This course will consider how magazine stories are made: the conception of the story, the strategies of reporting, writing and revision. We will begin with short pieces based on early weeks of the voyage, shipboard life, port visits, etc. These will involve first impressions. Later on, there will be longer pieces, which will be more thematic, concentrating on such issues as the character of tourism and of travel, the role of guides, the contrast between group travel and solitary adventure, first impressions versus second thoughts. We’ll invite thoughtful evaluation about discoveries, surprises, embarrassments and unexpected insights. The goal is to produce something that goes beyond journal-keeping, blogging, diary entries and creates a record that will interest others, friends and strangers.
Field WorkCountry: Mauritius
Date: October 19, 2017
When I first saw Mauritius in 2011, I was a faculty member on Semester at Sea. The visit was brief - way too brief - and tantalizing. I remember passing a long row of hard-used Chinese fishing boats as we came into shore. It was Sunday but the markets were busy... and untouristic, except for knicknacks related to the islands extinct dodo birds, as in “dead as a dodo.” I ate well, I liked the manners of the own. People seemed pleased to see visitors. I returned to the ship, wishing I had more time there. And now I propose to go a bit further. In addition to exploring Port Saint Louis and visiting Fort Adelaide which hovers above it, I”m drawn to the spectacular Pamplmousses Botanical Gardens, to a pair of dazzling colonial style homes, Eureka House and Chateau de Labourdonnais. And as much as time permits, I’d like to see something of the island’s coastline and mountainous interior.
1. To present and challenge writing students with an unfamiliar place.
2. To test their abilities to report perceptively.
3. To write persuasive, straightforward prose.