Creative Nonfiction Sampler: “Intrigue” by Rachel Means (’14)

Reading a book at the beach

Intrigue [v. in-treeg] – To plot craftily or underhandedly; to capture

 As I flip to Chapter One of a new book, or click on the Netflix link to a previously unknown movie or TV show, I wait for that moment when the story grabs my face and forces me to keep looking, keep going, get to the end.

Sometimes it’s such a shy whisper of intrigue that I don’t even notice until it has me trapped. Sometimes it’s a punch to my face that knocks me back into a comfortable chair for the remainder of the story. The best kind are the stories that purposefully put on a tedious mask until I am forced to read them, and then they creep up behind me and hold me hostage until the very last word. Those stories, when they finally release me from their spell, leave me longing to run back into the warmth of their cage. Just as there are wallflower stories that can keep me prisoner for months, there are also rockstar stories that drag me to their altar to worship but then forget to ever appear, and I wander off, lost and confused.

Reading is a form of Stockholm Syndrome, where I grow to love my intriguing captor to the point that when I am free to leave, I stay. Writing is an acceptable form of kidnapping, though I suppose kidnapping is the least of the crimes authors often commit against their characters.

I try to convince the stories I write to hide in the bushes and jump out, or lure people into unsolvable mazes, or just make people look at them, but they don’t listen to me and I am left with jumbled words on a page as my story runs off to play with another writer. To capture a story and lock it in a book requires just as much sneakiness as catching a reader does. Someday I will find a story that will let me catch it, and on that day I will have started my life of crime.

Rachel Means is a senior at Whitworth University studying English and Music. Originally from western Washington, Rachel enjoys reading fantasy, playing the violin, and finding new bands to listen to and new authors to read.

Book image is from here.

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