Art Gallery of Ontario.
Again, someone has pointed out that an impressive number of entries in Nathan Bransford's First Paragraph Challenge/Contest are concerned with death.
I believe one of my (two) entries is guilty of that reference -- and the other (by use of the word "assassin") -- suggests it.
And a little puzzled.
Since death, whether inevitable or unnatural, passive or active, is one of mankind's fundamental fascinations and the fount of many fears.
A worthy entre, in other words.
Death, of course, is one of those subjects some people don't wish to read about or contemplate. The mere mention of mortality makes them uneasy.
So one could view the comment as an exercise in hem-withdrawal.
Or merely as mountain-top , head-shaking on back-sliding commentary about a perceived, unhealthy, societal obsession.
But I had to wonder, since this is a contest -- and some people are preternaturally competitive -- if the observer intended to delicately denigrate other entries by suggesting a consortium of cliches.
A gentle nudge, just in case the judges didn't notice.
Most likely, it was just an observation.
We are inclined to calculate, to sort by type, to assess by numbers. Writers, particularly, because of our need to be individual, to avoid the mundane. For our work to stand out from the slush.
And then I wonder if -- by using death, dying, murder or mayhem to open a story -- we are indeed lacking in literary subtlety and guilty of faux shock.
I suppose, as always, it depends on genre and on skill whether the charge should stand.
The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better-looking than most people.