Lee Gutkind on Immersion

November 18, 2008 § 2 Comments

My friend* Eric Parker interviews my friend* Lee Gutkind over at the website Fresno Famous.

As well as founding and editing the magazine Creative Nonfiction, Lee is a major practitioner and proponent of the branch of creative nonfiction called “immersion journalism,” with roots in Capote and links to Kidder and McPhee and Susan Orlean.  Lee knows more about “immersion” perhaps than anyone else teaching right now, and has some excellent guidance and observation in the full interview.

A quote:  “… that’s why immersions are so wonderful in that you walk into an immersion having an idea, idea A, but by the time you’ve spent three months or six months, you have a new idea, or a different formulation of your idea. Then, if you spend another year or two, your idea sophisticates and focuses even more. So, it’s a constant balancing challenge to make sure that you are giving the subject the proper attention.”

*(As a side note, it is continually fascinating how small the literary world seems when you’ve been knocking around in it for twenty years or so.  I met Lee many years ago as a student in Pittsburgh; and came to know Eric just this past summer in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  The six degrees of separation game in the writing world sometimes seems too easy — it should be one or two degrees of separation.)

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