Good Narrative Principles

Hangman Hill Road


First time we passed the Guy with the rabid dog our crack response was – wonder how many guns that guy owns? We drove around the peninsula, eyes trained on the lake, hungry to take a dip but not getting any closer to a spot where we could park the car, peel off our city clothes and jump in. On the map (paper courtesy of Rand McNally) we spotted a second lake that looked equally promising. Jagged, a bit oblong, marked in blue. We had no signal, no way to zoom in on the roads that resolved to nothing more than fine spidery lines on the paper map. Driving past the dog, windows rolled up, we then thought better of it and backtracked to ask for directions. First he pointed this way and that, a cascade of roads bearing evocative names like Hangman Hill Road. The dog lay quietly at his feet as he rattled off stories with the confidence of a patriarch accustomed to commanding everyone’s attention. Engine off, we continued listening, all the while trying to jibe our initial impression of a gun toting, card-carrying member of the Tea Party, with this lively storyteller. Countless lefts and rights later, we agreed that writing the directions down probably would have helped.

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