Meaning, Work Harder
Here's a bit of writerly contemplation to remind us that the world isn't ending. Whatever is ahead, good storytelling was-is-and-will-be forever a cementing part of the human race. Dickens himself lived through a few scourges.
However you feel about Charles Dickens stories, few will disagree that he was the master of first lines. Every one of these first lines can be seen as prescient. That's what great lines are.
“Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought.”
The Battle of Life
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
“Now, what I want is, Facts.”
Some are as short as it gets:
And some are preposterously long:
“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.”
Tale of Two Cities
But what Dickens taught storytellers is that first lines, like first impressions, matter. A lot.