One of the fun parts of blogging is seeing the search terms that lead people to my little piece of the internet. Those terms are a glimpse into other people’s minds, giving me a sense of the topics people find interesting enough to type into a search engine. My favorite search terms are the ones in full sentences beginning with Who, What, Where, When, Why, or How. Sometimes the content on my blog answers these questions; other times it does not.
Here, I address directly some of the amusing questions my blog has received recently.
(1) “Is it illegal to write about a deceased author without them knowing[?]”
Well, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to go about contacting a deceased author, unless you believe in Ouija boards or mediums.
If the googler was asking whether it is unlawful to quote the work of a deceased author without contacting the holder of the copyright and paying a royalty, then William Faulkner’s estate wants the answer to be “yes.” However, I disagree with the Faulkner estate, as explained in my posts, When Someone Quotes You, Say “Thank You,” Not “F-You” and “Manners” for Authors: On Being Quoted.
(2) “Why I love bird watching essays”
The only one who can know why you love bird watching essays is you, but a search engine apparently thought I was one with the answer. It probably directed this reader to my post, The Things I Love: Objects and Activities that Help Ideas Flow Rather than “Burst,” in which I say there’s no such thing as too many bird pictures. But that’s probably not what this person wanted to find.
I’ve been wondering whether this person was looking for author Jonathan Franzen’s My Bird Problem, which is part of The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History. In this rambling essay, Franzen captures the addictive quality of birding and discusses how it furthered his interest in conservationism (interspersed with a loosely connected history of his personal relationships). Those who consider a visit by a masked duck akin to a celebrity sighting may want to read this essay, particularly if they are Franzen fans.
(3) “Why are children’s book reviews shorter than average reviews[?]”
There are several truisms in this world, like “Don’t eat anything larger than your head.” Similarly, a review should not be much longer than that which it reviews. A 1,000 word review of Eric Carle’s 11 word My Very First Book of Colors would be insufferable.