Date of publication: 2017-07-08 18:11
The simple goal of intimate journalism should be to describe and evoke how people live and what they value. That short phrase encompasses the full range of our lives — work, children, faith, anything that we do or that we believe important, everything ordinary and everything extraordinary in our lives.
BILL MOYERS : It was just a year ago on Earth Day you said, “People who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped by influence, by power, by us.” And some of us who have read you and followed you took that as an indication that maybe, maybe the mad farmer is getting a little madder, a little more radical.
But don’t read only for tone or voice but also to de-construct how Smith, Blais and Finkel do what they do. Before writing “The Shape of Her Dreaming,” I re-read Madeleine Blais’s “In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle.” I didn’t want my readers to be reminded that Rita Dove was talking to me, the reporter. I wanted to create the illusion that she was thinking this story out loud. So I studied how Blais had managed to quote her subjects with almost no attribution — as in “she says” or “he says” — and realized she had introduced most of her quotes with colons, allowing her to eliminate the attributions. I shamelessly cribbed the technique.
WENDELL BERRY : Well, hope. And…and in my work, in my…especially in the essays, I’ve always been trying to construct or lay out, map out the grounds of a legitimate, authentic hope. And if you can find one good example, then you’ve got the grounds for hope. If you can change yourself, if you can make certain requirements of yourself that you are then able to fulfill, you have a reason for hope.
After a couple of rambling interviews, the themes of the subject’s life often emerge. It was in these interviews that the homicide detective talked about how he was for the first time afraid on the streets, how he now felt out of his element with the new brand of criminals, how he was being torn apart emotionally by the murders and murderers he was confronting daily, how sometimes he even broke down and wept as he rode home late at night. But in the story, this information is woven into the narrative so it seems as if the subject is thinking it at that point in the story.
Remarks made to no one in the story keep readers from losing themselves in the telling, because it reminds them that events aren’t really happening before their eyes but are being relayed secondhand through an interpreter. Quotes going out into the ether interfere with readers losing themselves in the self-referential boundaries you are trying to create in the story.
WENDELL BERRY : Well when you say you have to stop somebody, in our time, you would. ought to qualify. You don’t mean bomb them. And I didn’t mean stop them by violence, but they do have to be stopped.
There is a vast collection of poetry about trees. Posted below is a small, suggestive sampling. Either the poems are in public domain or contributors have given permission for posting here.