Gallery of art and thoughts

The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Weekend musings

Yesterday, I attended a writing conference, "The Muse and the Marketplace," sponsored by the Grub Street writing center. It was amazing to listen to speakers such as Arthur Golden and George Packer, who both had helpful things to say about writing -- Golden about Chekhov's short story "Anyuta," Packer about narrative journalism. I left feeling renewed, a sense that I should probably take advantage of soon before it dissipates. It's always helpful to be around other writers or aspiring writers.

Packer's discussion of narrative journalism was interesting. He talked about what role, if any, a reporter should play in his/her story, citing such examples as a Dexter Filkins piece on the war in Iraq in the New York Times. I thought of an article I read in the Columbia Journalism Review about the "new" new journalism, which combined the reportage of old masters like Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, et al., with the style of even older ones such as James Agee. These days, it seems, you can't write a good book without immersing yourself in your subject for five or ten years. A daunting prospect, yet one that still calls to me...


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