On the why would anyone care to read about you question

On the why would anyone care to read about you question…I would say what I say to my journalism and film students when they tell me that they have no story ideas…

Everyone has a story to tell, this is what journalism is to me at its heart – the stories of all of us, if you will. While journalism is stories about other people, I feel creative nonfiction is stories about other people related to the self or vice versa. Both can be vehicles to explore societal/community issues but creative nonfiction allows philosophy as viewed by the writer to come into play too.

So when you say why would anyone care, I say everyone is interesting even if they don’t know it. Often in journalism when you approach someone to talk to you for a story (even if they know you) they say, “Why do you want to do a story about me? I’m not interesting or special. Why would anyone else care?”  But they are wrong, it is the job of the storyteller to know why that is.

You might be surprised about what people will find interesting. I tell my students to talk to people, just to talk, and always be listening… for something interesting, something unique, something global yet personal and see what the story is there that other people will care about, what about this person will touch other people’s lives. Listening is key to storytelling, even if it is about yourself.

I feel like that’s the same goal of creative nonfiction… except in exploring the self it is sometimes hard to listen to yourself from an outsiders perspective, hard to hear yourself say (think) something that someone else finds universal or far-reaching or a touchstone of compassion. It is hard to get outside of yourself to see your qualities as clearly as you can see someone elses. But that’s worth reaching for (and listening for).

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