On being inspired to write (and report) people’s stories

I am inspired today. And I have news and journalism to thank yet again. And I want to share the trigger to my excitement with the world. It’s an amazing story that deserves the word amazing, when most things we read that have that word attached to them probably aren’t. But this is:

A man survived DAYS at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean after the boat he was on sank… and it gets better, thanks to the details in this story!

Take 3 minutes and read this piece  – or 5 and watch the rescue video too – you will not believe the details and story here. It made me glad I awoke at 3:54am this morning just to lead me to randomly come across this article in my Facebook feed…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/man-survives-60-hours-at-bottom-of-atlantic/2013/12/03/cd1e432a-5c4c-11e3-8d24-31c016b976b2_story.html?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost surving underwater

You read the headline and you think, this has to be made up. A man at the bottom of the ocean for days? No? But yes! But wait, he’s from Nigeria and every scam email that asks for money is about a Nigerian man, so this is just a scam right? But no! This is an Associated Press and Washington Post story, where they include the extra levels of verification they’ve gone through to make sure this is legit, because we’ve all been punked a few too many times these days by what we read in “reliable” sources.

This is why I LOVE nonfiction!!! Real nonfiction. Nonfiction that can be trusted to not include made up stuff. Not that I don’t also like “extra” creative nonfiction that has things smudged here or there. I do. It has its place in certain journals and books. But there is something to be said for the reliability that comes in this type of package.

And why I hope you all read news – there are amazing stories being told every day (not nearly as amazing as this one, sure) but worth getting through some of the boring, mundane, crap just to find jewels like this story that are so inspiring… to life and living, sure… but (more importantly) to writing – be that fiction or nonfiction, journalism or creative writing.

If a man living underwater for days after starting what he thought to be his demise on the toilet and drinking one bottle of coke over 60 hours in the sea to save his life doesn’t inspire awe of real life stories, I don’t know what does.

I love it – love the story, love that this is possible, love how hard the reporters and editors worked to fact-check everything to verify that this did indeed happen and love the small details that add to the experience of the read. Love, love love love. I hope you do too!!

What do you think? Does this inspire you to write and tell people’s stories?

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