Good Narrative Principles

Need for Speed


Abby always envisioned her life as top down, pedal to the metal. Racing down the Ventura Highway, radio blasting, a steady 75-mile an hour wind tunnel whipping her curls into a rat’s nest, Abby would salute her great good fortune. Instead, no matter where she drove, she was stuck in thick clots of traffic. Her hair remained tame; her curls intact. Abby soldiered on. Seeking out the fun life, the payoff for being chained to her lab all those years while inching towards her PhD, Abby was in a rush to make up for lost time. When Purdue offered her a tenured position, Abby flew out, rented the hottest car on the lot and circled around the town of West Lafayette at top speed. In lieu of the Pacific, there were cornfields stretching out to the horizon. One after another. Row after row. Before the interview, she bought a brush at the sleepy local pharmacy where the wood floors creaked as she worked her way down the aisles. She tried wrestling the brush through the tangled mess of her hair but she made no headway. The tangled knots remained a joyful, stubborn mess. And so she accepted the position.

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