Sunday, January 31, 2010

Some cities I would like to see

I have finally made it to Maine! It only took 8 hours by car and 8 hours by bus, but I'm here

Here are a few pictures I took from the bus in Boston. I was in the city for about 45 minutes total and I never left the bus station, but I was really intrigued by what I saw out the window. There is some pretty interesting architecture in Boston. It seems to be a mix of older, original buildings and new and daring architecture.

Someone told me before I left Toronto, not to move to New England and become a Red Sox fan (I don't even watch.... baseball is it?), and I think there is no chance of that... but I might just fall for Boston. Next stop: Harvard? ...yeah right!

But alas, I had to say farewell to MA, and hello to ME. I will be back one day, I'm sure.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Avery On The Road

I have just begun the journey towards Portsmouth, New Hampshire from Burlington, Vermont (a town that has such charm, and perpetually smells like Abercrombie and Fitch cologne, if anyone was interested) via Greyhound. Last night the family drove over the border at Ogdensburg, and we arrived in Burlington late last night. We seem to always stay in the Hilton, because it was one of the first hotels my parents stayed in after they were married. History, history...

So, I will have to switch buses twice, once in White River Junction and once in Boston, before I get to Portsmouth. And the tomorrow a lovely friend of the family is kind enough to have offered to drive me to Portland. And then, I will be set up in my tiny little, "by the sea" apartment, with a week to spare before school begins!

I have no pictures yet, just a travel update, but I miss you all already! So we will see how this Canadian girl fairs on her own in the mighty (or not?) States.


ps. I would like to thank the glories of technology for inventing Wi-Fi on moving vehicles, and Greyhound for providing it. It is because of these things, that this post was possible.


The just stopped in White River Junction, Vermont for a break. On the road again towards Boston, Massachusetts (I won't lie, I had to look up the spelling for that one!). My assignment for the day is to try my best to stop saying "eh" in chit-chat with Americans. It's extremely transparent... and while I am in no way ashamed of my Canadian heritage... it does make me a little cliche.
Here is a picture I took of White River Junction, Vermont... It's of a building because this was truly the most interesting thing too see in White River Jct.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Beautiful Documentary (just photo and sound...)

I came across this documentary by Shaun Bauer (an American Photographer) as part of my coursework assigned pre-Salt. It is a fine example of how you can make such a touching piece of work using only still images and recorded sound. It really is a real-life example of one of Salt's founding principles... "Documentary is more than just video."

Click on the picture below to view "Hotel Poverty" in it's entirety. A truly profound piece of work...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The most amazing book... for someone like me.

I have begun reading book #1 of the 5 books I need to read before attending class. I started with the book that looked like the most interesting read, and I am just ripping through it. I will go as far as to say that if someone had put this book in my hands at the beginning of my journalism schooling, that ship might have sailed a lot smoother! (Granted, the book was only printed in 2007 and school started in 2005, but nonetheless... I needed this book!) It is called "Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer's Guide". It brings together the voices of many award-winning journalists (notably all American) who each, in their own way, illustrate how to tell a great story.

I would say that I really do believe that reporters can get lost in all the facts, and arguments and pressure to see both sides and they forget why they started in this little-pay-hard-work profession. WE ARE STORYTELLERS... but somewhere along the way the narrative gets lost, and so in turn the reader becomes disinterested. This is why so many kids get into journalism, and then forget why they even dreamed of being a journalist, and then they filter off into English, political science and history, in an effort to regain their passion for the written word.... but I am getting away from the book.

I really can't say enough about the value of the lessons in here. Each person's take is no longer than four pages and each have specific examples of how they have practiced what the preach. It isn't like I have never been told all of these things in school, it is just nice to hear them from real people, out in the real world of reporting, telling REAL stories in interesting ways.

I will stop yammering about this book, but I will say... buy it: buy it for you, your favourite reporter, hell! even for that reporter you hate (maybe it will help them too?), buy it for you mother and father and sister... even if they don't care about writing at all... even if they are illiterate.

To end, this is my favourite part of the book so far... it is from writer Jacqui Banaszynski in here piece "Stories Matter":

Stories are our prayers. Write and edit them with due reverance, even when the stories themselves are irreverent.

Stories are parables. Write and edit and tell yours with meaning, so each tale stands in for a larger message, each story a guidepost on our collective journey.

Stories are history. Write and edit and tell yours with accuracy and understanding and context and with unwavering devotion to the truth.

Stories are music. Write and edit and tell yours with pace and rhythm and flow. Throw in the dips and twirls that make them exciting, but stay true to the core beat. Readers hear stories with their inner ear.

Stories are our soul. Write and edit and tell yours with your whole selves. Tell them as if they are all that matters. It matter that you do it as if that's all there is.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Blog, New Adventure

It is now t-minus eight days until my departure for the great New England...

If only there was enough time to do everything. I have been packing for the last two days and I am only now somewhat organized enough to even imagine my adventure: foraging a new path through the Maine coast land, microphone in hand (For you history lovers: It has been in fact 377 years [1633] since foreign blood set up camp in what is now Portland, but never by this Canadian girl... I have my "New England style" hat already!!)

I will be attending a small non-profit arts organization called The Salt Institute. It is a "school" that is run out of a small store front on the main street in Portland, ME. I have been dreaming of attending this program, well... since I started journalism school at Carleton (as always, way ahead of myself!). The opportunity to take, very specifically, radio documentary is an absolute dream. The only other way I could go about this kind of training would be the second year of a Masters of Journalism, a road I have chosen not to take (at least for now!). However, I am already getting the feeling that my 15 weeks at Salt will be packed to the brim with radio jargon, and lessons to learn. It seems like everyday I get a new e-mail from a professor with another list of things I need to do to prepare myself for the oncoming wave of intensive work. I have 5 textbooks to read, a handful of docs to listen to and and assignment... due before school even starts! If they are seeking to set the tone for things to come, they have succeeded! How funny yet exhilarating it feels to be expected to do school work again.

Well, I say... bring it on!