Literary Journalism, edited by Norman Sims & Mark Kramer

edited by Norman Sims & Mark KramerI picked up Literary Journalism: A New Collection of the Best American Nonfiction because I’ve been experimenting with the genre.  Or so I thought.  The subtitle of this collection, edited by Norman Sims and Mark Kramer, both trained journalists, is indicative of the confusion inherent in the genre.  Nonfiction, as it turns out, appears in many different forms and styles.  This collection pays particular attention to what the editors call “Literary Journalism.” The essays in this collection are heavily researched and have the objectivity of journalism with the attention to language of fiction.  Almost.  There are places in which the research gets in the way of the crafting of language. Places, for example, where the author feels it necessary to list all eleven businesses along a particular stretch of a riverbank where the listing of two or three would have sufficed (and been less tedious).  And then there’s tone. Continue reading

Memoir, Schmemoir – Just Write the Damned Thing!

In my “it’s a new year, let’s do something productive” stage, I’ve begun serious work on a memoir.  The plan is to write eight interlocking essays that will also stand on their own – meaning a reader could theoretically read any one essay from the collection and have a complete narrative without needing to read the entire collection while at the same time providing a book-length narrative that is cohesive and engaging when read altogether.  So far, the essays have been roughly outlined, titles have been played with, and the first essay of the collection is in the drafting stages.  Things were moving along just swimmingly until Continue reading