Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dropping Stones by Paul Cwalina

Last week my blog was about a story that embraced the best of us.  This week it is about a story that is about the worst of us.  Therefore, it must be about politicians.  The story is told in the first person and you never actually learn the main characters name and in some ways that is part of the genius of the story.  You feel as though you are listening to someone tell about the most personal details of their life and all the while you wish there was some way to warn him about the choices he is making. 

The ambition starts in a noble enough place. A corrupt police force that didn’t want to answer questions put to them by the city council. One of the council members decides he needs to run for the mayor’s office and he wins by a landslide. That was his first “taste“ of power and it isn’t long before he is hooked.

It is a story that we have seen played out in the political world over and over again. As the mayor continues to behave more and more erratically he starts to alienate almost everyone who ever cared about him. Most of the people around him won’t confront him because like him, they believe he is untouchable until everyone realizes he isn’t.

Many politicians have found themselves at this point in their life.  Standing at a podium saying that they “need to spend more time with their family,” or they say “I am going to do what I have to make sure I’m okay” (code for rehab) and some have point blank admitted they have a problem when the truth can no longer be hidden.

But what happens after the podium speech? That is what Dropping Stones is about. A story of redemption and a story that will ultimately bring hope when a person of great power realizes that the power of office is fleeting and all one really has is the power over one’s own choices. The book’s ending left me wanting to know more about the character and so I reached out to Paul Cwalina to ask him and I was glad to find out that a follow up story was in the works.

I asked Paul if he knew of a situation similar to the main characters, one bad decision after another.

PC “It certainly can happen and I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that has happened. The underlying themes of the story are forgiveness (or lack thereof) and redemption. The mayor’s poor choices are a result of his inability to forgive and his self-absorption. Had he simply accepted the loss of Sarah and forgiven her, he could have had a woman who truly loved him.”

I asked Paul if he would ever consider going into political life

PC “Never say never, certainly no plans.”

The good part of that response is that if Paul ever did go into political life, he would go in with his eyes wide open. 

I know that as I finished this story I found myself wishing that everyone who had taken office at the beginning of the year had made their first priority to read Dropping Stones.

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