3 GREAT STORIES: Starring two tales of heartbreak and one of the World Series

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

The most powerful stories I saw this week were also the most heartbreaking.

Some people have true difficulty reading tales of heartbreak; they struggle with the depressing content, particularly when that content does not include a call to action or a way to channel their anger or frustration.

I understand that completely, but I try to look at it differently. I try to appreciate these stories for their place in our wide world; I cannot necessarily do anything about them, but I can at least be informed and aware of them.

I have included two such stories this week, along with a far more frivolous essay about the World Series, for good measure …

Hidden city (10/21/13, New Yorker): Even in terms of difficult stories, this one is a struggle.

New Yorker writer Ian Frazier puts together nearly 10,000 words about the rising number of homeless in the Big Apple. I — like many, I’m sure, who read this piece — was stunned by that fact. I grew up in the shadow of New York City and still visit it 3-4 times a year. I see fewer traces of homelessness every time I go, but obviously I suffer from the same bias as many quoted in Frazier’s story.

I take this problem personally, having once chronicled my own by-choice 24-hour stay at an Atlanta homeless facility. Frazier tells the story without much dressing or fanfare; he simply tells it as it is, which is plenty horrifying already.

A man chronicles his wife’s battle with cancer in heartbreaking photographs (10/25/13, Slate): This one left my speechless — for a whole lot of reasons.

Jennifer and Angelo Merendino had been married five months when Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Angelo took photos throughout the ultimately futile four-year treatment process, and those photos are as nakedly penetrating as you might imagine.

Photographs typically speak for themselves, but in this interview, Merendino adds more layers to the story as he speaks with Slate journalist Katy Waldman. Hearing him describe why he chronicled the journey through photography, one cannot help but feel for him as he continues on as a widower.

Why nobody watches the World Series (10/24/13, ESPN2): Let’s lighten the mood and talk a little bit about 2013’s most improbable resurgence in sportscasting.

Keith Olbermann?!?

I did not see it coming, but I am greatly enjoying his new late-night show on ESPN2, and I appear not to be the only one. Here is his strongest recent essay, talking about how far downhill the World Series has fallen in terms of TV viewership.


Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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