Readings & Podcasts to discuss September 11: Pieces on Identity

Image: Exquisite Corpse drawings artist Matt Ballou made with two of his daughters – Miranda and CaiQun. Graphite on paper, 11×8.5 inches, August 2017.
Please read/listen and be prepared to discuss the following creative nonfiction and journalism pieces:
Bonus! If you’re feeling ambitious, also check out this Longform podcast interview with Meghan Daum.
Potential discussion questions:
  • What was the purpose of each piece? Was it to inform, enlighten, or entertain? Did it accomplish the goal?
  • Which piece did you enjoy more? Was one more “accessible” than others?
  • Which piece(s) are more of a “story.” How can you tell a story apart from a piece of journalism? Can a piece of writing have elements of both?
  • What is the universal story (that many if not most people can relate to) underlying each of these pieces?
  • What about Daum’s essay would qualify it as a subject “unspeakable?”
  • Does Kang’s personal experience add to or detract from his articles? Does it make him more or less credible as a journalist?
  • What does Kang have to say about the way he goes about writing a piece, and how does he feel about editors?

Author: Tina Casagrand

8th-generation Missourian. Curious writer. Community volunteer. Hopes to one day see a jackalope, but will settle for an ocelot.

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