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Chris Jones has never read Gary Smith -- and why

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

  2. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    It really makes no sense.

    His justification is so flawed. No one is suggesting reading Beyond the Game, his best-of series, over the course of two weeks. If you read one story every three-four months -- which, by the way, is all Smith writes -- and you avoid reading those stories directly before sitting down to write something of your own, I can't imagine how his style would immediately consume your writing.

    What a person reads is up to him. But you would think someone who writes long-form articles, often about sports, might just be a little interested in reading the work of the most decorated long-form writer alive, who happens to write almost strictly about sports.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    All good points. But he's not the first person I've heard of who preferred not to read somebody -- or more specifically, read something somebody else had written on the same subject, for example.
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Smith probably does not read Jones either:

  5. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    I have no idea how to find it, but we had this discussion here, Jones talking about not reading Smith, in a larger discussion about how we're affected by other writers, how another writer's voice can stick in your head and mess you up. Vaguely recall Jones saying he also tried to not read Pierce, for the same reason but I could be wrong about that.
    Edit: Found it............

  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I totally understand the reasoning. It's one of the things that took me awhile to get used to in reading Smith - the way he grabs the reader by the lapels and yell's SEE!, SEE!. I've always preferred writers who stay out of the way of the reader - like a Scott Price - and let the story speak for itself. That said - when you think about the stories Smith does - the off-the-beaten-path athlete, the forgotten game etc. - I can see why a strong voice is needed. But I would argue, that any writer wanting to understand "voice" read Smith.
  7. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    i totally get not wanting to read another top writer's piece on the same subject i'm working on. but to never read someone else considered among the elite at the long-form pieces that are my specialty strikes me as bizarre. wouldn't any of us find it alarming to learn a columnist doesn't read other columnists? or a beat writer doesn't read other writers on the same beat?

    we all agree that reading, reading, and reading some more are the best ways to keep your own writing honed and fresh, don't we? why would we ever want to keep any other top writer off our summer reading list?
  8. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    To me, it's further affirmation that Chris Jones uses means I disagree with to reach pretty damn good ends.

    How any writer can willingly avoid a journalist who touches the same subjects, especially one as ubiquitous as Gary Smith, and not stifle intellectual curiosity is beyond me, but then again, I can't write anything in the same hemisphere as "The Things That Carried Him."
  9. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    "The Things that Carried" have carried Jones for a while. Certainly he is not a prolific as Gary Smith.

    I find Smith to be more prudent in his use of first person.
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I do not believe this, really. And if it's true it's really silly.
  11. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    i agree 1,000 percent.
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Jones is a brilliant writer.

    That said, based on some of his blogs and stories that he's written, I think he's becoming a bit of a cartoon character.
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