‘Every story we write is a ghost story’

It has been said that a photo is worth a thousand words, but this is not what the group who attended the session titled ‘The Undertaker Takes His Coffee Black’ led by Rob Kaiser decided. When given a picture of Herman Melville and a paragraph about Herman Melville from the book ‘Why Read Moby Dick,’ the whole room felt like they were with Melville more from the excerpt from the book.

How can this be true? Details. The best writing is full of details. You have to ask questions about every aspect of the story. Some will not make it in to your writing, but others will enrich it. I mean do people want to know about what color shoe laces your subject is wearing? Well they may say no, if asked that way, but that detail will make them feel like they are there. Like they are with that person. And how do you do this? Ask a lot of questions.

You’re going to freak people out and make them think you’re weird. They are going to think you have a mental problem.

What are journalists outside of freaks? They are people who write ghost stories. Kaiser went so far as to say that every story we write is a ghost story. We may not be bringing back dead people, but we are bringing back dead time. It is our job to make sure people are not desensitized and make sure that people still feel anger, sadness and happiness when it is necessary.

Every story we write is a ghost story. What we are trying to dig out of the ether is dead moments. Its incredible magic. We are raising the dead through moments and incarnations that no longer exist.

-Rebecca Smith

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