(Believe it or not, and article written about me. David Cohn - Digidave - the editor in chief of the Citizen Newspaper Broowaha.com made me the "Featured Interview for October". Cool, huh?)
The thoughts and observations of Bill Friday. You know him from around the Broo - but who is the man behind the name (possibly one of the best names here on Broo! Check out October's featured writer.
Digidave: How does where you live influence who/what you write about and how you go about doing it?
Friday: I was born in Inglewood, childhood in Bev Hills, Torrance and Marina Del Rey (Yeah, imagine a ten-year-old kid cruising the streets of Venice/MDR alone all summer – that was me), a dozen years in Orange County, and now, the last six years in Redondo Beach. I work six days a week on my laptop and five nights at LAX. All of L.A. is my home. I wish I could say I wrote more local stories – it’s that first-person, hands-on perspective that should drive Citizen Journalism – but it’s also what makes Citizen Journalism such a difficult and vital form of expression. I wish I was that kind of writer.
Who is your favorite Broowaha writer (besides yourself)?
There are a few writers who, when they publish, I make it a point to read as quickly as possible. I love the film reviews of D.L. Ferguson. From his reviews I discovered his website, http://betterinthedark.podomatic.com/ where he gives longer, freakin’ hilarious reviews of all things movie and TV. Another obvious choice is the mayor of San Francisco Broo, Ed Attanasio. I love the POV reporting of the Girl-Next-Door (to Danny Trejo), V. She’s a lot like reading Hunter S. Thompson but without the paranoid delusions. And V’s a lot better looking. And alive. Whether or not it’s the popular thing to say, I still look forward to the articles of El G. But without a doubt, the one Broo author I would read every day is Jen and Tonic. Her combination of soul-searching honesty and slapstick commentary is rare in the Broo world. I’ve written this before… she’s the only writer I’ve ever read who can use the words “donkey punch”, “dutch oven”, or “shocker” in a sentence and still sound like a lady.
You've been part of Broowaha for a long time. What brings you back?
Broowaha was the first place since college where I received feedback on my writing that wasn’t from friends or family. And it’s the first place I received criticism as a writer. Apparently, college professors are a lot kinder than the general reading public. Admittedly, not everything I’ve written here is particularly worth reading – and some of it’s a lot worse than that – but Broo has been a place where I can try anything and not lose a job doing it. And this’ll sound weird, but I think it’s the one-star ratings that keep me coming back more than the five-star ratings. When what you want to do for the rest of your life is to write for a living, a few anonymous “F*** you!’s” does more to prepare you than a bunch of friendly compliments. But keep the compliments coming because a writer’s ego is a fragile thing.
What is the favorite story you ever written here at Broowaha and why?
It’s got to be the series of “Fool Waha Interviews”. Since there’s no way a real celebrity, politician or athlete is ever going to grant me an interview (the Lakers’ John Ireland notwithstanding), I decided the only way to do it was to make it up as I go. And the responses have been interesting. For my interview with Adnan Ghalib, apparently some people took me seriously and gave me a couple of one-star votes. Then I did pretty well in the popular vote with a sports theme. Finally, I interviewed the most-likely choice for the Democratic VP nominee (before the pictures) John Edwards, and got hammered for it. Politics is a funny business. Writing about it should be funny too. It’s amazing how much shrinkage a sense of humor goes through when it’s your political party taking the public ice bath.
I’m thinking of interviewing Sarah Palin just to get a boost in my ratings points before Election Day.
In the time you've been part of Broowaha, how have you grown as a writer or interviewer? Maybe you can tell us about your first article, your favorite article to write and your most recent.
You mean since most of my “interviews” have been fiction?
My first article, “Your Popularity Is 0”, was written at work (a former job) a couple of days after finding Broowaha on Craigslist. The feedback I got only reinforced what the title said about me as a new contributor. My favorite article is probably “With This Muse You Lose”. I was researching the idea of an article on “writer suicides” (seriously) when I got a message from another new contributor who wondered about the harshness she encountered in the comment thread of her first article. Two weeks later, “With This Muse…” was my response. To date, it’s the only piece I’ve ever written that has gotten feedback from people where they actually opened up (anonymously) and expressed the same feelings these dead writers felt before they ended it all.
Lately, the idea of a webcast just seemed like the next logical step for a career going nowhere. Exposure, exposure, exposure. And if other, more talented people want to jump on board with me, at least I won’t be the only one who sinks the ship… right?
If you could write about anyone or any situation, what would it be?
I don’t think I’ve encountered that person or situation yet. Maybe in not knowing, I’ll keep writing about what’s right in front of me, rather than chasing something that, when I finally do it, will leave me with nothing left to do. Then there’s that Fool Waha interview with you
I’ve been planning. And seriously, I’m developing a TV pilot. So what if nobody in Hollywood knows me. With 5,611 independent production companies in Greater Los Angeles, anything’s possible.
What artist (musician, author, painter etc) inspires you?
Jean-Michel Basquiat. Particularly Boy and Dog and later Ten Punching Bags (with Warhol). His unintentional example of expression through graffiti should be used as motivation in the world of Citizen Journalism. By taking a hated symbol of expression, forcing it into the everyday view of the 1980’s mainstream, and (ultimately) seeing it accepted as a legitimate voice should be an example of what Citizen Journalism can do through another hated symbol of expression – the blog. By our often blunt, sometimes blurred, but accurate presentation of the facts right in front of us, we will be viewed as a legitimate voice for today.
That and watching the artistry of Manny Ramirez keep his swing short and his bat long and level through the hitting zone as he makes National League pitchers look like rag-armed, thirteen-year-olds.
Art has many forms.
Of our topics (city life, night life, culture, sports, etc) what is your favorite? Is there a reason why you tend to write/read more articles in that section?
When I was little, I wanted to be the Dodgers’ center fielder, and replace Vin Scully when he retired. Now, all these years later, I’m not in broadcasting and Vin Scully still hasn’t retired. But I do still play slow-pitch softball. For me sports, like writing, is an addiction. And I keep coming back to it as a topic for the same reason I come back to writing. I’ve always had a love/addiction with the written word – and the spoken word – as delivered by Vin Scully. It was always equal parts reporting and poetry. Some kids are raised on comic books, some on the classics…I was raised on Vin Scully. Every writer is a product of a lifetime of experiences, and all of them, in some way, shape and inform what we write. Chris Carter was raised in Bellflower on baseball and Vin Scully and all he was able to make out of it was The X-Files. Quentin Tarantino worked in a video store in Manhattan Beach and all he could turn that into was Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. All we, as writers, should expect from ourselves is to write what we already are. That’s what lies at the core of Citizen Journalism. If you see it, write it.
And always remember to use the spell check.
Copyright © 2008 Digidave