Another mentor

I’ve loved Anna Quindlen since I first saw the 1998 film One True Thing,  a family drama based on her book. It’s the first idea I had of the great power that comes with telling others’ stories through the empathy of one’s own. In the story, Quindlen, describes the life of a family whose mother has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Quindlen’s own mother died from ovarian cancer at age 40. A few weeks ago, my aunt asked me if I had liked the story and would recommend it. I warned her of its immense emotional effect but told her what a fantastic story it was.

A few days later, she texted me and told me she had finished it…and she wasn’t going to watch the film for a while. I’d expected this. Quindlen’s empathetic power translates to her readers. This is why, as I’ve been researching her for my Women and the Media research paper, I’ve been intrigued by her journalistic work.

Quindlen is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times and Newsweek.

What intrigues and fascinates me about Quindlen is that she still manages to tell her story through her columns. I’m reading her 1993 book Thinking out Loud, in which she discusses the journalistic process as just that, thinking out loud.  She talks about her need to be transparent in her columns, and in doing that, she points out the necessity of talking about her role as a woman in journalism. She talks about being the sole female in a room full of “good old boys,” and the necessity of evoking her experiences through journalism. In high school, I encountered Quindlen’s stories, and now in college, I encounter her process. I want nothing more than to learn from such a brilliant pioneer of the written word. 

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