plane from Chicago (where I was then based) to Kansas, I had a very clear
picture in my mind of what sort of woman would be married to a man who would be
attracted to Tammy Faye Bakker. I was thinking, in no particular order,
Southern accent, squeaky clean blonde, gingham-checked dress, maybe a passel of
children, maybe gales of tears.
found a woman with a dark page boy haircut, decked in a few pieces of tasteful
and expensive gold jewelry, sipping a Scotch on the rocks, finishing her
master’s degree thesis on the lesbian poet Adrienne Rich.
journalist has many stories like this. We all learn by experience about the
surprising, mind-boggling array of human individuality. This is why I know
everyone has an amazing story to tell.
If you want
to tell your story badly, I can help you get started by showing you what I’ve
learned about stories in years of whacking out newspaper and magazine articles.
I can tell you about the high and low points of writing four books, covering an
eclectic array of subjects, from the mysterious Cold War murder of an American
aristocrat; to the eighteenth-century chemist James Smithson and his mysterious
bequest to America; to the intrepid, eccentric scientists who first ventured
into uncharted Egypt and mapped the pyramids and ancient monuments, and,
finally, last year, to the marvelous, movie-esque underworld that is the Holy
Land trade in biblical antiquities.
talk about how and why I chose my subjects, and how you can choose yours. We
will discuss some of the great nonfiction writers and learn how to seek out
role models for specific genres. We will talk about how to organize thoughts,
manage time, make a research schedule, take notes, write an outline and
finally, strap into the chair and put it all down on the computer screen.
Wait for the