It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the
age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch
of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of
Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of
hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before
us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to
Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short,
the period was so far like the present period, that some of
its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good
or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Faithful readers will remember that Michael Wade had been highlighting
opening paragraphs lately. It seemed fun, so I joined in. Suspecting he
favors Dickens, and not wanting to steal his thunder, I wrote and asked if
he had this one queued up. He wrote back:
That is probably the gold standard when it comes to
opening paragraphs. By all means, go ahead and use it.
I’ve got plenty of others in the pipeline.