Tweetables by Blaire Briody (@blairebriody on Twitter):
“Those stories that can’t seem to get away from you. You keep thinking about them. I always try to pursue these when that’s the case.”
“I think one criticism book editors will give magazine journalists is that their book proposal sounds like a magazine article. With the North Dakota book, I wanted more of those through lines.”
“I love the reporting process even though it’s a lot of hard work. Getting into great conversations with people, that’s what it domes down to, coming home from an interview and feeling really excited about the material.”
“For me, the first draft is pretty awful. It’s like pulling teeth every single day getting it down.”
“I think I’ve seen that talent is only a small part of the equation especially with journalism because good reporting is good writing.”
“The ordinary can always become extraordinary if you give them enough time. Everyone can be a fascinating character if you peel back enough layers.”
For episode 77, I welcome Blaire Briody, that’s @blairebriody on Twitter. She is a freelance journalist who has written for The New York Times, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Fast Company, Glamour, among others. Her first nonfiction book, The New Wild West: Black Gold, Fracking, and Life in a North Dakota Boomtown. The book was the 2016 finalist for the Lukas Work-in-Progress Award from Columbia Journalism School and Harvard University, and she received the Richard J. Margolis Award for social justice journalism in 2014.
Blaire won Proximity Magazine’s second annual narrative journalism prize for her piece “It Takes a Boom,” which chronicles Cindy Marchello, the lone woman in the vast fracking sites in North Dakota.
Ted Conover, author of several books and immersion journalist of the highest order, judged the contest, you can also hear him back on Ep. 50 of The Creative Nonfictoin Podcast, and here’s what he had to say about Blaire’s gold-medal piece:
This vivid portrait of a woman trying to work oil fields during the fracking boom rings totally true—we seldom meet people like Cindy Marchello in narrative journalism, but I don’t doubt for a second they’re here. I love the frankness and the matter-of-factness. Both Blaire Briody and her subject won my heart, and admiration.
Speaking of being thankful, reviews and ratings have been flowing in and I want to extend a big, big thanks to those who are doing that and taking advantage of my editing offer as a result. What’s this? In exchange for an HONEST—it doesn’t have to be a good one, just an honest one—review on iTunes, I’m offering an hour of my time to work with you on a piece of writing. All you have to do is leave your review and when it posts, email me a screenshot of it. As long it’s postmarked any time between Nov. 2017 and the end of Dec. 2017, the offer stands. Reviews are the new currency and your help will go a long way toward building the community this podcast sets out to make, to empower others to pick up the pen or the camera or the microphone and do work that scratches that creative itch.
The first half of this interview had to be completely cut out.
Why? There were some nasty internet gremlins wreaking all kinds of havoc with our connection. It sounded like an old, old Apple computer chugging in the background with some heavy thumps thrown in, maybe an aquarium’s aerator. I mean, it was weird, but more than that it was extremely distracting, so instead of putting you through that, fair listener, I’m going to sum up that first part of the interview in a few hundred words, then we’ll get to the second half that I recorded through a different connection and that sounds just fine.