For both of my core classes (Nonfiction Techniques and Contemporary Nonfiction), I have to write profiles. I’ve written a few in the past (my favorite being of Dr. Christopher Vilmar at Salisbury University), so I am no stranger to the format and nuances of personal description.
This is great news! I love writing profiles! Meeting and working with new people ranks as one of my favorite activities. If I could make a career out of talking to new people every day, I’d be one happy writer.
My problem isn’t writing a profile, it’s choosing who to profile. I find way too many people way too interesting. My teachers are adamant that I interview someone I don’t really know (using “know” like know), partly as an exercise in good journalism, partly to remain as objective as possible. The profiles are supposed to capture not only the personality and mannerisms of the person, but also speak to a broader theme.
I’ve cast my social net, trolling for an interesting, dynamic personality. So far, I’ve come up with the following (with my proposed theme/tone of the piece):
- Current head of Police for the University of Maryland (A piece on the different faces of crime on a prominent college campus, in one of the highest crime counties in Maryland)
- Highly qualified IT project manager that cannot find a job and has been unemployed for over a year (A commentary piece on unemployment, especially in a field that everyone assumes is stable)
- Random dude who bags groceries at Safeway (A “watchman” piece about a normal guy who sees a daily cross-section of our culture, buying habits, and attitudes)
- My neighbor, who is the executive director of an assisted living home (An emotional piece about living and taking care of people near the end of their lives)
- My mandolin teacher, who is as much a philosopher as he is a musician (A piece on teaching and how music applies to all aspects of life, through theory and philosophy)
I feel like I could write any of these well, but I can’t commit to any one thing. The Safeway dude might come across really well (especially how I’m imagining the narrative arc), but it also has the possibility to be boring, should the interview be flat. Timing is very important, so the current social and political climate should definitely be taken into consideration.
I’m also open to anything completely random that has potential. I’ll strike up a conversation with anyone, if I think it’ll be interesting.
Throwing it out into the void. What do you readers think? Do any of these stand out more than the others? Would you prefer to read any of these specifically?
Comments, suggestions, ideas very welcome!