3 min read

The 3 Layers of Narrative and DIY Popcorn Kits

The 3 Layers of Narrative and DIY Popcorn Kits

Hello friends, Ghost (my newsletter platform) has made some changes, so a few things like comments, are wonky right now.

"A cliché is just a placeholder for a future revision."

A lot of what I focus on my writing, especially during revision, is how do I push through all the noise and say what I need to say. We live in a culture that's insistent that we embrace the dominant narrative as our own – Influencers ain't the only ones out here influencing! Lol.

If you're attempting to write something, it might be because you feel like a there's a gap between you and the dominant narrative. Sometimes, this leads us to parroting an alt-narrative that we recognize as closer to our own. But it might not exactly be your narrative, and this is usually discovered through revision.

Okay, for example, I write about Black women and dating. The dominant narrative is that nobody's trying to date us. See this, this and, oh yeah this for context.

It'd be pretty easy to sit down and write an essay that feeds into that undesirability narrative. But it's narratives by Black women, like Issa Rae's "Insecure", that lend us humanity while discussing our dating woes. And I definitely have a few dating stories in me that could be an episode of "Insecure" (or actually popped up in a storyline!), but that's still not exactly my narrative. So, what is?

How is my story building on and adding to what is already being said? I've discovered what sets my essays apart is that I'm actually using dating as a vehicle to explore our changing norms around gender, class, sexuality, and consent versus it just being about the frustrations of dating or coming of age.

So, how do you identify this in your own work? You could start by naming the cliché or tropes you're attempting to side step. In Wintering, Katherine May writes about bees,

"Even as I write about bees, I'm urging myself to be cautious. It's beguilingly easy to see them as tiny analogies for human beings, the crisp bustle of the bee colony serving as an example to us all. With the a mere slip of the pen, I could fall into the tried old trope: bees are models of industry. Be more like the bees."

Your naming of what you're trying to avoid might not make your final draft, but it's worth identifying it because it will make what you are attempting to articulate clearer (it's easier to figure out what you want, when you know what you don't want!).

You can also give yourself a writing exercise around busting up a cliché. For instance, can you funnel the pain of a breakup through a part of the body that isn't the heart? "It was like a sprained ankle. It felt worse the next day, but as the swelling receded, I saw that the injury wasn't as bad as it looked; the breakup wasn't as painful as I'd wanted to believe it would be."

Chrissy Teigan's Cravings brand just released a super cute popcorn kit. I think it'd be really fun to create your own.


All you'd need are:

Add whatever seasoning blend you'd like to concoct to a glass jar, pour the kernels in the brown paper bag and then put a bow around it all.

It's easy to pop your own popcorn at home using brown paper bags. It's an easy way to avoid all the ills associated with store bought microwave popcorn. I liked it so much that eventually I upgraded to a reusable silicon popper. There's tons of different styles.

My favorite seasoning combo is:

  • Nice olive oil
  • Truffle salt
  • Parm cheese

But there's lots of blends you can experiment around with. Once you have your faves, you can package them up as parting gifts for your guests for all these outdoor soirees we'll be having this summer.

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