Tag Archives: Writing

Great Last Lines in Literature

29 Jul

It’s the last thought… the door closing… the last lines in some of my favorite works of literature.

I think a great last line is strong enough to stand on its own, to provoke thought even without the support of the rest of the work. Of course, if you are already familiar with these works, the last line may bring back your own thoughts on these writings, the feeling you may have had as you turned the last page. The last line is the end of the author’s thoughts and the beginning of your own. It inspires the reader to meander with the prose, even after the story ends. 

  • The eyes and the faces all turned themselves toward me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  • Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye
  • He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • I shall never again think that all tramps are drunken scoundrels, nor expect a beggar to be grateful when I give him a penny, nor be surprised if men out of work lack energy, nor subscribe to the Salvation Army, nor pawn my clothes, nor refuse a handbill, nor enjoy a meal at a smart restaurant. That is a beginning. George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London
  • “Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
  • And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
  • Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity! Herman Melville, Bartleby, The Scrivener 
  • When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of joy that kills. Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour
  • Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. James Joyce, Araby
  • I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winter Dreams
  • He went on down the hill, toward the dark woods within which the liquid silver voices of the birds called unceasing–the rapid and urgent beating of the urgent and quiring heart of the late spring night. He did not look back. William Faulkner, Barn Burning 
  • She kept watching him even when she was through cutting the onions and she kept on watching until it was no longer possible for her to see him, because then he  was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings
  • They all watched me dance with my grandmother. I was my grandmother, dancing. Sherman Alexie, What You Pawn I Will Redeem
  • A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen. Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita. Vladamir Nabokov, Lolita
  • Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

The End

P.S. What’s your favorite last line?

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

I have 62 days.

24 Jul

I have 62 days. 62 days of summer. 62 days to my personal best.

Photo by Anthony Delgado

62 days until the beginning of Fall Semester.  Like elementary summers past, when I would lay out my new, shiny school shoes, brand new Jan Sport backpack and freshly sharpened pencils in preparation for the start of the new school year, this summer I’m going to refresh my metaphorical life supplies and be at my best by the first day of school. My 25-year-old definition of “at my best” is improved health, physical and mental fitness, and organization. I am not fat, not unhealthy, or any other extreme opposite that these goals may imply. I simply want to better myself.  These will be my focuses for the next 62 days.

I’m sure my definition of personal best will evolve as I age and change, but for now, these are the salient issues at hand. I’m not unique in my countdown to a personal milestone. I was first inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love along with the rest of the world, and then Gretchen Rubin’s pursuit of her personal best in The Happiness Project, and any number of weight loss and self-improvement shows on MTV, Bravo, etc. But the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back and inspired my personal spin on the docu-journey, the recently Freshly Pressed, Find Fabulous and her post Dirty Thirty: The List, where she outlines her pre-thirty bucket list of sorts. And so, along with many others, tomorrow I will embark on my journey to…me, but a freshly sharpened, shiny, new me.

According to Oliver Burkeman’s article, How long does it really take to change a habit?instead of the 21 days widely touted by self-help culture, it actually takes on average 66 days to change a habit. Though some might say 62 days is too short a time, the article explains that it really depends on the person. I say, I can! I have nearly the average amount of time recommended, but I make up for it with my enthusiasm. Where many have taken a slow stroll to change; mine will be more like a brisk jog.

Although I think of myself as fairly ambitious and moderately successful in achieving goals I set for myself, I’m focusing on these areas for a reason; they are particularly challenging for me, otherwise I would have already mastered them. That’s why I am enlisting the help of various experts in each area. Tara, is not only my boss, but a fitness and nutrition expert. She has had five kids and still has a better body than most 18-year-olds. She was the personal trainer for the mayor for crying out loud! I will be picking her brain for tips and accountability to aid me in my journey to better physical fitness, and of course sharing her secrets with you! I don’t like to bring numbers into this, because I just want to look better in my clothes and not be self-conscious in a bathing suit, but I think a ten pound weight loss is my goal.

My second expert is my best friend Shayla. Longtime vegetarian and self-taught health know-it-all, she knows things. I don’t know how she knows them or where she read them, but she’s like my own personal Google. I have texted her random questions with no expectation of an answer, only to find the pleasant surprise of a credible response and possible source link. During a recent tussle with my thyroid, I opened an email from her to find a journal article on the links between cruciferous vegetables and hypothyroid issues. Shayla will help me clean up my diet in a way that is sustainable for me.

My third expert is a fun one…it’s you! Yes, you reading this, you behind the keyboard. I can see you! No, I can’t; I’m just kidding. But, really, I will be reading, following, liking, absorbing, all the inspirational blogosphere content I can. I am determined to learn from my blogging peers and develop as a writer significantly by the time the 62 days are up. It was Kristen Lamb and her post, 5 Ways to Get Out of The Comfort Zone and Become A Stronger Writer, who initially inspired me in this area. I’m already an avid reader and academic writer, but before school starts, I want to flex my creative muscles a bit, become a more well-rounded writer and as Kristen says, soon I’ll be “typing with the big kids”. By the end of the 62 days, I’d like to have acquired 100 followers and maybe get a WordPress award under my belt.

Ok, so organizational skills is kind of a euphemism, for I’m disorganized. I always get the job done and I’m a really effective student and person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make a giant mess in the process. We’re talking coffee mugs everywhere, clean laundry in the dryer for a day and a half. It’s not that I’m lazy; I think that my time management and organization skills need a little improvement. I start too many projects, take on too many tasks, underestimate the time it will take me to finish something, and before I know it, I’m 10 minutes behind, the dryer’s still running, and I haven’t packed my lunch. My expert in this area is my lovely, domestic friend Desiree. She bakes, she cooks, her house is always spotless, even her fridge is perfectly organized. I’m not saying I want to morph into Betty Crocker in 62 days, but someday I’d like to be able to feed myself without driving to a restaurant and her tips on scheduling and time management will no doubt be invaluable. Plus, whenever I go to her house, she has snacks. Through her expertise, Desiree will help me create a system that keeps me organized and maybe teach me a thing or two in the kitchen.

So, please join me, inspire me, teach me. Tell me your personal best story below in the comments. I LOVE comments!

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

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