Home > Writing > Read this story by Eric Welsh now.

Read this story by Eric Welsh now.

June 28, 2011

I’m a big fan of Longform.org, a site that collects top-notch longform journalism so good that you might never want to type another word or conduct another interview again. Each magazine piece is so good — and often so long — that it can cause one to question what we do as community journalists. It shows me that, as a writer, I have a long way to go. Most stuff printed in our newspapers — both community and daily — wouldn’t measure up to the type of journalism we see in magazines.

There is, of course, the matter of time; we don’t have months to throw at a story. And there’s also the issue of space.

But what we can match, although we often fail to do so, is magazine journalists’ use of voice. That is, writing that, by way of its sheer verve, energy and technique, delivers the reader to a story that may otherwise be unremarkable or, maybe, remarkable but somewhat predictable.

That’s what has me so excited about Chilliwack Progress sports reporter Eric Welsh‘s four-part tale of a local basketball player battling cancer. The story itself follows a semi-predictable pattern: star athlete faces obstacle, struggles to overcome. But Eric’s writing makes the story more than that. And for that you should read it, if only to be challenged to do him one better. And that would be a challenge.

As an example: The series begins thusly:

The house is quiet. Everyone is asleep and the only sounds she hears are the hum of the refrigerator and the occasional car driving past on Alexander Avenue.

She is not asleep.

Lot of trouble with that lately.

Slightly built, she moves cat-like around the darkened apartment until she reaches his bedroom door.

She opens it just enough to slip through, and sidles over to his bed.

And she watches.

She breathes a silent sigh of relief as she sees his chest rising and falling, the rhythmic in-and-out of healthy lungs at work.

She follows this same routine every night, momentarily comforted yet forever haunted by the thought that one night her baby will be gone.

Such a strange thing to worry about with an 18-year-old boy.

Read part one here, part two here, and part three here. Part four is coming on Thursday.

Categories: Writing
  1. July 4, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    The best site I like is longreads.com. I have been devouring everything on that site for quite some time. It links to an eclectic mix and I am constantly printing out (yes, I hat reading on a computer) stories to read at night. Mother Jones, AWL, Esquire — they are all there. Amazing, amazing stuff. Incredibly satisfying, yet overwhelmingly depressing when one realizes we simply cannot do this stuff. So, I treat it as an addictive off-hours pleasure. Welsh’s piece is good. THIS we CAN do. And, if it means setting someone loose for a good chunk of time and letting this game or that game or that council meeting slide, so be it.

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