Rembrance/Veteran’s Day, Writing Like Chris JonesShareThis
Before we get to my thoughts on writing, I just want take a moment for Remembrance Day/Veteran’s Day:
A sincere thank you to those brave men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms.
This video here comes with a MHK rating – Must Have Kleenex.
….and those were the lucky ones. Heart-wrenching.
Also, today is my brother Jeff’s 31st birthday, so a major Happy Birthday to him!
Love ya bro.
Throughout the course of my day as a blogger, I do a lot of reading.
I have to, given that my career demands I be up on all things hockey, so I use that as an excuse to read the type of click-hungry blurbs that Deadspin chucks up, because frankly, they’re usually more-than-worthy of my clicks in sheer entertainment value.
In the process of “acquiring hockey knowledge,” and digging through Deadspin, I’ve stumbled onto a few non-hockey sites that are must reads.
Foremost of these is the ever-moving, thoughtful, descriptive blog written by Esquire writer Chris Jones. It’s called My Second Empire (I’ve pushed it before, you may recall), and he literally just writes about gutting and fixing up (or more accurately so far, tearing down) an old place for his family, doing as much of it as possible using only two hands, two legs, and sweat. And probably some torso and back and knees too.
I hate Chris Jones, because he writes like your favourite song sounds.
I swear, it’s like music, whatever it is he’s writing about. If I found out one day that literally every column he wrote was in some form of poetic pattern that I’d never heard of, the way that Shakespeare knocked out all that iambic pentameter stuff, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised. It just can’t sound that good without there being some musical bars or beat of some kind behind it.
Whatever it is, I haven’t been able to track it down.
The most valuable thing I think I’ve picked up is that it’s okay to be serious when the time is right. He seems to breathe in life on a daily basis, like he somehow never loses perspective. He’s a big picture guy, it seems.
I don’t often get to write the type of thoughtful pieces that probe the human soul the way Chris does, and I’m jealous of that too.
When I have written about people – like my piece on Travis Rycroft - I think it comes off perfectly fine, but hockey? It’s tough to make a dump-in sound like poetry, but you gotta think – he’s being pretty eloquent about remodelling so I’ve got zero excuse.
Jones’ work, to me, is beyond education. Journalism school may make your writing more technically sound, but there’s no way it can teach the feel behind the words. I hope in time, I can get there too.
I owe a number of people the type of pages-long singing scripts that I’ve yet to attempt – my mother, my uncle Ken, my fiancée, my Dad, Tim Hodgson, my brother, my college roomates and a million others – but I’m not ready to take that swing and miss doing those people proper justice just yet.
I’m tinkering, I’m learning, and as they say, if you wanna be the best, you should learn from the best, so I’ll keep reading.
Hope your Thursday is going swell, friend.
And please, this entry wasn’t meant in any way to be “fishing”, so please refrain from giving me any back pats, as much as they’re appreciated (especially when they’re on sites like Puck Daddy where my boss can see them!). Any advice, however, will be happily taken here.