Forums Writing Chapter 1 On Transparency and Fire

On Transparency and Fire

Evening everyone,

A few days ago we published a piece at the Notebook by Josh Johnson called How Travel Saved my Life. It’s notable for several reasons, but for now–as we’re all just beginning new paths here with one another–I’d just like to note how this piece shows courage. It’s totally transparent. It deals with life and death and doesn’t turn away from anything. It’s not very ‘polished’ but raw, which points to something particular about Matador: from the very beginning our currency has always been passion. Among the team we call it fire.

The other day I brought up a quote I’d read from Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com. He said that “transparency is a necessary ethic of the age.”

Everyone here is at least in some way moving towards a dream. As we head downstream I offer this to everyone: be unafraid of transparency, fire. Bring it.

View Profile 2009-08-30 05:04:23 PDT

I loved that piece. I actually got a little chill at the end of it. I think it demonstrates quite well that not all travel writing is about the destination. Sometimes it’s about the power of travel, and how the act of traveling can change a person. And while sometimes there’s a pressure to try to write articles that can appeal to everyone, I think some of the best travel writing is deeply personal.

View Profile 2009-08-30 13:40:46 PDT

Yeah, Katie. This goes for any sort of writing. Really to be a good travel writer, you need to be a good writer first.

That piece brought tears to my eyes. It is beautiful and it could be a piece about grief or family. It doesn’t really fall into the category of “travel writing” alone.

Josh used his true voice and that is what good and engaging writing *must* be about.

View Profile 2009-08-30 13:45:03 PDT

It is a beautiful piece, and-as y’all have said-I think this is largely because he is being so honest. I also think the point about using your true voice is a really important one. Dunno about you, but I sometimes get distracted by trying to be too clever with my words. Sometimes it works, but often it detracts from the power of the writing.

View Profile 2009-08-30 17:13:18 PDT

“I think it demonstrates quite well that not all travel writing is about the destination. Sometimes it’s about the power of travel, and how the act of traveling can change a person.”

Well put, Katie.

View Profile 2009-08-31 19:17:38 PDT

“I think it demonstrates quite well that not all travel writing is about the destination. Sometimes it’s about the power of travel, and how the act of traveling can change a person.”

Well put, Katie.

I’d second that too, in fact it’s the trip that usually matters we all end up in the same destination/fate at the end of our lifes anyway.

View Profile 2009-09-02 10:47:10 PDT

I loved this piece – it also sent shivers down my spine. Good writing to me usually has something that I can relate to; where the narrator has expressed clearly their thoughts and emotions.

View Profile 2009-09-02 13:52:03 PDT