Hope, meet absurdity

It’s March 31st. The winds have been blowing here in the Pacific Northwest and the days careen between gorgeous and bitter. Fourteen years ago today, my mother died. The sun was shining—it was windy that day, too. Two burly dopes in baggy black suits came to our house, put my mother’s body into a gray body bag, zipped it up, and then humped her out of the bedroom (my sister’s room back in the day) through the dining room, out the door, down the stairs, across the driveway, and into a black hearse. Off to the embalmer. When your mother…


The John Stevens Shop ~ Established 1705

by Richard Pelletier

“John Stevens, Stone Cutter Takes this method to inform the public and his former employers in particular THAT he carries on the stone-cutters business at his shop the North end of Thames Street where any persons may be supplied with tombstones, gravestones, hearths, and printers press stones, and where every kind of work in stone is performed in the neatest and most elegant manner.”

Newport Mercury, October 27, 1781

29 Thames Street, Newport Rhode Island

LATE AFTERNOON. A warm September day. Autumn light drifts down through the windows and skylights…


Proust is a great winged creature often seen circling over Orr Road on Whidbey Island © Richard Pelletier

Tell me, what’s around the bend in your writing life? If you had wings, where would you fly to next? Are you satisfied? You ever think you could kick this thing up a notch or two? Where could you go with your writing if you could make it better by this much? Or that much? What might happen if you knew how a Shakespearean sonnet is made? What if you actually wrote one? And what if you began to fall head over heels with the whole heaving apparatus that is the English language? What would that be like?

Some of…


Ellie and the New Yorker ~ Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA ca. 2012 (photograph by richard pelletier)

I fantasized about murder. Killing. I could drown her in my bathtub, which could work, but too nasty. Brutal and noisy. Wet. Too horrible to see all the way through. I thought: twist her neck. Just grab her little head and wrench with every ounce of strength I had. SNAP. Over. Abandonment seemed more merciful. Put her in the cat carrier with a blanket, a toy, some kibbles. Around midnight, carry her from my apartment over to the imposing brick manse of the Archbishop of Seattle (two blocks away) and place my sad little package on the good Father’s doorstep…


Welcome to post 5 in an ongoing totally fascinating exploration of Robert McKee’s new book, Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in a Post-Advertising World. In our last post we, I, excerpted McKee on the difference between narrative and story. Narrative is the guy at the bar, or the friend at the cafe, who drones on and on and on in a numbing recitation of all the stuff that happened when he went to Vegas or wherever. We’ve all been there. …


Welcome to post numero quatro where we reveal some of what’s going on in Robert McKee’s new book, Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in a Post-Advertising World. So far we’ve covered marketing deception around rational and emotion communications. We’ve touched on what defines a story. Why is that different from narrative? And quite fascinating to me, we’ve touched on The Evolution of Story and the story-making mind. I was quite moved when I came across the notion of the dawn of self-awareness, the first sense of “me” and how story-making emerged to help early humans make some kind of sense of the…


This is the third post in an ongoing project to unpack Robert Mckee’s new book, Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in a Post Advertising World.


In our last post, we talked a little about rational communications, rhetoric and emotional communications and what constitutes the current problem. No one believes marketing and/or advertising anymore. The remedy, per Robert McKee and Thomas Gerace, in Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in a Post-Advertising World, is story.

Excerpt: A well-told story captures our attention, holds us in suspense, and pays off with a meaningful emotional experience. Emotional because we empathize with its characters; meaningful because the actions of our protagonist deliver insights into human nature. The word itself, story, confuses many marketers. Some, for example, use the words content and story…


This is the maiden voyage of a series of blog posts about storytelling in marketing. First up is Robert McKee’s new book on storytelling for business, Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in a Post-Advertising World. If you don’t know McKee, he is longtime screenwriting guru whose name is linked to a truckload of award-winning films over the past several decades. He’s an astute observer, a precise writer, and is wicked knowledgeable about how stories are put together, what constitutes a story and now, how the business world can put stories to work. The number one reason this book is important is trust…


{ “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” ~ James Baldwin }

I woke up in the Emergency Room. St. Anne’s Hospital. Where I was born. My mother and my sister were in the room. I still remember the nurse. “Is he a user?” I’d passed out and fell backward onto the sidewalk and hit my head full on. As I lay there, writhing and convulsing, my girlfriend called an ambulance.

I had a bit of a secret. Poorly kept. The situation was delicate, touch and go. I conjure up an image of my teenage self sprawled out on a lawn, at some outdoor concert, half conscious. Don’t know what this bird…

Richard Pelletier

I help companies tell better stories. I train writers with the Dark Angels. Co-author of Established. Five Cool Things blog.

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