Good Narrative Principles



IMG_1751Charlie was what you’d call a miracle child. From the time he was little, he ran circles around his classmates, his teachers and his parents. Townspeople pinned their highest expectations on him.  Here was someone who was destined to soar above the confines of this sleepy town and live a life not tied to family, farm or the factory. When Charlie received a full scholarship to the “Harvard of the Great Lakes” everyone celebrated. His timid parents were treated like royalty. His Mom, an avid reader, whispered the title of the next book she had her eye on in the ear of the librarian and lo, the book would appear in the reserved section under her name. Good fortune and grace shined on Charlie dependably until his Junior year when he stumbled badly. Like many before him, Charlie’s mighty dream of being a doctor was felled by Organic Chemistry. Unaccustomed to academic failure, Charlie quit college on impulse and signed up with the Merchant Marines. His parents heard of his decision weeks later when he called from the Arafura Sea off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Word spread. The privileges his parents enjoyed were soon revoked. But for Charlie, the subtle note of disappointment he heard in his parent’s voices barely registered. Standing on board the deck of the freighter with the sun setting behind him, Charlie realized that no one cared how in fifth grade he won the National Geographic Bee by naming the point of demarcation between the Solomon and the Coral Seas.

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