Wednesday, March 08, 2006

My journalism year: 1996-1997

Here I provide you with some writing from my brief stint as a legitimate journalist from 1996-1997 with the Lawrence, Kansas Lawrnece Daily Journal World.

My biggest thrill at this job was that my first feature story was picked up by the AP wire and circulated through its Midwest bureaus and various Metropoli of the Midwest. Curiously, it does not appear in LexisNexis searches. It was about the phenomenon of slackers in Lawrence, Ks, after Sarah Dunn ranked it as one of the top 10 places to slack in the U.S. Download story here

2. One of my favorite artists, musicians, renaissance men alive is Jon Langford. This is a story about him coming to Lawrence with his abbreviated version of the Waco Brothers: click.

3. My journalist year also coincided with a tribute to the writer William Burroughs, who was living in Lawrence the last years of his life. I did one of the last interviews with Alan Ginsburg before he died. What a lunatic! I asked him if Burroughs had influenced him in his life and writing, and he thought for a second and then came up with this gem: "Yes, William said to me a few years ago when I was for gun control--why wouldn't a person be for it? I thought--'You know, Alan, when they outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns.' Can you believe that?" he crowed as if trying to educate a boy raised by wolves, and continued: "That was one of the most brilliant things I had ever heard." I couldn't bear to tell him that his oracle had plagiarized the NRA.

In any case, while I was working on the Burroughs reunion beat, I also interviewed Patti Smith. Here's the story it produced: click.

4. Lawrence, Kansas has for a long time had a vibrant music scene, especially indie rock, neo-classic country and bluegrass. Here's a story I did on the recent history of the Lawrence music scene: click.

5. Here's a review of a novel by Wendell Berry. I didn't like it much, as you'll see, but I enjoyed writing about how it didn't like it. Click.

6. A review of an interesting book that follows filmmaker wannabes, called What I really want to do is direct: click.

7. Review of an excellent book by James Howard Kunstler on zoning laws, slum lords, and developers that have turned (and continue to turn) the U.S. into a cycle of decaying-demolishing-constructing stripmalls: Click.

8. Here's my best restaurant review in which I managed to incorporate Henry David Thoreau. It got me free Vietnamese food there for about five years: Click.

I'll stop there for now, fans.

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