Writer Wednesday’s: Storytellers at Their Best

10 Oct

The good ones are found in the nooks and crannies if you look hard enough, and I found one today. A good one.

You see most people think they can tell a story, and some can. But only a few are really good storytellers, the kind you get curious about, the kind you want to get to know. Chris Stapleton for instance. He hit the country scene a few years ago and people were wowed with his songs and ability to tell it with heart and soul. Paulo Cohelo and Laura Esquivel weaved journeys into epic stories that captured my attention and inspired. Kurt Sutter with his Sons of Anarchy and Vince Gillian with Breaking Bad imagined worlds with deep, complex, strong and flawed characters in powerful stories that humbled me as a writer.

You get stories in songs, books, TV shows, and movies every one of them requires a special something. I like it when I discover or remember one. I see them and it inspires me to get off my ass and be better.

And that’s what happened today.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I recently was gifted a Hulu subscription, and found a new treasure chest of stories. Some good, others not really my style. And in this search to find the good I rediscovered my interest in documentaries. I watched a couple great ones, but the one that stood out today was Page One: Inside the The New York Times. I imagine it may be similar to the one I have yet to see, The Fourth Estate, but focuses on different parts of the journalistic world.


Page One: Inside the New York Times

In this story I found the great storyteller I had forgotten about I had lost. David Carr is a gritty, humble, and staunch defender of journalistic integrity and the freedom of the press. But beyond that he was a great storyteller, based in truth, and I was reminded of that after watching the film, and inspired to continue my journey no matter how difficult it may be at times.

It’s a difficult period for the press, especially when it’s being attacked by people who don’t like being called out on their lies and who fail to take responsibility for their actions in addition to those complicit in their behavior or cover-up. The press, when it’s at its best, acts as a mirror and uncovers the truth behind the dark corners of what people are hiding. Some people confuse news stories with columnists and that at times is the problem. There is a difference. One is news, one is opinion. People forget. The press itself  is a good check and balance for those in power. And I’m glad that this documentary reveals the hard work that goes into being a reporter.

I especially admired Carr, who at one point in his life hit the ultimate low personally and professionally, but was able to turn the corner and find something he was passionate about: storytelling. He not only asked questions, but he asked the right questions. And that’s when you know you have a good one, because not only are they passionately curious and smart, but they’re in this invested in this quest for truth.

When you witness someone bring that sense of integrity and honesty to storytelling, it gut-checks you and makes you wonder, where’s your story?

And so I find myself getting back to it.


Buen Camino, my friends!




12 Responses to “Writer Wednesday’s: Storytellers at Their Best”

  1. Sorryless October 11, 2018 at 7:12 AM #


    Well said. I read something recently which gave me pause. It seems that journalists are now lumped in with lawyers as far as trustworthiness (or lack thereof) is concerned. Of course, this is because of the raging fire that is social media where ‘everybody’ is a journalist but not really. The real journalists, unfortunately, are getting lost in the mix of this bad company.
    Journalism, good journalism, isn’t supposed to be comfortable or convenient, and there are still plenty of great ones out there. We need more peeps such as yourself, looking for ’em.
    Solid doings, as per. 🙂

    • The Guat October 12, 2018 at 1:50 PM #

      That reeeeeeeeally burns me out. Ha someone steals the title of journalist without earning it’s integrity. It’s not exaggerated or sensationalized it’s truth-telling no matter how uncomfortable it is for the person. I speak up because back in the day I was journalist, for something young folk don’t read anymore … newspaper. So I know how hard these people work to get it right and how they have to be ready to back up their stories when the editor calls you in. But granted there are a few that jacked it up by embellishing their stories for attention or prizes, I won’t name names, they know who they are they don’t need any more undue attention. They must have missed their ethics class in J school. (The Wire does a good job of taking a peak in their final season with the Baltimore Sun).

      • Sorryless October 13, 2018 at 7:41 AM #


        You keep speaking up, because we need more of that. Would you believe I’ve never seen The Wire?

        • The Guat October 13, 2018 at 8:03 AM #

          OH MY GOD! I cannot! You need to drop everything tonight and have yourself a Jimmy McNulty, Lester, Omar, Stringer Bell session. The writing and acting are GREAT. One of the best shows ever. It explores the police, the drugs, the system, the city, and eventually the Papers. Giddy up!

          • Sorryless October 13, 2018 at 8:14 AM #

            Based on that recommendation, how can I NOT want to check it out?!!!

  2. bgddyjim October 11, 2018 at 9:24 AM #

    I know, right?! I can’t wait till Hillary gets that knock on the door at 3am in the morning… “Ma’am, this is the FBI”… Somebody pass the popcorn!

    • The Guat October 12, 2018 at 2:06 PM #

      Whether it’s the guy in the White House, the lady that should have been there, big bankers on wall street, federal judges, movie producers, or the gluten-free kale salad shop around the corner. People shouldn’t rely on their entitlement beliefs and believe they’re above law because they have money. Investigative journalism exposes crimes regardless of Party, so people shouldn’t try to vilify the press. Most people that do are usually guilty in some way and don’t like the mirror that real journalists are using to reflect the truth (not website owners, bloggers, TV commentators, or people who say they are and don’t even know what a nut graph is). Investigative journalism is a great avenue for people to know the truth. Checks and balances. Because of David Carr’s reporting the CEO of the Tribune Company was exposed and eventually resigned.

      • bgddyjim October 12, 2018 at 3:36 PM #

        If you really believe that, it is unfortunate indeed.

      • bgddyjim October 12, 2018 at 3:42 PM #

        Sorry, which parts, right?

        Investigative journalism exposes crimes regardless of party. That’s laughable and entirely untrue, which is why, exactly, people should call out the press when they make stuff up.

        And pretty much everything you wrote after that makes you sound like a slappy. (That’s like a lap dog… we use that term in the midwest to describe football fans who are slavishly devoted to their team to a point where it’s difficult for them to confront reality).

        • The Guat October 12, 2018 at 6:13 PM #

          I have no problems with reality. You can call me whatever names you want if name calling is the strength of your argument then your bias against the real press is evident. Investigative journalism shouldn’t threaten people. It does what it’s supposed to do, investigate corruption, wrongdoings, or crimes … they brought the downfall of Cosby and Weinstein and exposed the Catholic Church, but when it came to people like Roy Moore, that’s when people decided that the truth wasn’t real. Journalists don’t make stuff up, if they make a mistake, they correct it. If they make stuff up, then they’re not journalists and shouldn’t dignify the profession. David Carr was a good journalist, too bad you didn’t read his work .

          • bgddyjim October 12, 2018 at 6:30 PM #

            Roy Moore? I don’t know where you get your news. He was a terrible candidate. You know what, I’m not going to keep this going. Whatever you say, just stick with it.

          • The Guat October 13, 2018 at 7:33 AM #

            He was a terrible candidate that was the point, and the newspapers and tv news reported his transgressions, but Moore and many of his supporters claimed the papers and news were “making stuff up”. That was unfortunate. And thanks! I will keep advocating for freedom of the press and investigative journalism I think it’s important. Thanks for the discussion.

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