Thursday, February 16, 2012

Outside Magazine Pieces - by James Nestor & Brian Mockenhaupt

There were two stories that stood out as particularly interesting and well written from the March issue of Outside Magazine.

The first piece was "Open Your Mouth and You're Dead" by James Nestor and chronicles the 2011 Freediving World Championships held in Greece. It was an engaging piece on people pushing themselves to the limit (not just "giving 110% on the field", but at times almost dying limit) in a sport that doesn't really pay financially. I don't know that I've seen any of Nestor's work previously, but his writing really had an element of suspense to it and it made for a tremendously interesting story.

Also in this issue was "As Long As They Both Shall Live" by Brian Mockenhaupt, someone whose work I've seen previously (in Esquire). Its solid writing that features the subtitle "Professional daredevils Rex and Melissa Pemberton were drawn together by a mutual passion for risk and adrenaline. Now they have a marriage based on love, trust, and the strange, stoic acceptance that their life partner could die at any moment." The Pemberton's seem to do better financially than the Freediving athletes, but also appear to live and work with greater risk as evidenced by their friends who have died while in aeronautics (Melissa's specialty) or extreme sports pursuits.

Comparing this piece to the one by Nestor, his work perhaps has more of a building of tension throughout and Mockenhaupt does a great job of relating how the risk taken on both by Rex and Melissa becomes more profound given that one could die and leave the other behind.