Tag Archives: writing

Times reporter transitions from journalism to wine writing

It wasn’t supposed to be news. It wasn’t supposed to be anything shocking. Everyone else wrote it off so there was no point in writing an article about the 1976 Paris wine tasting competition.
The French knew all there was to know about wine, and California wines didn’t stand a chance. That is what everyone thought. But they were all wrong.
The event was covered by three newspapers, among them and first to publish was George Taber, a reporter for Times Magazine.
Taber spoke about the tasting and his experience as a journalist and writer Feb. 26 in the full T.J. Day Hall.
“Everyone turned down the story, initially. I even turned it down the first time I was invited,” Taber said. “No one wanted to take it because it was what we call in journalism a non-story. Nobody is ever going publish a story about a dog biting a man. It’s only a story when the man bites the dog. And this was clearly going to be a dog bites man story.”
Taber was convinced to attend the event by Steven Spurrier, an English wine shop owner and the event organizer. Thanks to the persuasion, Taber found a “man bites dog” story.
Taber’s four paragraph article written on the event revealed the shocking results of the California wines victory over the French wines in a blind tasting. The story were “the most important words written about wine,” as someone once told Taber.
He wrote a book 30 years after the event about his own experience while at the tasting titled “Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine.”
Since the event, Taber has stepped away from journalism and turned to writing about wine.
Taber’s writing on the world of wine started in 2007 with his book “To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle.” The book has earned the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and it was a finalist for best wine book of the year by both the André Simon Award and the James Beard Award.
His third book was released in 2009 and was titled “In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism.” The book outlined his journey around the world in search of the best wines. Taber traveled to 12 of the world’s best wine regions in six months.
Taber’s most recent work is about the differences between the more expensive wines and what he calls “bargain wines.” He defined bargain wines as those that cost less than $10, and even suggest more than 400 wines to try in his book, “A Toast to Bargain Wines.”
Kaylyn Peterson
Copy chief
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.

Linfield’s Literary Jem: CAMAS


“You should care,” senior Kelsey Hatley said enthusiastically. “CAMAS is a representation of Linfield and its creativity.”

Having worked as a staff editor for three years, and now holding the responsibilities of editor-in-chief, Hatley has seen the talent and work that goes into the annual student-run journal.

“Physically holding it in your hand after all that work is pretty awesome,” Hatley said.

CAMAS wants you to feel the same enthusiasm.

“CAMAS is a unique opportunity for many students,” sophomore editor Marit Berning said in an email. “It provides a platform for which aspiring writers, poets, artists and photographers can showcase their work.”

CAMAS hand-picks submitted poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction, drama, graphic novels, art, photography and comics.

“We try to pick submissions that best reflect the talent at this school,” Hatley said.

Despite being well publicized through the English Department, CAMAS finds its biggest challenge attracting students that aren’t particularly involved in the department.

“The hardest thing is getting people to actually submit,” Hatley said. “I wish we could get out there more, but there’s only so much we can get across in emails.”

Just last year, CAMAS launched a website, www.linfield.edu/camas.html, to feature current work, in hopes of inspiring curiosity about the literary journal.

“Getting one’s piece into the final product is an achievement,” Berning said. “Personally, I feel like there is a lack of emphasis placed on what it means to have your work featured.”

CAMAS emphasizes that entering a piece of work doesn’t just give you the chance to show off your creative abilities, but it also is an accomplishment to be proud of.

“As far as resumes are concerned, CAMAS counts as having published work, and the end result is always a really beautifully presented anthology,” Berning said.

The staff of CAMAS works year round, putting submissions under a thorough screening and editing process in order to ensure the quality of the publication.

During the spring, the literary magazine class, taught by Professor Lex Runciman, designs the layout collaboratively.

“I really like watching it come together,” Hatley said.

CAMAS has extended its deadline to Nov. 16, and encourages students to submit their work to camas@linfield.edu. Students can submit an unlimited amount of pieces.

The next CAMAS will come out spring 2013. Students can find last year’s copies in the Writing Center in T.J. Day 321.


Chrissy Shane can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com


Chrissy Shane/Features editor

From left; Senior Associate Editor Brittany Drost, senior Julia Cooper, sophomore Ian Franceschi, senior Editor-in-chief Kelsey Hatley, junior Kristi Castanera and sophomore Brittany Hamling.

Alumni recognized with prestigious writing award

Creativity from the heart and a love for words paid off for a Linfield College graduate.

He was awarded with the 2011 Whiting Writer’s Award on Oct. 25 at a ceremony in New York.

The award, established in 1985, is a $50,000 prize that is given annually to 10 emerging young writers in all genres.

Shane McCrae, class of ’02, has been writing poetry since he was a teenager.

“I started writing poetry when I was 15, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I really got into it during college,” he said.

McCrae studied creative writing at Linfield. He has also studied at Harvard Law School and is currently working on a Ph.D in English at the University of Iowa.

Writing poetry is something that comes naturally to McCrae. He writes about things that have importance to him and his life. He writes about experiences and observations.

Some of his poems have been about his family, his personal struggles and his own racial identity.

“In a general sense, they’re usually about things that have happened in my life or maybe some of them are about religious issues or have to do with history,” he said.

His work is described as lyrical, personal and autobiographical.

Previous winners of this award include authors, such as Kim Edwards, Mary Karr, Michael Cunningham and Tobias Wolff. They were all emerging writers when they received the award, and are all now bestselling authors.

McCrae hopes to be as successful, but still enjoy writing.

“Success, I guess, is kind of hard to define. For me, I can be successful if my poems are reaching out to people or if people are finding them helpful. I guess it would be nice if  I could find a job I love through my work. The kind of success I want is to work with other people and still love it,” McCrae said.

