Weekend Words: Daring Writing

“Most of the things you read are simply people confirming what they already think. That’s why most of the things you read don’t interest you. There has to be some risk for the writer to make stuff come alive.”

Those sentences are from author Charles Bowden who you may have read in Esquire or GQ, heard on NPR or read in one of his books. Bowden takes risks as a writer by choosing subjects such as the environment, death, abandoned farmhouses in North Dakota, and drug wars on the Mexican border.

For his book Down by the River, Bowden was asked why he investigated a murder for more than seven years to tell the story of the border wars. He replied:

“All the roadblocks are just little obstacles, because you’re obsessed with finding out the facts. When you get into this kind of work, you just want to get it down right. What other people see as danger, you see as a nuisance. If I wasn’t writing that book, I never would have gone into the saloons and hellholes that are in that book. I don’t court danger.”

But it seems he’s not scared off by danger if that’s what it takes to tell the story.

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