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No man is an island entire of itself...~John Donne
She picked up the phone book and looked in the yellow pages for piano tuners, her finger stopping on an ad that boasted thirty years experience in the business. Propping the phone receiver between her ear and her shoulder, she dialed the number.
“Good day.” A British accent clipped the words. “Precision Tuning.”
Sarah identified herself, then paused, not sure where to begin.
“How may I be of assistance to you, Detective?” The voice prompted.
“What can you tell me about piano wire?”
“They’re called strings.” The man chuckled. “But not to worry. Most people make that mistake.”
“Oh.” Sarah leaned back in her chair and put one foot on her desk. “Are they distinctive?”
“How do you mean?”
“From one piano to the next. Between a Grand and a Kimball, for instance.”
The man followed his one-word answer with the beginning of what Sarah suspected could be a lengthy explanation of how wood and craftsmanship creates the unique sound of each instrument. She used her next question to cut him off.
“How about age? Can you determine how old a string is?”
“That would be almost impossible. Strings have been made the same way for over a hundred years.”
“So a string from a piano made last year wouldn’t be any different from those in a fifty-year-old piano?”
“The old bass strings might be a little dull after so many years. But otherwise, no. The basic elements would be the same.”
Well, that was an abrupt dead end, Sarah thought, hanging up after thanking the man for his help. The only good thing to come out of it was that she could correct Roberts the next time he talked about the piano wire.So the next time you need some facts for your story, don't hesitate to pick up the phone. Who knows, you might come up with more than just the facts, Ma'am.
Writer, editor, and book reviewer Wendy Noble is our guest today at Blood-Red Pencil.Years ago a speaker at a writers’ workshop I attended encouraged us to build up our writing portfolio with short stories, articles and reviews. I had the short stories and articles under control but I had no idea how to get a review published. As far as I knew, newspapers and magazines had their own staff. I couldn’t see a way to break in. Neither could I figure out how to get a book early enough that it hadn’t been already reviewed by someone else.
Sometimes I’m considered bad luck. Things tend to fall wherever I work.After a brief laundry list of unfortunate events, we learn that Wall Arch collapsed the morning this writer took a new job at the park, which sets up a specific—and humorous—perspective. No one else could have written this piece quite this way.
It was already curving gracefully when the Egyptian pyramids were still under construction. It stood defiantly while the mighty Roman Empire was collapsing an ocean away. It was still holding strong when the Declaration of Independence was being signed in 1776. And, most notably, it was still there on August 4 when everybody went to bed.3. Explore scientific perspective: How could this happen?
One answer is fairly straightforward. Erosion and gravity reign supreme over sandstone. For countless eons, rain, ice, and groundwater slowly but relentlessly ate away at the natural calcium “cement” holding the arch’s sand grains together. Eventually there wasn’t enough of this cement left to withstand the pull of gravity, and so the whole structure finally came crashing down.
Beyond the sadness or sense of loss that the collapse might evoke, there is a realization that something will eventually fill the void were the arch once stood. Simply put, another answer to the question “Why?” is, “So nature can make room for something else.”5. Conclusion: A reflection once intimate has now taken on greater proportions.
Though shrouded in memory and mystery, the arch’s fate stands as an invitation to reflect upon the eternal cycle of birth and death that characterizes not only our planet, but our entire universe.Reading this essay while taking in the spectacular natural sculptures in this park, my sister and I learned more about how they were made. But this was by no means dry material. Couched as it was in this author’s specific experience (considering the essay is written in the first person, it's odd that no byline was given) and addressing life’s greater questions, we got so much more.
The beautiful girlIf you think your character is “beautiful”, show your readers what that means to you. Do you mean “inner beauty” that shines through and gives her a deeper radiance, or do you mean “superficial, airbrushed looks”?
The tall, dark, handsome man
The lovely day
The quaint town
The tall, blond man opened the big, wooden box, revealing a strange, red shape on a smooth, satin cushion.