First sentences are doorways—entrances into written and spoken stories that either pull us in or push us away.
Are you aware of the entrances in your life and work and how they influence you?
I’ve been thinking a lot about entrances lately. How hard first sentences can be. How easy it is to miss opportunities that present themselves in the hubbub of my everyday life.
Films often offer a visual entrance, while songs offer them through sound.
Our homes, offices and third places have obvious physical entrances—doorways.
The entrance to a mountain trail is a trailhead or spur.
And we enter relationships through introductions.
An entrance is the way we enter another place (or space). It’s a passage, an opening, a gateway.
There is something enchanting about entrances. A good entrance can cast a spell over us. I love the ornate, historic gates in China.
In other cases, the extraordinary can be hidden behind the ordinary, like New York City’s secret restaurants. Or like the time my parents, grandparents, sisters and I were traveling through Wyoming and encountered the best restaurant of trip. It was hidden in the back of a gas station.
A lot of value is given to ideas in creative circles, but what about entrances? What about the passages we take from our everyday, physical world to our imaginary ones? And what about the laborious passages we make to bring those imaginative places into the physical world through books, paintings, performances and websites?
I love that the word entrance (noun) appears the same as entrance (verb). Even though they’re not etymologically related, they share the same physical identity on the written page.
A good entrance can entrance us.
And like doorways, entrances to the creative can be enchanting when encountered, or they can be hidden for only those of us open to entering.
As you go through your day today, or even your week, think about the role entrances play in your everyday and creative lives. Not just the ones you physically walk through, but the ones you choose to enter—like a good story or relationship.
Do the entrances in my life and work entrance? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself.
I’m thinking they should.
From May 2012 to July 2013, I wrote a weekly series of intimate essays for writers and artists seeking a deeper connection with their identity and place as modern creatives. I called this series Root Notes. This was an essay in that series. It was originally published on June 23, 2013.