Monday, November 03, 2008

The Voice of Everyman

By Mike O'Malley

Studs Terkel died last week.

Studs was a National Book Award medalist, activist and Pulitzer Prize winning author. Over his 96 years he was also a stage and radio actor, disc jockey, Chicago and later nationally syndicated radio talk show host and TV star.

Studs’ writing “celebrated the common people he liked to call the ‘non-celebrated’.” His stories were about how ordinary people live, the little aspects of their lives, what divides and unites people, how people feel about their jobs, and “people who give us hope and through them we have hope.”

Speaking about crafting his stories, Terkel likened it to first extracting a small amount of gold dust from tons of ore, then using forms and molds to craft that dust into jewelry.

Personal, connected to the audience, relevant, observant, interesting, encouraging and self-edited. What an inspirational checklist for talent!

I don’t know all I should about Studs Terkel, but I’m going to learn some more. I’m going to read some of his works to see what I can learn about telling wonderfully interesting stories about the lives of everyday people.

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