Certain events and experiences have a powerful impact far beyond the time that they take to occur. I think that is a safe assertion to make. We all know someone who still brings up their glory moment from their distant past every chance that they get.
I won’t bore you with a long ago glory moment. But story moments, now those are worth bringing up again. In some cases I have let the author (shame on me as someone so interested in writing) or the title fade but the storyline comes back fresh as the day that I read it. There are many stories from my early teens that have this resonating factor to this day. Some I read in a classroom and some I stumbled upon in a library.
Frank Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger” is one such story. I read it in Mr. Bruno’s 7th grade class which would make me about 12 I think. We read some great stuff in Mr. Bruno’s class – I’m sure that I have mentioned him here before. (The search function in WordPress declares my memory to be faulty, I wrote about him on my old blog – Take it for Your Share and Go On)
Mr. Bruno gave us a writing assignment to determine the end of the story because crafty Frank Stockton left the reader hanging. Well, I couldn’t settle on a convincing argument for either resolution so I got crafty myself, got into the main character’s head while he pondered his choices and just as he reached for the door he had chosen, my essay ended. Mr. Bruno loved my piece and gave me an A. And I learned a great deal about decision making and storytelling.
Now I have come home with a new book – bought from the clearance table (double bonus) – that is an anthology of stories where the writer leaves it up to the reader to tie up all the ends. Guess what story is in the book? Yes, my old favorite. Plus it seems Frank Stockton wrote a follow up story and I just adore the title already, “The Discourager of Hesitancy”. I hope the story lives up to that fabulous title.
First, I will have to read “The Lady or the Tiger” again. And I am a bit hesitant because Thomas Wolfe famously told us You Can’t Go Home Again. What if the Lady and the Tiger have lost their power over me?
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