Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Shape of Her Drawing

I am working on a profile of a prominent illustrator these days. I had a pretty good idea how I want this article to look like, and I only hope that the result will please me.
I have once read a profile of Mister Rogers, by Tom Junod, and I was impressed. Ever since then I always tried to do something similar and up to now I did not have an opportunity. That does not mean that the stories can be compared; I see the Junod's story mainly as a role model, an ideal that I am striving to achieve. I really like how he managed to capture the voice of the children's literature in this article. The explanations, like an ophtalmologist is a doctor who take care of the eyes, make perfect sense here. And we really are able to get the feelikng of Mister Rogers, and not only him, but the whole Mister Rogers phenomenon.
The other story that I read before starting to work on my own story was Walt Harrington's The Shape of Her Dreaming. This is a profile of a poetess Rita Dove, a story about how she is creating a poem, and about the creative process itself. It is amazing how the journalist was able to capture such an elusive thing as the process of writing a poem is. Of course, both of them had much more time for their stories as journalists usually have. Junod met with Fred Rogers at least a couple of times, and Harrington asked the poetess to keep a diary until the poem is finished. She got back to him after several months; he then interviewed her for more than seven hours, and then it took him more than a week to write the article.
In general, I have two to three hours, sometimes a little more, to talk to the subject of my story, and then two to three days at best to work on the article. It is not typical of Slovene journalists to spend a lot of time with their subject/s and I can only hope that one day this practice will change.
But, I must add, it takes more than just time to write such stories. It takes talent, too (although some people say that literary journalism is 10 percent muse and 90 percent hard work), and even more importantly, the guts to experiment and not to be afraid of what will happen with the article. Just as the Rita Dove somehow said, sometimes we should forget the readers ( I meand we should stop worring about how they will accept our story) and write for ourselves.
And then see what happens.

1 comment:

naesia said...

It should be public - I love your blog! Because is something I was looking for - a shortcut from someone who know more about certain topic :) About the topic I want to find out more. Yes, I'm lazy (but my friend says that this is in all of us).