Michael Kwan's Books - Beyond the Margins

The flowers in the garden aren’t getting enough water, so the way to fix this problem is to give the flowers more water. This is a perfectly logical conclusion that directly connects the cause (lack of water) with the solution (more water). And we use this kind of mindset for just about everything, but it’s important to know that the way you solve a problem isn’t necessarily related to what caused the problem in the first place.

Why Won’t the Page Show Up?

The impetus for this post comes from a problem that I had a short while ago. I recently published a new book, as you may already know, and I wanted to create a new page on my freelance writing site to list and describe the books that I have written. I started on an early draft of this page a few months ago and simply saved it in the WordPress back-end until I was ready to publish it. And so, I made a few edits and hit the publish button.

And yes, the new “Books I’ve Written” page went live on my site and it was perfectly accessible if someone knew the exact URL to enter into their browser’s address bar. Curiously, however, a link to the new page did not show up in the navigation bar toward the top of the site where you’d find links to other pages like my portfolio and list of services.

With my rudimentary knowledge of PHP and CSS, I dove into the code of the site’s theme and started looking for why this might be the case. Looking through the header.php file and the CSS stylesheet, I hoped to find something I could change that would fix this problem. It had to be in there, right?.


While I was able to find portions of the code that seemed relevant, I couldn’t find the reason why the “books” link wasn’t showing up in the header. I asked my friend Lesley for some help. You might remember her from the “Filmed in Vancouver” series here on Beyond the Rhetoric. She looked through the PHP and CSS with me and didn’t come up with anything either. Then, she came up with most ingenious of ideas.

Try creating a new page altogether, copying and pasting the content into there.

And it worked. By golly, it worked. It doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense why the pre-written draft that subsequently went live would not show up in the header, whereas the brand new page would show up, but that’s how it turned out. The solution to the problem, in this case, had just about nothing to do with the supposed cause. But it sure fixed it.

Outside of the Box

Conventional thinking and conventional logic don’t always work. More toasters in the home won’t make for smarter kids and spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out the root cause of a problem is wasteful if that time can be better spent on figuring out a workable solution. This is true for fixing websites just as much as it’s true for rehabilitating aggressive dogs or anything else in life.