Brooks

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

The Beach, Alex Garland

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

Before I Die, Jenny Downham

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

Atonement, Ian McEwan

The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

Rusty Puppy, Joe Lansdale

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Hattie Big Sky, Kirby Larson

Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante

A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Norman McLean

The Trap, Melanie Raabe

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

One Day, David Nicholls

City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare

Where She Went, Gayle Forman

City of Tranquil Light, Bo Caldwell

Wild Roses, Deb Caletti

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

The Friend, Sigrid Nunez

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien