The End of Travel?

From a recent World Hum piecenonplaces_360 about “Non-Places,” and the constant chorus of naysayers about the globalized world:  It seems kind of strange now, but a while back, before airports became the fortresses they are today, I used to visit them occasionally to read and write. I’m not sure what drew me to them—something about the energy, or the equality, or the possibility of the place. You could start on one side of the world, step over a threshold, and in a few hours, begin a totally different life. I loved that feeling of being at the doorway to everywhere.”  Read the rest here.

Summer School

big0330243152For anyone who wants to sharpen up their storytelling skills, look into the history of New (and newer) Journalism, examine some of the new science on the role of narrative, you might be interested in a class I’m teaching at The Loft in Minneapolis called, The Search for Story: Writing Narrative Nonfiction. The description: “To be a successful nonfiction writer these days, it’s not enough to know how to type, to have a blog, or to be able to put an article together. To write powerfully in today’s media environment, you need to be able tojournalism tell great stories. In this class, we’ll look at the evolution of narrative nonfiction and New Journalism. We’ll review some of the master nonfiction writers and learn how to apply narrative techniques in profiles, travel stories, features, and essays. Advanced or professional writers only. Please submit two writing samples (maximum of 5,000 words per sample) or clips to Loft Education by Friday, June 19 (not postmark deadline). Accepted students notified by July 1.

Your Space

Doris Lessing, from her 2007 Nobel Lecture:doris_lessing

“Writers are often asked, How do you write? With a wordprocessor? an electric typewriter? a quill? longhand? But the essential question is, “Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?” Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words, the words your characters will speak, ideas – inspiration.”

Titanic Awards and Bad Trips

Doug Lansky has a fun new website called the Titanic Awards dedicated to a seriously unappreciated aspect of travel: The bad trip. As we all know, the worse the trip, the better the story about it. I interviewed Lansky about the site, which features interviews with famous travelers like Tim Cahill and Don George commenting on their worst experiences, as well as surveys and videos like Worst Airsickness, Most Dangerous Intersection, and the one below, Worst Subway Commute.