Following the natural transition from boyhood to manhood, my cultural interests and fancies are in perpetual evolution – an evolution notably marking my reading choices. One manifestation of this change is my recently acquired inclination to the genre of Men’s magazines, though Esquire is the publication I am most drawn to.
To an aspiring writer such as myself, Esquire offers an unpretentious, yet aesthetically appealing stylistic platform to emulate, and moreover, various thematic types of writing to imitate, be it informative journalism, persuasive editorials or creative writing.
Its monthly «What I’ve Learned» segment features thought-provoking, yet entertaining interviews with a bountiful of subjects of all ways of life, ranging from actors to athletes, musicians to politicians. What compells me the most of this feature is the journalist’s invisibility from all its pieces. There are no traces of questions asked or conversations held, only the subject’s answers, lengthy enough to fill pages on end. The journalist’s function in such a context might oft be taken for granted.
However, some serious writing chops are required in order to gather such an extensive array of material, without ever drawing attention to yourself.
Moreover, the medium through which these interviews are accomplished is particularly compelling to me. In my eyes, there would be no better professional calling than conversing with the cultural elite over a pitcher of beer and steak, talking of philosophies, life lessons and experiences – or What I’ve Learned… (I can only imagine the amount of raw knowledge one needs to possess in order to sustain such an interview).
At Esquire, the most prolific contributor to the «What I’ve Learned» segment is a man named Cal Fussman. Since I’ve began following this monthly publication, he has conducted nearly all of the interviews. I admire his journalistic capacities, and envy the circumstances he finds himself in. His ability to incorporate a plethora of subject matter like sports, music, art, politics and fashion into a conversation is laudable, enviable even.
The platform of the conversation as journalistic means is one I respect immensely (for another source of inspiration – and one I will surely reference in the future postings – check out the Financial Times’ «Lunch with the FT» segment… http://www.ft.com/life-arts/lunch-with-the-ft).
In my eyes, writing – especially journalism – should be honest and truthful, and should have the function of informing and inspiring the reader. What better medium than an actual conversation, about real affairs with real people?
This is an aspect of the writer’s craft I esteem profondly, and a vein of writers I am compelled to one day be a part of.
Until then I guess writing high school assignments will have to do…
Check out the very best collection of Esquire‘s «What I’ve Learned» interviews: