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Writing without judgment

I’m catching up on reading Thomas French’s work.  Yesterday I printed out (using much paper and ink) his series “The Exorcist in Love” and most of “Angels & Demons” (I didn’t print the whole thing because I was using much paper and ink).  I read The Exorcist in Love yesterday and the whole time my inner voice was saying yes! yes! yes!  His approach is so similar to what I want to do with the street preacher story.  I don’t want to judge the preachers for what they do, even though many people would.  Their stories are what they are and they are who they are and they have something to offer our understanding of the world even if you don’t agree with their viewpoint or their methods.  That’s part of what gets me so excited about this kind of reporting.  Like my masters project, profiles of drug court offenders.  They weren’t necessarily pillars of society, but their stories are instructive nevertheless.  Same with the witches I’ve been trying to hang out with. I’ve been thinking about crime as a topic lately, especially because it’s a subject I come across fairly frequently in the nonfiction I’ve been reading.  I am obsessed with crime and especially psychopathology.  My friend who is a social psychologist and knows about my obsession told me a couple years ago she came across a paper about a study of people like me.  The conclusion was that […]

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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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Write well, write often

I’m very pleased to say I got a new magazine assignment today.  (I hate naming the publication until it’s much closer to publication, but it’s for their September/October issue.)  Go ahead and ask me what I think the key to success as a writer is.  Okay, whether you asked or not, here it is: Write well, write often, don’t be afraid to ask for more work and more pay. I guess I could add “don’t be afraid to ask for a kill fee or at least a contract,” but I’ve been successful taking chances so far. Now the interesting thing is juggling reporting for assigned articles (I have three on my plate currently) and for pieces that are still evolving or just kind of out there.  The new article is due the end of June, the other two have no set due dates (yet) but obviously the sooner, the better, and if I manage to work up a story for the Narrative contest, that is due July 31 – and of course I’ll be at the Goucher residency from July 29 through August 11.  Okay, enough time talking about what I have to do.  Let me go do it!

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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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