John Cheever was born on this day in 1912.
Well, if you’re trying as a storyteller to establish some rapport with your reader, you don’t open by telling him that you have a headache and indigestion and that you picked up a gravelly rash at Jones Beach. One of the reasons is that advertising in magazines is much more common today than it was twenty to thirty years ago. In publishing in a magazine you are competing against girdle advertisements, travel advertisements, nakedness, cartoons, even poetry. The competition almost makes it hopeless. There’s a stock beginning that I’ve always had in mind. Someone is coming back from a year in Italy on a Fulbright Scholarship. His trunk is opened in customs, and instead of his clothing and souvenirs, they find the mutilated body of an Italian seaman, everything there but the head. Another opening sentence I often think of is, “The first day I robbed Tiffany’s it was raining.”