Monday, November 24, 2008

The Morning Reading: "I wanted to write a book."

Meg Waite Clayton's blog, 1st Books: Stories of How Writers Get Started, features a post by Frances Dinkelspiel who is on book tour promoting her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, the story of her great-greatgrandfather -and of California.

It begins:

I had been a newspaper reporter for more than 15 years before I even wanted to write a book. For me, the thrill was in the chase. I loved getting up everyday, going to work, figuring out the story I wanted to write, and tracking down the details. I prided myself on always making that last phone call, on chasing reluctant subjects, on combing through dusty documents to uncover the real truth behind a shady business deal or back-room government contract. And after all that work – Voila! – Just a day later my name would grace the top of an article. It was instant gratification.

But then the excitement began to fade. I was living in Berkeley, CA and working out of a one-person office in Oakland that the newspaper was always threatening to close. Jerry Brown, the former governor of California, had decided to run for mayor of Oakland, so for weeks and weeks all I wrote about was Jerry Brown. It grew tiresome. Suddenly I developed a desire to spend more than one day or a few days on an article. I wanted to know a subject in depth. I wanted to stretch my writing skills. In short, I wanted to write a book.

For the rest, click here.

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