The Possibilities of the Personal

Leslie Jamison’s speech on writing about personal experiences. “If you honor the complexity of your own life—if you grant us entry into moments that hold shame or hurt or heat, and if you’re willing to follow that heat, to feel out where all the small fires burn, then your readers will trust you.”

Published: Oct 23, 2015
Length: 14 minutes (3,600 words)

Gay Talese and ‘Frank Sinatra Has a Cold’

Gay Talese’s classic 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra with annotations from the author:

“The room cracked with the clack of billiard balls. There were about a dozen spectators in the room, most of them young men who were watching Leo Durocher shoot against two other aspiring hustlers who were not very good. This private drinking club has among its membership many actors, directors, writers, models, nearly all of them a good deal younger than Sinatra or Durocher and much more casual in the way they dress for the evening. Many of the young women, their long hair flowing loosely below their shoulders, wore tight, fanny-fitting Jax pants and very expensive sweaters; and a few of the young men wore blue or green velour shirts with high collars and narrow tight pants, and Italian loafers. Do you have a photographic memory?-eg I go over stuff so much, and go over it again and again and again, that I can remember it forever, almost.-gt A couple of years ago, you told Chris Jones, ‘I don’t take notes in front of people.’-eg Right.-gt So what techniques to do you use to remember such a complicated scene or extended dialogue? You’re describing — in great detail — movement, wardrobe and the location of the various parties. This strikes me as something that would be difficult to capture even in real time.-eg Every night, if I don’t sneak notes in during the day going to the bathroom or something — which I do — I go home and before I go to sleep I write down notes from the whole day, what’s in my mind.-gt”

Author: Elon Green
Published: Oct 8, 2013
Length: 97 minutes (24,432 words)

Vanity Fair’s Bryan Burrough on writing narrative: “people are dying to put down your article”

Published: Aug 6, 2010
Length: 9 minutes (2,485 words)