All posts tagged narrative arc

The Narrative Arc of a Few Remarks

The other night, I was at a dinner to celebrate the recipients of a local college’s award of honorary doctorates. The formal festivities—robes donned, longer speeches—were the next day. This gathering was an intimate prelude among friends and colleagues. After dinner, a few of the honorees were scheduled to give brief remarks and I was […]

What’s the Big Idea?

There’s a difference between mere talk and telling stories. Bump into a friend and you’ll hear about the kids, the job, the vacation. . . And while you’re happy for the news, it doesn’t add up to anything momentous or lasting. A story is much more than these bits and pieces. At its simplest, it’s […]

The Measure of a Man

I always read the obituaries—especially those that start on the front page. It’s the one place that I can absorb, in a single smooth gulp, the entire arc of a person’s life as seen from the perspective of a dispassionate observer. There, in columnar inches, I trace where he began, and where it took him. […]

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