The Weekly Writing Challenge for the week of January 13, 2013 is about something called Gonzo Journalism. Gonzo Journalism differs from typical reporting in that Gonzo journalists renounce claims of objectivity, often place themselves in the story as a first-person narrator, and include verbatim dialogue to capture and convey their first-hand experiences. The work can often have a “stream-of-consciousness” feel to it.
In summary, the basic hallmarks of Gonzo journalism are:
- First-person narration.
- Dialogue complete with vernacular.
- Lots and lots and lots of detail.
AND NOW FOR THE CHALLENGE PART
Gonzo, yes, but not a journalist.
There are three different ways to participate in today’s challenge. The goal is to stretch your writing style by experimenting with and emulating a new form. As always, the goal of any writing challenge is to get you writing. You’re welcome to adapt the challenge to your needs as you see fit. For example, you may choose to include only one, two, or all three hallmarks of Gonzo journalism listed above in your post.
- Report on one event/gathering/happening from your week in Gonzo journalism style. The event can be anything from your life: a slice of your weekly drawing class, the conversation between the butcher and the man buying stewing beef at the meat counter in your local grocery store, or what you observe and hear while you’re at the gas station filling up. Cram as many details in as you can. Record any dialogue as accurately as possible: include pauses, slang, stumbles, inflection, etc. Your post needs to be a minimum of three paragraphs long.
- Write at least three paragraphs reporting on a scenario that you imagine in Gonzo journalism style.
- Choose one of the following three scenarios. Imagine the scenario taking place in as great a detail as your brain will allow. Write at least three paragraphs reporting on the scenario in Gonzo journalism style.Scenarios:
- You’re standing on a busy street corner. A car runs a red light, hitting a cyclist crossing the intersection.
- You’re waiting at gate 23 at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport’s Terminal 7 to board an Air Canada flight to Vancouver. The flight has been delayed two hours so far. The gate agent announces a further three-hour delay before take off. To your right sits an elderly couple. She’s in a wheelchair. To the left, a family of four, with a boy, aged five and a newborn infant girl.
- You’re in a street-side café in San Diego, California. The couple seated at the next table is breaking up.
No matter which option you choose, have fun with the challenge! So looking forward to reading your posts.
Here is mine:
It is amazing to me that even on a warm summer day concealed little bit of steam coming from the cup of designer coffee from my favorite café. The sun feels so good my face as I enjoy afternoon free of commitments for the first time in too many months. But my peace is interrupted by the couple to my left who seem to be fighting.
The fellow is wearing a lightweight suit, obviously some type of businessman. The gal is dressed in fatigues, obviously either Army or Marines. I don’t like to eavesdrop on conversations and normally don’t but you cannot help hearing them as they seem to be breaking up. Red faces, pointing fingers and angry accusations accompany ever increasing voices.
“You might as well just reenlist make it a career. That’s all you care about anyway,” the man said.
“Have you forgotten this is to pay for my degree?”
“Jenna you know I can pay for your degree,” he countered.
“Yeah, there’s no way that’s going to happen especially after what you did,” she replied.
Part of me wanted to get up and leave but the other part, the curious side, hung in to hear more. I could see the pained expression on his face which meant he had done something to hurt her that he regretted. He drew in a deep breath before he began to speak again.
“I know I can never make up for what I did. I just. . . I don’t know,” he sputtered.
“Couldn’t keep ‘em zipped.”
“You know I’m not the one stuck on a ship with 2000 men for weeks at a time.”
“No, but you are the one that cheated!” Jenna said stabbing her finger into the table.
Now I really wanted to disappear from the scene. This was a very personal thing that no one needed to witness. I gathered my things and my cup to make my way to the parking lot. As I left I could still hear them over my shoulder and wondered how this was would all end.
I hope you enjoy these other Weekly Writing Challenge responses:
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