Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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What Journalism Taught Me About Writing & Humanity

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What goes on backstage. Coeur de Pirate’s sound test at Summer fest 2011.

Anyone lived in a pretty how town…~ E.E. Cummings

As a teenager, I wasn’t much for journalism. I defined myself as a creative writer, too artistic and impatient for plain old facts. I didn’t like sports and never wanted to write the expose on the cafeteria pizza. I wrote stream-of-conscious poetry for guys who didn’t like poetry and didn’t like me.

I was an idiot.

Journalism is storytelling. At the Quebec City Chronicle-Telegraph (the oldest newspaper in North America), I focused mostly on the small stuff: charity drives, local teams, high school graduations, restaurant openings – the minutia of the small English-speaking community.

As small papers dry up or battle for readership online, we’re losing human-interest stories. We may never read Shelly Brown’s obituary,  Shelly who spent thirty years working the counter at the deli; who gave the community three great children, who dedicated her life to rescuing dogs.

Why care about Shelly, the smiling deli worker? We have this to read:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Syria.
10 Things Amanda Knox Has in Common with a Unicorn.
15 Pugs Who Look Like Dictators. 

Just like there’s a time and place for the above, (lunch breaks), there’s a time and place for newspapers: Sunday afternoons. I can’t remember the last time I sat with a newspaper article, chewed the story over, let it linger. I love blogs, but getting the story out is stressed more than getting the story out right.

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What it means to be a writer

I finally understand the term media circus.

The only other important thing to be said about Fear & Loathing at this time is that it was fun to write, and that’s rare — for me, at least, because I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it’s a bit like fucking — which is fun only for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling. – Hunter S. Thompson

I’ve managed to wiggle into a newspaper here: one of those tiny, seemingly insignificant publications on the verge of dying out. The anglo community is small and incestuous and I’m on the fringes. The new girl. The strange one. I love my work because I believe it’s meaningful in some sense. It’s a chance to speak the truth. I love talking to people, asking questions, figuring out stories. Continue reading