The Power of Personal Narrative

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
The Power of Personal Narrative

Hi, I’m breaking format this week, for once. Our high school had a credible and serious threat yesterday, staff and teachers and kids were locked down for hours and I want to talk about how people telling their stories makes things much more real than cut-up newspaper reports.

And that’s important.

Don’t forget how powerful writing is, okay? Don’t forget how powerful you are either.

We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It’s about nuance.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It's about nuance.


So, in this house we’ve learned a few random things that we didn’t know before we had to isolate ourselves because of the Covid-19 pandemic and these things include some things that were mentioned on Buzzfeed and some that weren’t including: 

  • Treasure Hunting For Gray Hair In Other People’s Hair Is Fun.
  • People Hook Up on the Scrabble app and Words With Friends. 
  • Sometimes Your Relatives Don’t Close Cabinets.
  • How Much Noise Your Fellow Family Members Including Dogs Make. 
  • Your Husband Is More Southern Than You Thought.

So, while we were checking that out we also saw that Buzzfeed had this other article called, “17 Delicious Cookout Recipes That Will Impress Your Southern Friends” and the first thing we thought was, “Do I have southern friends?” And then we remembered we have an entire Southern family and then we were ashamed. 

But the article was not all that Southern and it confused us.

Did the writer think Northern people don’t have BBQ pulled pork, buttermilk fried chicken, BBQ baby back ribs, corn on the cob, fried fish, burgers, baked mac and cheese normally? And why would Southern people be more impressed by that than Northerners? 

Like where did this regionally specific food divide even come from? The only southern thing that was on there that Carrie (from the North) didn’t grow up with were collard greens. She even had peach ice tea. Albeit, it was the Snapple kind.

They had baked beans on there. Dudes, they are called Boston Baked Beans for a reason. They had potato salad on there! It made no sense!  

And someone in the comments actually wrote: “This post should probably be changed to the perfect SOUTHERN cookout. Most of these things aren’t gonna fly at a cookout in Maine!”

And Carrie lost her chill.

All you all, don’t talk about Maine if you’ve never been here. Similarly, give shout-outs to the origins and history of the foods that you’re blogging about because erasure isn’t a cool thing and that goes for socio-economic erasure and ethnic erasure. The foods of different cultures sustain us, build us, bind us, and also reflect our histories–the good and horrible parts. 

What does this have to do with writing?

When you write about regions, think about it from more than your perspective. When you want to add some authenticity into your stories, think about the strange things you learn about your own house and family during lockdowns. Those details and nuance? That’s what makes a story authentic, not a bullshit blog post about how to impress your Southern friends at a cookout or a food post about Kimchi that never mentions it’s a Korean food. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Be smart. Be detailed. Be full of empathy, but don’t be so full of yourself that you forget the backs and lives and hearts of the people who came before you. That goes not just for writers, but for regular humans, too. 

Dog Tip for Life

Dogs are all about origins and details. According to Sparrty, our dog, “We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine.” 

It’s all about the nuance. Be about the nuance not the generalization. That’s true about writing and thinking. Smell the bouquet, appreciate the differences. 


The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

Come Write With Me!

I coach, have a class, and edit things.


The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Link to Jose’s bonus interview. Jokes, Stuffies, And Using Your Weirdness for Good, An Interview with Jose De La Roca

Link to Caitlyn’s bonus episode. Books, Law School during Covid-19 and just being Kick Butt – Using Law to Create Lasting Change – Interview with Caitlyn Vanover

Link to this week’s episode of awesome.

Last week’s episode. Money Is Not the Enemy and the Habits of the Rich


I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!


It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!