On writing and books

The cover of the book, edited by Walt Harrington. You can buy the book here.

The cover of the book my work has been featured in, edited by Walt Harrington.

A story I wrote on a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor living in Champaign, Ill., originally published here, has been included in an anthology of literary feature stories. I’m honored to be showcased among the top journalism students from the University of Illinois and excited to see where the other emerging writers and reporters will go in their careers. I graduated with a class of talented journalists.

Being a published author was something I could have never imagined as a freshman in high school. That year, my choir teacher gave us an iconic assignment: to make a list of 100 things that we wanted to accomplish in our lives.

It was probably the first time anyone asked me about my future beyond “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And I certainly didn’t know the answer to that question, anyway. But I knew I wanted to go to France (accomplished January 2012), and bake a cake from scratch (May 2011), and sing a high B comfortably (2009), and 97 other things.

One goal that was noticeably absent from my list, however, was to write a book. I remember thinking about it because I loved the New Yorker, and every author I read in there had writing at least one book. I imagined getting published in the New Yorker — but I had no desire to write a book. In fact, at 14, the thought of writing a single article overwhelmed me. I barely could bring myself to write in a diary.

It’s funny now to think about it. I mean, writing plagued me throughout high school. I became editor of my paper and won a statewide journalism championship, but I still dreaded each time I had to open a new Word document and start a story. It took the daily grind of reporting and writing at the SouthtownStar, my first newspaper internship, to wake me up to the beauty of writing. Working on two or three stories a day didn’t leave me much time to dread it, and I began to realize that it was kind of fun to puncture mundane news stories with dashes of eloquence.

Now I understand it, how there’s something so addicting so be able to create a great line in your head and transfer it successfully to paper. There’s a cliché in journalism, something like, “Write a sentence that’s never been written before” — and to accomplish that is the greatest feeling of all.

So, I officially announce a new life goal: write a book. Because it’s nice to know that you’re capable of something you once thought wasn’t possible.

NPR internship in review

I’m keeping a running tab of my work for NPR.org so far. Feel free to check them out and suggest story ideas.

  1. Facebook Takes On Cyberbullies As More Teens Leave Site, Nov. 7
  2. 4-D Printing Means Buildings That Build Themselves, Nov. 6
  3. If The Internet Is Your Canvas, You Paint In Zeros And Ones, Nov. 3
  4. Priceless Italian Treasure Is Shown Off In Rare Exhibition, Oct. 30
  5. What’s A ‘Glitch,’ Anyway? A Brief Linguistic History, Oct. 24
  6. Online Dating Is On The Rise (But There Are Still Haters), Oct. 21
  7. Brooks Brothers Steakhouse: How’s That For Tasteful Shopping?, Oct. 15
  8. An Innovation For Pain Relief That’s Worthy Of Some Buzz, Oct. 9
  9. Solved: The Minds Behind The ‘NSA’ Billboard Reveal Themselves, Oct. 8
  10. Whoosh: Pneumatic Tubes Give The Tooth Fairy A Boost, Oct. 2
  11. Some Are Benefiting From The Government Shutdown, Oct. 2
  12. Space’s Wild: 5 Cool Happenings Along The Final Frontier, Sept. 30
  13. This Law Wants To Save Teens’ Reputations, But Probably Won’t, Sept. 27
  14. Ancient Jewish Tradition Meets Contemporary Design, Sept. 25
  15. Weekly Innovation: Pampering Your Pooch From Afar, Sept. 25
  16. The Promises And Pitfalls Of Social Media — For Police, Sept. 22
  17. Why Spying On Our Kids To Solve Cyberbullying Might Not Work, Sept. 17

What's on your mind?