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The Sunday Letter

Sunday Sundries | Vol. 15 (The Return!)

September 27, 2015

It’s back!

After taking a summer hiatus while I finished a Data Journalism course and subsequent travels to Portland, San Francisco, and across the country, I’m ready to bring back the Sunday Sundries.

I’ve missed these – they’re where I get to give a little update on my life, as well as recommend some of the best of the best stuff I’ve enjoyed reading lately.

In terms of updates: Oh boy. There’s a lot!

I’m still in the process of uploading my daily road trip accounts. I’ve also got an amazing photoshoot from Toronto to finish editing, and I started my Masters in Journalism program on Labour Day in September (no rest for the wicked).

School has been pretty intense. Most days I’m on campus from 9am-5pm. And a couple days a week I stay until 8:30pm.

They give us assignment after assignment in order to get us whipped into shape. They call the first eight weeks ‘bootcamp’ (although ‘basic training’ would be more Canadian).

I’ve been practicing things like radio writing, copy editing, voiceover, lede writing, shooting streeters, etc. ad nauseum.

There’s a stack of books about three feet high I need to read. It’s sitting by my couch and is visible from nearly everywhere in the apartment, so I’m constantly reminded to go and read a few pages.

This goose video I made as a bit of a reprieve from serious work.

But do you know what? I think the onslaught is working. I actually feel like a better writer. Time will tell if this is just a placebo.

I also picked up a new job as Social Media Coordinator (caps not included) for King’s Journalism. I manage their Twitter and Facebook, and am also underway with preparing some new social media platforms for them, taking photos and covering live events.

So far I really enjoy it because it keep me in the loop with everything that’s happening on campus, and gives me some extra grocery money. It does make for a busy time though.

To top it off, this past week I caught a cold and was feeling pretty miserable for a few days. I also had to run to the dentist for a filling during the first week of class and sat through my night class wondering the whole time if I was drooling slightly from the left side of my frozen mouth.

Some new enlightenments: I’m really enjoying radio. The thought of telling stories through sound, being far away and yet being able to whisper intimately into someone’s ear gives me chills.

I also re-watched with satisfaction two of my favourite childhood films, ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ and ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service‘ and noticed the prevalence of radio in both. Yeah, I totally own this!

My professor in radio had some great writing advice:

Pick a person. Someone who is interested in what you have to say. Someone who you like talking to. Someone who likes listening to your stories. Write like you’re writing for them. Make sure it’s not a lover, because occasionally they piss us off, and you don’t want that to affect your writing. Make it a friend.

Brilliant.

This Friday the journalism gods must have heard my and my classmates’ prayers, because we had no classes. I’m taking the time to conquer assignments, get caught up with reading, finish editing a beautiful photoshoot I did in Toronto (see the head image for a teaser) and to give this blog some much-needed TLC.

So there you have it. That’s pretty much all caught up with my life, and without further ado, here are my Sunday reading recommendations:

Δ Fatal Distraction: This Pulitzer-Prize-winning piece for a feature about infant death from being left in cars is absolutely heartbreaking and sympathetic.

Δ The Zen of Joan Didion: I read this in preparation for a radio interview I did this week. Written by a Halifax journalist, any more insight into JD is always gold in my books.

Δ Munro’s Books: Founded in 1963 by Alice Munro (before she had been published) and her then-husband, Munro’s Books in Victoria, BC is a huge, independent book store.

Δ “I thought I would always shoot black-and-white film and be in my 20s”: A 25 year journey from amateur to pro photographer, in China. This is from the excellent National Geographic Proof online photo blog.

Δ Why Green Tea Doesn’t Come Cheap: A good read about tea economics.

Δ Teach Yourself Coding in Ten Years: American computer scientist and Google researcher Peter Norvig fights back against the idea that we can (or should) learn everything quickly.

Δ Photographing Human Trafficking in New York: From the excellent New York Times Lens Blog.

Δ  How Two 18th Century Lady Pirates Became BFFs on the High Seas: A fascinating and flukey history. I wish there was more writing on this!

Δ  Do you know the origin of the phrase, ‘Quiet Time‘?

Δ The Century of the Self is a four-part documentary series by English filmmaker Adam Curtis. It looks at how Freud’s theories influenced consumer culture and identity (teaser: part three has radical lesbian nuns). It was great and I’m going to check out more of his work!

    What do you think?

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