Good Narrative Principles

The Challenge of Change


IMG_2692Chauncey is resistant to change. Weather, holidays, new habits are a continual source of annoyance. Just when he’s getting acclimated to summer heat, it gets cold. Chauncey doesn’t suffer from laziness or obstinacy. He simply wishes that things would remain status quo. His favorite time of the year is that long dreary stretch between January and April when the press of daily events are his only concern. To him, this is bliss. When its time to leave the comfort of home to buy the Christmas tree and decorate it, he can’t help but wonder if all this fuss is necessary. Similarly, Chauncey is the last to take down his tree, preferring to wait until the zeal of binge drinking and eating is a fading memory. Maybe it’s to extend the good feeling that inspires him to host a post-holiday celebration. Though half the ornaments lay on the floor, having slipped off the brittle branches, he stocks up on eggnog, rum and ice cream. His friends arrive and seem grateful for the distraction. His closest friend, Alan, has taken up a new hobby, cigar smoking. He comes with a fresh cigar, a stainless steel cigar cutter and matching lighter and proceeds to stink up the joint. Chauncey, sensing disaster, tracks the cigar clutched lightly in Alan’s right hand swooping and circling the air as his best buddy relays one very funny story after another. He’s about to ask Alan to extinguish his cigar, when his very dry tree lights up in flames. A few minutes later, out on the curb, with the Fire Department valiantly trying to rescue what is left of his home, Chauncey feels the axis of his life shifting dramatically towards major change. It is the prospect of upsetting the calm of the daily grind for the next year or two that he finds most disturbing.

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