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RUN Author Wins SPJ Mark of Excellence

Jaycen was awarded the Society of Professional Journalists Region 8 Mark of Excellence Non-Fiction Magazine Article category, announced Mar. 30. Her article “Mr. Universe. Lonely Hearts and Einstein in Love: The Personal Side of Science” is a feature-length profile of former New York Times science editor and now self-dubbed “cosmic correspondent” Dennis Overbye.

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East-West Meets Far North

I lived in Kirkenes, Norway for five weeks this summer, and I could not put into words what it mean or how it felt. Thanks to Bittner’s op-ed, I can share with you a little about why it shook me, why I’m in love with some far-away thing, why I was scared and elated, at the top of the world and the depths of me, why I couldn’t sleep, why I did some of the best reporting and deepest loving of my life there. Why I’ll never be the same, why no one can quite “get” that.

I’ll keep trying to tell it when i’m a better reporter. But for now, see the New York Times editorial on my home away from home…

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On Writing: Art of Darkness

This incredible, short piece by Pico Iyer captures some of the heavy psychological burdens of creativity. Indeed, many of my literary colleagues talk about the writer’s “pain cave,” while a theme in my young writer’s life sang of a “curse of consciousness.” Neither is a very far cry from Pico’s “Art of Darkness”:

“To what extent is the price of immortality humanity, as you could put it? Must the revolutionary artist ignore — even flout — the basic laws of decency that govern our world in order to transform that world? “Perfection of the life, or of the work,” as Yeats had it. “And if it take the second,” he went on, the intellect of man “must refuse a heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.” It was an ancient question even then..”

Continue Reading Pico Iyer’s “Art of Darkness” at The New York Times–>

Iyer’s forthcoming Art of Stillness book will be the second on the TED Books imprint, a collaboration between TED conferences and Simon & Schuster.

Read more about Iyer/TED Books–>

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Masters of the Universe and other characters from the heart of Texas in July

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In blistering Texas summer heat, the Mayborn Tribe gathers each summer in north Texas to talk about the craft, learn from each other and soak up the spirit of nonfiction writing.

This year’s event was centered around Narratives on the Cutting Edge, Writing about Science, Technology, Medicine and Innovation. Last year’s event dealt with digging into the past to bring historical narratives to life.
Both were rich themes with space to explore, share insight and dig into the down-and-dirty of nonfiction. In the middle of three days of mayhem, there’s a suit-and-tie (or boots and jeans, depending on how Texan you are) Literary Lights Dinner and Mayborn awards program, just a few ticks from rivaling the Pulitzers.

The Mayborn contest has categories in newspaper, essay, manuscript, and
reported narrative, hand-crafted trophies, $12,000 in cash prizes, competitors from nearly every major American newspaper and winners from as far away as New Zealand. This year’s Literary Lights included a live auction of signed first-editions of Larry McMurtry’s books and an online auction of tens of other signed first-editions of Mayborn speakers-past as a celebration of the tenth anniversary 2014 Mayborn Litearary Nonfiction Conference. Continue reading

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Out of the fiery couldron, a writer emerges

When you find that every cell in your body is motivated toward story-telling— as George says, “stories no one else is telling in ways no one else is telling them”—if your protons and neutrons are spinning and all your chemistry has undergone catalysis, it is possibly due to the introduction of a whole lot of Archer City Magic Dust.  In a terrifying trip to the soft center of a new writer, an Archer City student reflects on what she found out about writing and herself on a few dusty roads in the blazing July heat.

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Center and Main: The intersection at the center of a writer

[Illustration by Eric Nishimoto]

CenterandMain.org is a website for writers, for Texas and for Texas writers, as well as anyone familiar with the kind of camaraderie that comes from a week spent sweating under the sun looking for the kind of stories that transcend the black and white page and cross into the hearts and minds of readers. Archer City is full of them – writers and stories – every July.

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Begging to write about science

So I got into grad school, after completing a large chunk of my studies, considering an interdisciplinary degree, and then deciding to choose the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. Here’s the essay that made them decide to let me in and support my goals. It explains a little about why I love writing about science.

Excerpt: “The first project on which I chose to test this skill set was a UNT chemist who created a compound that offered promising results for a team of scientists trying to solve “the incandescent lamp problem,” as they called it. I immersed in their studies and experiments, documenting interchangeably with photographs, audio, and impromptu questions at a series of interviews with various researchers who each performed different parts of this journey toward successful scientific innovation. The process of documenting their work became like a fast-paced puzzle with many layers of components. The experience was a fascinating whirlwind, and it was my first introduction to many of the basic challenges of communicating—as well as understanding— science. I was determined to work until the story shaped into a multi-media piece that conveyed not only the inherent technical information but also the broader impacts of my sources’ work on society, in a format and on a platform that could
reach non-scientists.”

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