Brand building through storytelling

My top 10 posts of 2009 at

Among the many rewards of this website is the sweet obligation of an annual top 10 list where every slot goes to me. So here they are, my friends—the posts I wouldn’t want you to miss because they’re the ones closest to my heart.

They’re not the ones that draw the most visitors (my greatest hit, by a huge margin, is still “When your mother dies,” a 1996 Chatelaine editorial that’s been finding new readers all over the English-speaking world). Nor are they the ones that proved most effective at getting people talking and sharing. That honour goes to“When adult children move back home: Do you have a story to share?” I dashed this one off more than a year ago in search of parents to interview for a magazine piece. My deadline passed without a murmur from cyberspace. But Google is a land of many all-but-hidden byways found only by those who are desperate for solutions to problems of obsessive and obliterating power. For instance, parents driven crazy by layabout kids who won’t leave the nest. They started flocking here and leaving urgent pleas for help. I was running out of ways to say, “Don’t be a doormat!” when one of the mothers finally took it on herself to start an online support group for strung-out parents like herself.

Okay, enough about inter-generational angst. Back to those favourite posts I promised to share with you:

* My tried-and-true ritual for falling asleep I used to pop pills for insomnia. Then I learned to tap memory’s power to soothe. Your comments showed me I’m not the only one.

* Help! Middle-aged teeth are chewing up the family budget For what I’ve shelled out to repair old fillings, I could have gone to Europe. Laughter is the best revenge.

* The poetry of random facts about ourselves Remember when all your Facebook friends were posting 25 random facts about themselves and urging you to do the same? Here’s my take on what was really going on.

* Writing the obit: one friend’s last gift to another In 12 months I lost three special women to cancer. Meet Alison.

* Suicide in the family: the legacy of Nicholas Hughes Suicides are all but invisible—except when they’re notorious, like Sylvia Plath’s. And now her son’s. I couldn’t get him off mymind.

* Diana Athill’s guide to old age About to turn 60 and mightily displeased with the implications, I found the perfect mentor in the art of aging.

* True confessions of a grownup who still can’t ride a bike I dreamed I was cycling with wind in my hair. Is it time to leap my mental block against real-world cycling?

* When Mary Travers rang the bell of freedom I didn’t realize until after her death that she was always so much more than the babe who sang with Peter and Paul.

* Hometown kids, older and wiser Growing up, I always felt like a misfit in my small New Hampshire town. Now I finally understand what my peers and I had in common.

* Still friends after 40 years My tribute to the confidante of my dark and tumultuous teen years.


Posted by Rona

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