A Brilliant Lead in by Steve Johnson

One of the great arts of the story teller is to lead the listener or reader into the story. The better the lead in, the deeper the trance that the story casts. Steve Johnson is very good at this, and in his book Wonderland, you get a great example of a lead in. Enjoy!

Roughly forty-three thousand years ago, a young cave bear died in the rolling hills of the northern border of modern-day S.ovenia. A thousand miles away, and a thousand years later, a mammouth died in the forests above the river Blau, near the southern edge of modern-day Germany. Within a few years of the mammoth’s demise, a griffon vulture also perished in the same vicinity. Five thousand years after that, a swan and another mammouth died nearby.

The reader cannot help but wonder, “what will tie these events together?! Aha! Steve has successfully planted a question. Let’s read on.

We know almost nothing about how these different animals met their deaths. They may have been hunted by Neanderthals or modern humans; they may have died of natural causes; they may have been killed by other preditors. Like almost every creature from the Paleolithic era, the stories behind their lives (and deaths) are a mystey to us, lost to the un-reconstructable past. But these different creatures . dispersed across both time and space – did share one remarkable posthumous fate. After their flesh had been consumed by carnivores or bacteria, a bone from each of their skeletons was meticulously crafted by human hands into a flute.

Suspense is suspended for jsut the right amount of time. Then, the great aha! We are not talking about animals at all! We are talking about ancient man and we get this rtaher interesting comment.

Bone flutes are among the most anicent known artifacts of human technological ingenuity.

Becauase we know the data supporting that conclusion, we nod our heads and begin to wonder at the context. Even at this early and primitive stage of our development, we craved music. BTW, way, way before we started writing.

I love it!

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