Tuesday, November 25, 2008

existential journalist mannifesto

I met a journalist today from Bosnia. He drives an old white Thunderbird and wears a Seattle Supersonics jacket.

In his country, he worked in radio. His job was to navigate the corruption of a shattered nation. He left in 1993, when was war was beginning to get ugly.

In this country, he used to work an online news source. He compiled news articles for people like himself, former Yugoslavians who want to keep in touch with the old country. He was trying to draw connections and maintain relationships between people, scattered around the world. They are connected by their past lives.

He recently decided that he does not want to write about Bosnia anymore. He will never forget Bosnia, but his relationship to it has changed.

Now, I want to talk about existential journalism.

In my life, I have a collection of characters. Strippers, war veterans, authors of cabalist meditation, drug addicts, professional sailors, homeless orphans, wealthy successful artisans, members of the fattened proletariat, all sorts of people. And I want to share them with you.

These are people who have at some point in their life, lost their minds. The universe, as it presents itself to them no longer makes sense. They must deconstruct it and put it back together. Something happened which they do not understand.

They dwell upon that moment of survival. It is that time in their life which they came face to face with their mortality. They got in touch with the part of their human nature that produces both great acts of goodness and acts of great evil.

Am I interested in any specific culture? No. Am I interested in any specific world event? No. I am interested in people who look at the character rolls that the global theatre makes available for us, as humans. I am interested in the people who reject the rolls that the casting director is looking for.

Talk to everybody. There is no single place where these people may be hiding. The key to finding these people is exposing your self to as many people as possible. Be vulnerable.

I am able to relate to these people because I am one of them. And this course has given me opportunity to reflect upon my identity as a writer. What do I want to write about? I want to write about the things I love to read about. I want to write about the things I love to experience.

My mind is very simple. Do not be fooled by my unorganized appearance. I look this way because I am having difficulty fitting the world into my mind. It doesn’t fit in there. In turn, I look at the world as a very surreal and mysterious thing. My world view is that of an 8-bit computer generated graphic.

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