Eleven years ago, a book about journalism, writing, and storytelling blew my mind.
I was, at the time, a senior in the journalism school at Northwestern University. I loved to read, and I loved to write, so naturally I found my interest piqued when I noticed a certain anthology at the bookstore: the 2002 edition of Best American Sports Writing.
Upon reading the first two articles, I had received enough inspiration to fuel me for the rest of college.
The Best American Sports Writing anthology is a collection of the top written sports stories of a given year, selected by a guest editor noted as a prominent sports journalist. In 2002, that editor was Rick Reilly, and he wrote in his introduction a 10-step advice column for how to become a better writer. I still look at it today when I am in a rut, and I even referenced it this past week in my “3 Great Stories” column.
Following Reilly’s intro was the book’s first selection, an article by Los Angeles Times writer Bill Plaschke entitled “Her Blue Haven”. You can still find it online today.
The article details Plaschke’s correspondence with an LA Dodgers blogger who has cerebral palsy; she writes her blog entries with a head pointer because she cannot harness her hands well enough to type with her fingers.
It is, to this day, one of my all-time favorite stories.