Opening Lines: The First 3 Paragraphs of The Chimes by Anna Smaill

I’ve been standing here forever. My arms and legs and head and even my bones are heavy with sleep. Clothes heavy with the rain that won’t stop falling. Shoes heavy with mud. My roughcloth bag is slung over my shoulder and it jostles against my leg as I shift from side to side to keep warm.  It’s heavy too, weighted with objectmemories. The ones I’ve decided to take.

Deep in the drilled-in mud of the fields behind me, our bulbs are wrapped in their brittle skins with their messages of color stored inside. Blue iris, yellow crocus, tulips of all colors. Daffs with the flowers in their papery bunches and their smell of pepper like the air as it is before Chimes.

Along the horizon, the fields are lines of gray that get darker as they reach the sky. I stare at them to make a picture I can take, but it’s only objectmemories you can trust in the end. And I’m carrying them in the bag already. You can’t force them to flower either. Like bulbs, they show their secrets in their own time.


Look at the repetition of “heavy.” And look both at the compound word “Objectmemories,” and the imagery of the flowers, which will recur. Then go get this book and read it. Right now.

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