Good Narrative Principles

Character Flash: Strung Tight


A year after I left the Planning Commission, I took up the guitar. As I learned to play, I also played with a variety of tunings. A plaintive blues number brought to mind the white-hot kerfuffle which seized the town when a well-heeled developer eyed the water front. Both sides fervently believed they represented the truth. As I bent one note, then the next, I leaned into that fractious memory and was able to let it go. I crept up a few octaves while teaching myself Flamenco guitar. The music, so dramatic and extreme, summoned to mind the memory of the railroad diner incident. We lost five citizens when the ceiling suddenly collapsed. Neighbors said I should have been more rigorous during the application process. As I dwelled on the particulars of that night, losing our son’s first grade teacher…the trusted Pharmacist…the Fish Monger who had an exquisite eye for oysters, the bridge on my guitar snapped. Maybe I should have purchased more expensive strings? Or, maybe I should pick up the phone and call my estranged wife.

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