Thursday, February 24, 2011

J.R. Moehringer Writing

As this blog is all about great writing... the reading of it, the linking to and commenting on it, I find myself constantly seeking out information on and new work from the writers I like the most.

Picking up a Sport Illustrated and seeing that Susan Casey (who I first wrote on here) has a new book excerpted there (which I then posted about), reading a Roger Ebert blog post which gives an e-mail address for Esquire writer Chris Jones, finding out Erik Larson has a book coming out in May... to me, that stuff is just golden.

To this whole writing crush concept, I'm kind of amazed that it's not terribly easy to find much about the excellent writer J.R. Moehringer (author of "The Tender Bar" ... one of my two favorite books read last year, with the aforementioned Casey book as the other). Yea, he's got a Wikipedia page, but in today's hyper connected twitter-using world, I expected to find more about him and what he's working on. Fairly incredibly to me, a google search for the term "who does J.R. Moehringer write for?" provided my "Tender Bar" review as the fourth result.

With this as the impetus, I set out to find and read me some more Moehringer... and glad I did.


First thing I found was a Sept 2010 piece for GQ titled "Three Weeks in Crazyville". About the author's time spent with LeBron James prior to his "The Decision" ESPN event, it's great writing about both a guy (James) and a process. It reminded me of his "Tender Bar" memoir in that Moehringer injects himself into the story and as a result reveals more about James by revealing the process of writing about him. Not to overstate things, but it struck me as a pretty audacious approach... that worked very well.

While reading this piece, I saw mention on the GQ site of another Moehringer athlete profile from earlier in 2010. "In It To Win It" looks at the life and drive of Kobe Bryant and while the story was written in a more conventional manner than that on James, it's still solid work on a pretty fascinating guy.

Two other features from Moehringer I found (and enjoyed) whilst browsing on the worldly wide interwide net...

Written on the town of Gees Bend, Alabama, "Crossing Over" looks at a pocket of the country unknown to many and seemingly caught in a tug of war between staying that way and becoming "modernized". While I wasn't as captivated by this as I was the GQ pieces (primarily due to interest in the subject), it's excellent writing from Moehringer... as evidenced by his 2000 Pulitzer Prize for the story.

Also from the L.A. Times (and later made into a movie), "Resurrecting the Champ" is about Moehringer's relationship with and search for the truth about an ex heavyweight boxing contender. It's pretty riveting stuff and though written some 13 years before the story on James, features (very effectively) the same narrative device of writing about writing. Reading about the author's intereactions with the subject provides a piercing view into him.

So, anyhoo... Moehringer... really solid writer and I look forward to reading more stuff by him in the future.

Now, if only he would get a twitter account and/or blog to make said stuff easier to find...