As part of The Somewhere Project at Carnegie Hall, there is a songwriting workshop that meets once a week. There are about 20 teenage songwriters working on on new material, most of it inspired or prompted by the famous song from West Side Story. We talk a lot about the craft of lyric writing and the art of poetry --- strong beats and weak beats and what brings an idea home to an audience. One thing we haven't talked about specifically yet is the power and function of the opening line. Maybe we will today.
Because last night I came upon this opening from one of our young writers:
The weather's changing,
I'm not the same.
You can see why I love it. Simple. Compact. It does what great opening lines are supposed to do. Makes you want more. Makes you curious about what the story will be. Draws you in. And immediately makes use of metaphor to reflect an inner state. Human beings are always changing, so what's this change about?
It makes me think of other great openings:
Hello darkness my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Who makes darkness their friend? And what will the conversation be?
Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
...to stay with our change of weather theme. Or, from the namesake of our project:
There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us
Do you have a favorite song opening?