by Scott Smith
You’ll have to pardon if this post has nothing to do with pigs or chickens or ducks.
If you’ve visited storycasting recently, you’ll know that I have been following Hugh’s gapingvoid site and his close friend’s (David Mackenzie) desire to come up with the right way to market his film, Hallam Foe. Mackenzie made Young Adam, an amazing film you must put on your Netflix queue.
Apparently, like John McNally’s novel, America’s Report Card, Hallem Foe isn’t easy to digest into a two sentence, high concept Hollywood film quip. Doesn’t the best stuff have this problem?
I posted a comment on gapingvoid, letting Hugh know how much I appreciated the honesty of his conversation with Mackenzie. I also went on about how much blogs have changed the nature of the web. There is much discussion in the blogosphere about what a blog is and what it isn’t. For me, blogs round my life.
What do I mean by rounding out my life?
The best blogs remind me of college, the time I spent at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. I was an English major with a creative writing emphasis. You wanna know how lucky I was to attend SIU-C in the late 80’s and early 90’s? Richard Russo was my fiction teacher as an undergrad and grad student, Rodney Jones was my poetry teacher, John McNally let me audit his undergraduate fiction class , Donald ‘Skip’ Hays and Kent Haruf were my creative writing profs in grad school.
Just in case you’re not familiar with these gentleman:
- Richard Russo – novelist and screenwriter; winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls.
- Rodney Jones – poet; Pulitzer finalist and winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award.
- John McNally – novelist and screenwriter; winner of the James Michener award, National Magazine Award Finalist, Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project Fellowship, and Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship (George Washington University). Geez, there’s like another dozen awards and fellowships John has earned.
- Donald ‘Skip’ Hays – novelist; Director of Programs in Creative Writing (M.F.A. University of Arkansas) and has published three novels.
- Kent Haruf – novelist; National Book Award finalist and winner of the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award.
College is generally the time when we learn a ton. Why? Because we’re around people who are as interested in the things we’re interested in. Man, it was time when I received three bills each month (not including my tab at the On The Island Pub) and I got excited about the new story from Ralph Lombreglia in the New Yorker.
My brain was on fire.
I feel the same way about blogs. Hugh responded to my post and I was touched. Scoble has responded to a comment of mine. What I didn’t mention about my aforementioned teachers were everyone of them could teach. Damn, I still feel bad about Russo having to read a 28 page story of mine.
Below is a list of bloggers that influence me and teach me:
- John McNally
- Seth Godin
- Paul Graham
- Presentation Zen
- Doc Searls
- The Marketing Message Blog
- A List Apart
- Creating Passionate Users
- Boing Boing
- Philip Greenspun
- Signal vs. Noise
- Joel on Software
- Dave Winer
- A VC
- The Post Money Value
- John Battelle
- Guy Kawasaki
- Matt Cutts