McCrae has published multiple works, including a full length collection that came out earlier this year called “Mule.”

His poems have appeared in publications like “The Best American Poetry 2010,” “The American Poetry Review” and other journals.

He describes writing as a kind of self-reflection.

“What I love about writing is probably just the act of writing, itself,” McCrae said. “You feel like all your senses are working together to create something new. It’s a very personal experience, and it’s a good feeling.”

The award will further propel his success and make him more well-known.

McCrae is looking for a teaching job and plans to continue writing.

Kelsey Sutton/
Copy chief
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.

November opens door for writing

With all of the required homework, essays, research projects, required reading and other such school assignments, I sometimes feel like I never have time to be creative. Students who aren’t majoring in art, music, creative writing or other creative majors might feel like they can’t afford to spend time being creative.

Sometimes there isn’t time to make art, even though you have an idea for an amazing painting or an urge to write music and even if you know exactly how you want it to go. Even if you do have time, sometimes you don’t have inspiration or you have trouble finishing what you start.

It is for these reasons that I would like to make everyone aware of National Novel Writing Month. This is a worldwide event run by a nonprofit organization called the Office of Letters and Light (OLL). National Novel Writing Month takes place during November every year.

The goal is to write a novel in a month—50,000 words in 30 days, to be exact. But the event, called NaNoWriMo for short, is much more than just a crazed sprint toward what might at first seem like an intimidating and unrealistic goal.

The website, www.nanowrimo.org, has features such as a profile where you can post information about yourself and your novel, a statistics bar to keep track of daily word count goals and forums where participants can discuss everything from the funniest line of the day to the research they’ve had to do for their setting.

There is even a section for pep talks, where published authors write letters to NaNoWriMo participants cheering them on. During November, participants can have these pep talks emailed to them. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like getting an email from Holly Black, Tamora Pierce, or Philip Pullman.

National Novel Writing Month is a fantastic way to release pent-up or repressed creative energy through creative writing.  The goal of 50,000 words is scary, but it is achievable, even along with classes, work and anything else that may be taking up your schedule.

All it takes is writing 1,667 words a day about anything you want.  Last year, I was even able to surpass the 50,000-word mark before Nov. 30, which is the last day of the event.

The online community on www.nanowrimo.org is amazingly friendly, welcoming and supportive. Participants who live in the same region will even meet at libraries or coffee shops to sit and write together. Cheering on your fellow participants is as much a part of NaNoWriMo as the writing.

To anyone who is interested in creative writing outside of classes, anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel, or anyone who simply needs to release some creative energy, I would recommend participating in National Novel Writing Month. It is an exhilarating experience and leaves you with a different attitude about setting and achieving goals than the one you started with.

Sharon Gollery
/Culture editor
Sharon Gollery can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com

Authors offer story-writing techniques

A Eugene-based journalist and a Linfield alumnus shared insights into their recent books during individual author readings at the Nicholson Library.

The James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon, Peter Laufer, discussed concepts in investigative journalism and introduced his non-fiction trilogy during an event March 17.

Laufer’s trilogy explores the concepts of animal use and abuse through stories about butterflies, exotic pets their owners, and cock- fighting.

He answered questions and discussed information gathering techniques about “The Dangerous World of Butterflies,” the first book in his trilogy.

“It’s a book about butterfly collecting — from true crime and poaching to heated debates between butterfly conservationists and butterfly farmers,” Laufer said.

Laufer said that the subject matter of his trilogy, which uncovers uncomfortable material, such as animal abuse, made it difficult to reach sources who weren’t willing to be candid and exposed in an interview setting.

“Part of the art of journalism is to get information,” Laufer said. “It’s almost a process of seduction to get an unwilling source to share information.”

Laufer shared information gathering techniques, such as building trustworthy reputations with sources and asking them questions about themselves.

“I never lie to sources about who I am or how I’ll use the information they give me, but I don’t always reveal it unless I’m asked,” he said.

Laufer also gave the audience insight into his writing process and how he builds a story from an initial idea.

He said that he began writing “The Dangerous World of Butterflies” after being invited to a butterfly reserve in Nicaragua.

“After going to the butterfly reserve and hearing them talk about the poaching that goes on in the butterfly world, I started to realize there was a story,” Laufer said. “So I found problems and then talked to people who were creating and solving those problems.”

Laufer stressed the importance of being curious about the world and constantly asking questions.

“Be careful, because once you’re a journalist, you’ll never stop being a journalist,” he said.

Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, said that he enjoyed hearing about Laufer’s story-building process.

“It’s always a different experience for each journalist,” Huntsberger said. “I like to hear people talk about how they find elements in a story and the research that goes into specific stories. It’s gratifying to hear someone articulate what they do.”

Junior Michael Sanchez said that he was encouraged by Laufer’s work and the exhortation to constantly question things in life.

“[Laufer] reminded us that we should always be curious,” Sanchez said. “It’s part of our job when we want to be a voice for others.”

Laurel Adams, class of ’59, read excerpts from his debut novel “Two Boys” on March 15.

Adams’ novel blends his own life experiences, history and a web of his daydreams into a coming-of-age story about two Oregonian boys during the Great Depression.

During the event, Adams read selected excerpts of the novel, ranging from the characters’ exploration of each other’s religious and cultural backgrounds to sports and hunting segments, to letters back and forth from home to the military front during World War II.

Adams said that McMinnville was the inspiration for the setting and the characters were products of his own life experiences and his imagination.

“I’ve always spent a lot of time dreaming,” Adams said. “Whenever I’m mowing the lawn or raking leaves or loading the dishwasher, my mind is always creating stories.”

Joanna Peterson/Culture editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.