Stories have layers, so dig deeper

Jun 7, 2007

I’ve hinted at my exasperation before, but I’ll say it more clearly: hearing the news out of Israel and Palestine for the last 20 years has inured me to the struggles in the Mideast, since the factions there don’t seem very interested in peace.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Six Days War between the Arab nations and Israel. Listening to the NPR series on the Six Day War, watching the documentary Six Days in June on UNC TV, and reading through the BBC News feature on the 1967 Middle East War has given me insight into the layered history of the region and renewed my interest in news from there.

Meanwhile, on NPR yesterday, author Ann Fadiman discussed the familiar essay. “The hallmark of the familiar essay is that it is autobiographical, but also about the world,” Fadiman says. She was asked whether blogs are the next stage in the familiar essay. “There are a lot of terrible blogs,” she answered, but many bloggers “write beautifully.”

The StoryBlogging idea is still percolating — storyblogging blends oral history, memoir blogging and family stories — and so I was interested in hearing what Fadiman would say about the type of blogging I’ve been trying to do for the last seven yeasr. “The hallmark of the familiar essay is that it is autobiographical, but it’s also about the world. A lot of bloggers I read do just one or the another and don’t combine the two.”

Next week, I’ll be in Cleveland, and I’m planning on writing a few familiar essays — storyblogging entries — here at I’ll call them Cleveland Chronicles. Watch for them starting Monday.

And, on The Story yesterday, Dick Gordon talked with hockey coach Neil Henderson (starts at 31:30), and whether you like or understand hockey, this is a fantastic conversation to hear. Henderson, in his Canadian accent, imparts wonderful lessons about playing hard, ignoring insults and working for your achievements.

Anton Zuiker

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