Good Narrative Principles



IMG_1690It is an historic day, Sheryl observes from afar, without a quickening in her pulse or a sense of strange euphoria washing over her as it did four years ago. Then, her history teacher, pausing in her headlong rush towards prepping the kids for their AP exams, wheeled a TV into the classroom and had everyone watch Obama’s 2009 inaugural. In exchange for this fleeting moment of ease, the teacher didn’t issue an assignment to write a paper, a poem or even a statement that would be pinned to the board. Her simple instructions were to “take it in” as if this positive mutuality between citizen and state was so fleeting that it would never occur again. Today, Sheryl sips soup on her parent’s couch while watching the proceedings. Hillary in glasses. Bill clutching her hand as they make their way up the stairs. Sasha playing with her purple woolen gloves that don’t seem nearly warm enough. Sheryl should be at school, at college. Instead, feeling a deep dislike for the “shoulds” that have ruled her life thus far, Sheryl informed her parents when they picked her up at JFK for winter break, that she would not be going back to school. Ever. Throughout the holiday period her parents bombarded her with questions, jaded comments, but Sheryl stood firm. Now, her parents are worn down, seceding their control and will over their daughter’s life to her.  Maybe she’ll get a job at the local bakery or publish a literary magazine or visit a friend in Dharamsala or Shanghai. After Richard Blanco’s poem which adds a bit of well, poetry to the ritual, Sheryl heads to the kitchen, grabs a knife and carves herself a generous hunk of dark chocolate. She probably shouldn’t do that and that’s why she does.

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