How some find narrative

If I care to look, WordPress reveals the Google searches people use to find this blog. Their phrases can be surprising or funny. Like: “does an essay have to be nonfiction.” Well, yes—whomever you are. By definition, in fact.

Sometimes people’s searches suggest posts I wish I’d write—or accomplish myself in other writing: “taking creative nonfiction beyond the mundane.” I’ll drink to that. So would the editor who called a story of mine “plodding.” Ouch. (It’s easy to say no; it takes just one fan—or a somewhat desperate editor needing something to round out her list—for a yes.)

Some searches seem the result of graduate students slaving away: “structuralism + ‘d. h. lawrence’ + ‘odour of chrysanthemums’ ”; “symbolism subtext narrative.” Or undergraduates trying desperately to complete assignments: “why is concise in essay important”; and “a narrative essay describing your past that involved you and your close childhood friend.”

There may be writers searching for tips: “using power point to tell a story”—but what that poor soul got was my rant about how I hate PowerPoint for telling stories. In the Fairly Odd Category: “writing narrative hair raising stories”; and “the walk to work narrative.”

Whoa—the walk to work narrative! Therein may lie the contribution I’ll make to this rowdy field as I plod onward. I have no idea what the phrase means, but if you Google it, my blog comes up really high.



Filed under craft, technique, creative nonfiction, essay-narrative

8 responses to “How some find narrative

  1. lorilowe

    The last paragraph is quite amusing. Google acts in mysterious ways. But the “walk to work narrative” reminds me that when I’m doing the mundane activities of my day, I often have a breakthrough in my narrative. Allowing my brain to simmer often allows the important thoughts to float to the top.
    Love your blog! Best,
    Lori Lowe

  2. One of your best, Richard. It made my morning.

  3. John

    Love the blog – it is part of my week. I depend on it.

  4. I found you through searching for the exact wording of Irving Howe’s quote: “The best writing almost becomes sentimental but doesn’t.” And I’ve enjoyed your work ever since.
    Thank you,

    • Thank you, Alethea. Interesting about that quote. I wanted to capture it and so put it on the blog and added “sentimentality” as a category so I could find it in the future, plus any other thoughts on that concept I happened to find.

  5. My searchers’ brows are a tad lower. I get “how do you know if you were switched at birth,” “sharp rocks,” and “how to fry mullet,” in the top ten search terms.