Notes to aspiring writers

Notes to Aspiring Writers

I had a fella email me today that is trying to break into writing, specifically travel writing.  I decided to paste my response here.  I’ll continue to update this and use it to direct future “how the hell do I get published” queries.

I think that every writer has their own path to getting published.  No book or website or email can tell you what exactly will work for you; in fact, they often distract us from what’s most important – actually writing.

My path went something like this…

At first, I traveled for traveling’s sake. To experience the freedom of the open road and all that jazz. I was a bum. It was pure. It was beautiful. And then, the writing bug bit me and now travel plays…

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The narrative journalism oath

1/29/08
Karl Schoenberger author of Levi’s Children: coming to terms with human rights in the global marketplace on narrative journalism:

“When the human rights narrative abandons the pretext of objectivity and crosses over into the realm of pure entertainment, it can become as preposterous as it is insidious.

The problem begins with the occasional purple-prose narrative journalism that reveals shocking tales of egregious human rights violations but neglects to follow up on the factual chain of events or to place the sordid tale into a broader context. The consumer of a newspaper article or a TV newsmagazine expose feels absolved of personal responsibility after experiencing a delicious emotional revulsion to the outrage, without being asked to think about how to prevent it from happening again. For an ephemeral moment,…

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Pray to Jesus, Obama ain't one of 'em Muslims

Barak Obama isn’t Muslim.

You can ask him. He’ll tell you.

Neither am I. But I’ve spent a lot of time around Muslims whose moral fabric, ethics, and patriotism were as good, if not better than most Americans.

The emails circulating around the country saying that Obama is a Muslim are a blight on our political process and an insult to the American people.

It’s disturbing that accusations of belonging to a certain religion have any positive or negative value whatsoever in politics. Whatever happened to religious freedom or all that equality mumbo jumbo in the constitution?

Obama vehemently denies the accusations, stating that he has attended the same Christian church for over twenty years and that he prays to Jesus. He does it eloquently and, unfortunately, he has had…

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Things I’m excited about: Finding Osama at Sundance & Bliss

1. Morgan Spurlock’s new film Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden recently debuted at the Sundance Film festival. I probably won’t be able to see it for some time since films like this don’t come to a theater near me in Muncie, Indiana. So, I’ll have to wait for the DVD. Until then here’s a taste:

2. Eric Weiner’s book The Geography of Bliss. Weiner a former NPR correspondent banished to report from the world’s most depressing places visits the happiest places on Earth. I’m all about chasing an idea from culture to culture and trying to make sense of it. It’s a bold move looking for something as abstract…

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The end of Litmus-gate

Let’s retire the use of “gate” as a suffix to signify a scandal. It’s overdone, uncreative, and annoys the crap out of me. This morning on the news they talked about “boot-gate,” which is about Tom Brady, the New England Patriots QB who was seen in New York wearing a walking cast. The original gate of course was Watergate, which is the name of the hotel that Nixon’s flunkies broke into and eventually led to his impeachment. Tom Brady’s boot has nothing to do with paper shredding, hotels, the President, or a scandal. Hell, it’s two weeks until the Superbowl.

Let’s stop the madness before some famous person scandalously hops a gate, steals a gate, or is hit with a gate and we are subjected…

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China wants cheap stuff

At the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland the world complained that China doesn’t buy enough stuff from the rest of us.

China’s response: “Just sell more things to us cheaper than made in China!”

Reported on the NY Times Davos Diary….

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American Apparel Ad

American Apparel, operator of the largest garment factory in the USA, is known for its controversial, racy ads. Now they are venturing into the controversial world of politics. Their new ad takes immigration head on.

In the NY Times:

In a new series of ads, American Apparel is moving in a political direction. The cause is immigration reform, and the ads say in part that the status quo “amounts to an apartheid system” and should be overhauled to create a legal path for undocumented workers to gain citizenship in the United States.

I don’t feel educated enough to praise or criticize AA’s stance in the complex immigration debate. But I do think that if more clothing companies and/or brands would not try to distance themselves from…

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