The Reporter’s Notebook

A Thank You to Brittany Lyte

Reporter's notebook

It’s been a curious couple days since I was featured on the front page of the Connecticut Post’s Business section about my Demand Poetry business.

I’m not used to being on that side of the news, it’s true. I was interviewed by CT Post reporter Brittany Lyte, who was young — well, younger than me! — and very professional.

But what struck me as interesting and most wonderful about the experience was the fact that Ms. Lyte took her notes entirely with a Reporter’s Notebook. The kind that sit on a shelf in a office supply closet, and are sold in packs of 10.

No digital recorder (ugh… if you record it, that means you have to listen to it–again!), no laptop. Just a pen and a notebook. And the most important part of reporting: she’d researched me in advance, and she paid attention to what I was saying and listened for the story.

I suppose there is nostalgia in the writing of a newspaper story anyway, these days. But it made me happy to see this young woman doing her work in a traditional way. As Colin says: Many Pulitzers have been won from notes written inside one of those notebooks.

I was a bit nervous about how the story would come out. Not because of the notebook, but because of me! In the course of the hour I spent with Ms. Lyte, I babbled on for about 42 minutes about my life — blah blah –back story and stuff I thought immediately after: she’ll had no need for that!.

But she didn’t stop me, so I suppose she did have some need for it– to get context. To get a feeling of who she was writing about and to understand my personality.

Which, by the way, really did work. At church yesterday, I accepted all the glad-handing and commending by all my friends– these are the folks who “knew me when.” That’s cuz at my church is where I started up the live poetry gig in the first place. Those lovely ladies and guys were at the bake sale and the singing at the gazebo, while I was banging out poems under that big tree at Stratford’s 32nd annual Harvest Festival. They were the first people who bought the poems, too.

And they agreed that Ms. Lyte did very nice work. She caught the feel of it. I can’t say just how, but her writing in the article has just blend of story, acknowledgements, and gentleness of feeling.

I am appreciative of the press, of course. It’s certainly something a small business owner craves! But I feel at the same time so glad to meet a good profile writer like Ms. Lyte, who brings out the light in people, in such a thoughtful way.

As a note, I was also quite happy to be photographed by Autumn Driscoll, who did just about everything but climb upside-down into my closet to get a great photo of me. I know everyone with an iPhone (including me) thinks they are a photographer these days. They aren’t, and it’s proof when you see a real pro at work. Thanks Autumn. You were lovely. (I do believe learning a a few bad jokes might not hurt, though!)

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home.

 

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