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  • Writer's pictureJulie Quiroz

Opening Lines

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

"Let me sing to you now,
about how people turn into other things."

- Opening line of The Overstory

by Richard Powers

Ever since my first book love (One Hundred Years of Solitude) when I was 18, I've chosen books by the magic of their opening words. There's too many to remember - long ago books like Sula and The House on Mango Street, and newer fiction like A Tale for the Time Being and Homegoing - but each of these books called me into stories that I didn't even know I needed, stories that opened me with grief and wonder to hidden truths and possibilities. I'm chosing into this year with the same practice.

As we head into another roller coaster year, I'm staying open to where I need to be, to who I need to be. I'm choosing wonder over certainty, possibility over control, connection over plans. These times of dying systems and crushing reality demand that we humans let go enough to evolve.

My wise friend and powerful leader Leseliey Welch pays attention to goosebumps. When an idea or opportunity gives her a shiver, she moves toward that opening, inviting a path to reveal itself.

This year, where and who we choose to be matters deeply and urgently.

Let's chose into the openings that give us goosebumps. Let's move with energy toward the stories we have the power to make true.


p.s. Here are the first lines I mentioned. What opening lines will shape you this year?

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

"In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood." Sula, Toni Morrison

"The house on Mango Street is ours, and we don't have to pay rent to anybody, or share the yard with the people downstairs, or be careful not to make too much noise, and there isn't a landlord banging on the ceiling with a broom." The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

"A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one who is, or was, or ever will be." A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

"The night Effia Otcher was born into the musky heat of Fanteland, a fire raged through the woods just outside her father's compound. It moved quickly, tearing a path for days. It lived off the air; it slept in caves and hid in trees; it burned, up and through, unconcerned with what wreckage it left behind, until it reached an Asante village. There, it disappeared, becoming one with the night." Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

Of course I wouldn't be here without the poets (Neruda, Clifton, Hughes, Lorde, Hogan, Diaz, Oliver ...), but that's another blog.


How did New Moon shape the world in 2021?

New Moon told revolutionary stories that strengthened community power in tangible ways. We're proud of the 2021 video stories we produced in collaboration with Jason Walker, such as Lead With Us: Birth Detroit and Return To The Heart: Our Amazing First Year, and our animated work with Renée Campbell on Community Blueprint, and how these pieces helped to generate resources for communities leading us into the future.

New Moon nurtured and strengthened networked relationships and ideas that are changing the world. We're honored to have worked with partners such as Full Spectrum Labs and Facilitating Power to facilitate learning space for community and ecosystem stewards who are growing economic, cultural, and political power; with Birth Center Equity in creating powerful peer learning in the birth ecosystem; and with StoryLine Partners (and TMJ Universe) in shaping strategy for narrative change.

New Moon led strategic narrative thinking to guide wise and informed decision making. We're humbled to have listened to the visions and questions of movement leaders and woven our findings into reflection and strategy pieces shaping the direction of initiatives in birthing justice, climate justice, food sovereignty, and other sectors.

With gratitude to New Moon's 2021 advisory committee members Ariel Jacobson, Maria Ibarra-Frayre, Supriya Lopez Pillai, and Yodit Mesfin Johnson.

Thank you for being on the journey with us!

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