Cover me

I got my three complimentary copies of the June Toastmaster issue and was quite surprised to see that my article on music is the cover story!  That was a wonderful boost.  It’s great to feel successful in magazine writing, but I still wish I had my foot in the door of more serious publications, or more serious stories, or something […]

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Me, issue, me

As of this morning I was still feeling frustrated over not having a handle on how to write the “southern sin” contest essay.  The journalist in me wants to keep myself out of a story altogether, but I realize that’s not how creative nonfiction works.  Finally, I FB messaged a Goucher grad and asked her advice and she was soooo helpful!  She explained to me that in a class she took with Lee Gutkind she had learned that the idea is to combine my personal experience or viewpoint with the larger issue, then go back to me, and so forth – all within the framework of the bigger theme.  Mental breakthrough!  I started scribbling notes, got inspired, and now I know where I’m going with the story.

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Dancin’ like a yankee in the south

I love this post from the A Yankee’s Southern Exposure blog, and I would assert that freelancers working from home can get up and do an imperfect dance just to celebrate the day and shake things up for yourself alone.  Of course, the real challenge to dance like Christopher Walken in the video might come during an interview, but…I’d advise against it. I enjoy this blog also because the author is, like me, a transplanted Yankee living in the south.  Being a Yankee in Texas doesn’t necessarily make me dance, though, but perhaps that’s a post for another day.

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A chalk story

During my evening walk yesterday I came across a series of “Christian graffiti” chalk drawings on the sidewalk (I’m not sure what else to call them).  They are super interesting – and the artist left a contact number, which I will be calling in the next day or two to see if there’s a story behind the chalk.

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A downside of freelancing

I read this article on the SPJ “Independent Journalist” blog. Eight months after moving into my home office I relate to nearly every point the author makes, and having spent my first four and a half years in Houston doing medical transcription from home and gaining 35 pounds I especially relate to the “fridge proximity” challenge. Now that I’m working from home again I struggle daily to avoid adding another 35! Over the last week I’ve been going out to do general reporting, trying to develop some kind of beat (I guess a religion beat of sorts) and it has been wonderful to be working but not in front of my home computer.  It reminds me of grad school, when I lived in urban Boston and was out just about every day either at school, at my part-time job or just reporting.  I lost 20 pounds during my first six weeks there, especially since I didn’t drive. I’m returning to the Wiccan magick bookstore today and even though I’m not reporting for any story in particular I love being out in urban Houston talking to people of different backgrounds – and maybe even walking a little. You can’t write about people if you’re not talking to them, in the settings of their lives, observing the things they do.  The Religion News Service is a wonderful resource but I want to go above and beyond news reporting.  My personal mission statement […]

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Working out a good story

I plan to submit an essay to Creative Nonfiction‘s “Southern Sin” issue.  The guidelines are pretty broad – most importantly, the topic must somehow involve the south and sin – so I’ve been struggling for a while to find a good topic.  I’ve especially been trying to avoid the mistake of trying to align a story with a concept, along […]

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Putting it out there

Phew!  It took me quite some time, but it looks like I have at least gotten a good start on my personal website. I’m looking forward to adding more to it – I have a couple articles that will be published in the next few months as well as new blog posts on The Straight Path.  The biggest challenge since I entered the freelance world is just structuring my time well enough to manage a website…a blog…and wherever else my writing leads me.

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