I arrived late to journalist Nancy Rommelmann’s lecture this morning, and I’m disappointed because hearing her talk was one of the highlights of my Summer Documentary Program experience so far. I’m a print/web journalism major and because of that, everything she said about writing spoke to me, but I think even the students more interested in activism than journalism took away a lot from the lecture as well. When Nancy told us some personal stories, that also resonated with me. I learned that she didn’t start her journalism career until she was 30 years old. When she said this, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat comforted. I’m 21 years old and I have this idea in my head that I need to know right now what I want to do with my life. It’s probably because I would like to know, though. I think photography is my calling but making audio pieces these last two weeks were a fulfilling experience. Who knows? At this point, all I’m certain about is I want to tell stories for the rest of my life and participating in this program has made that idea even more clear to me…. so, thank you Rose and Phil.
Anyway, here’s some advice we got from Nancy that maybe you can apply to your work or life.
Make the universal, personal (in your storytelling)
If something intrigues you, readers will be intrigued as well
Everyone wants to share their story but they might not know it yet → JUST ASK
Follow your instincts and do work you respect/try to focus on what you love, you’ll get there faster
”don’t let people f*** with your stories” because you should protect yourself and the voices you’re using
BE CLEAR… “dazzle me with clarity”
Your objective shouldn’t be to break hearts. Instead, let the voices reveal themselves. And if you want a story to reveal itself, you have to COMMIT to it.
MISTAKES: You’ll make them and it’s OK. Just own it and don’t lie, don’t sentimentalize to make points
“Write a lot” = practice your craft!
Be COURAGEOUS :)
After Nancy’s lecture, I was happy and didn’t think my day could get any better, but it continued to do just that. I ate at Little Big Burger (shout out to Zach for recommending it), bought Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out of It at Powell’s (she’s speaking at the bookstore this Friday!!), then spent time with my cousin and her boyfriend at the Japanese Garden and then in the Alphabet District. I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Until next time,