What we can learn from Addario: Writing about your passion.

One does not need to go deep into reading part 2 of its what I do to find vivd writing. Almost immediately we are drawn into the scene of a freelance photographer running back and forth like a chicken with its head cut off (they actually do this) trying to catch her ‘big break’. Chapter 4 begins with the haunting image of Addario landing on ground zero, only to rush back to Pakistan, in order to document the brewing conflict. What makes Addario’s writing so effective is the ability to capture the readers attention by appealing to the reader’s emotions. 

We can see this on page 72, by the way she describes her research phase similar to what we would expect from a spy. “I learned to quickly tuck away my own political beliefs while I worked”. The danger conveyed in this phrase due to the connotations of the word ‘tuck’ causes the reader to be intrigued and concerned for Addario’s well-being. But most importantly, this phrase creates a hook which in turn leads the reader to be more curious and more involved in the reading. A similar hook can be seen on page 80 when Addario writes: “The New York times crew found several floor’s worth of rooms in a shady hotel above a bakery…” By setting the scene and classifying it as ‘shady’, Addario once again uses ethos, with the same purpose as before. From these two examples it is noticeable how the writer is using specific words and cues to spark interest in the reader.

A similar style can effectively be used when blogging. Using ethos can be tricky but it is a matter of finding a voice that can speak well to the audience that you are addressing. While a blog about Fantasy Football is not nearly as caustic as a book about war photography, it is still important to give the reader reasons to keep going. It can be anything as simple as the writer’s (that’s me) weekly progression, or something more complex like carefully selecting the words that will keep the reader hooked. It is definitely easier said than done, but when done effectively, ethos can be a powerful tool. I think the most effective way of achieving this is by simply being excited about what you are writing about and let the passion bleed threw your writing. I find that my writing is best when I am staring at the screen smiling because I find pleasure in what I am sharing with my audience. This, in the end is why Addario is able to captivate the reader so well; she is a master at sharing the things she finds exciting and explaining why the are exciting. 

Nana’s story, and my unrequited love for football

Nana’s missed chance in love should serve as a lesson to all of us. I believe that the reason this story is included is to communicate  an important life lesson that we often overlook; follow you passion and you shall be happy. For me it is clear that while Nana was completely satisfied with her marriage and the ‘benefits’ that came with it, she would still long for the passion, love and excitement that she felt when she was with Sal. Nana’s story is similar in many ways to that passion we hold so close and dear, but may not have the time, resources or skills to do so effectively.

I would like to draw on this point by drawing out an experience of my own. As a young kid, aged about 3 or 4, I found a love for football. I would spend hours every weekend playing Madden or watching games and even waking up at 6 am to catch the highlight shows. When I started playing, I was the happiest kid in the world. I loved everything about it. Every drill was a race or a competition, every practice was an opportunity to do the best you could and be proud of what you accomplished. But as a Mexican quarterback that only ever played south of the American border, I knew that this would only ever be a passion for me; and that it would end sooner for me that it would for most others.

While I knew for sure that I was in love with the sport I was limited in what I could accomplish in it. My coaches were unsupportive and would punish any mistake I made and threaten to put me on the bench. In addition, my main goal was to be able to go study in an American university; and that took most of my attention from the field to the classroom. In my sophomore year of high school I was benched and didn’t play much at all despite trying my best; and at the end of the season, I decided it was over for me; everyone was more invested than I was.

I believe that Nana’s story is necessary in Addario’s book because it shows how she makes sacrifices that may not seem logical, but they become justifiable because she is pursuing her passion. She learns from Nana’s experience and ‘what if?’ mentality, and concludes that she must find ways to do what makes her happy. While a career as a football player never looked possible for me, I have continued to follow my passion as a youth football coach and now, with my fantasy football blog. While I might not be traveling and risking it all like Addario is, I am still in touch with what makes me happy.

I wish to conclude simply with some advice my grandpa gave to me about finding my vocation and my passion, which I believe relates to Addario’s message: “If you do what makes you happy, you will be good at it and you will enjoy the work, which will lead you to success.”

My Version of Happiness

Thinking about what makes you happy is not that difficult of a thing to do. Your mind jumps back and forth between memories, ideas or even experiences as normal as letting a peanut butter cup dissolve in your mouth. The hard part about writing a passion blog is finding the courage to put yourself out there; to say “this is me, and I want to share this with you.” So in this first post I invite you to read about the things that make me laugh and smile.

I’m going to start out by being completely honest here, but most of my day circles around my breakfast, lunch and dinner plans. Eating is more than just getting fuel for me. It is a moral booster, and a space to calm down and converse with the people I care about. Its the kind of sentiment that a grandmother intends family dinners to be like. Lets be real here, who doesn’t love the way stringy warm mozzarella sticks hug zesty tomato sauce. Or if that isn’t your cup of tea maybe a crunchy fried chicken wing cover in a vinegary and spicy buffalo sauce. But as I am far from home at this moment, what I crave most are 4 juicy “tacos al pastor” (the authentic Mexican taco . . . NOT Chipotle). The meat is the juiciest way of cooking pork; marinated in spices and cooked on a giant skewer with flames on one side as the “taquero” spins the meat like a top to cook it and serve the tacos. Once we pair this meat with fresh and crisp cilantro, onion and pineapple and drizzle some lime juice over the top, all that is left to do is enjoy.

Yes, its even better that it looks.

When I am not to busy thinking about food, its probably because I’m lying on the couch inmoble watching football. While you may not know many Mexican football fans (NOT soccer). I am a proud Steeler fan who probably has way to much of an opinion about every play call and decision the coaches make. I love the strategy, and trying to predict who will get the ball on 3rd and 7 or whether they are going to take a shot on 2nd and 1 or just get the first down. I am also defending champion of my fantasy football league so I am definitely more than a couch quarterback (yes, that’s a joke, it is okay to laugh).

Finally, as I have already exceed my word count it is time to wrap up with the thing that fills up the spaces in between. Music. Whether it be indie hip-hop or blue grass or even progressive tango, I find great pleasure in taking a moment to unplug, sit back, and listen. But I don’t like to limit myself only to the sound of music, I also like to comment on the choices lyricists and songwriter use, as I feel it enhances the musical experience. Yeah, it’s nerdy, but this is what you get when you have an English teacher for a mother.

As far as deciding what my passion blog will discuss, I think I am inclined mostly to write about music mostly because it fascinates me to hear what people have to say about why they like certain artists or what they think about certain lyrics. But a close second is to write about REAL Mexican food; because I have lived here in the USA for all of 2 weeks and have come to the conclusion that nobody knows the truth about Mexican food; and that in itself is a tragedy.