Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Process Writing: Darien Parlick Profile

What was initially an explanatory piece about young people of color from underserved communities not making it to college, as told through the story of Darien Parlick--a 20 year-old white male living with all of the same obstacles as his Latino neighbors, yet on the road to college--turned into part explanatory and part profile of two different guys, Darien and his friend/mentor, Dave.

By the end of the piece, I forgot what I was trying to explain because I was so focused on telling Darien's story and what Dave is trying to do for him. I still don't know what this piece is trying to accomplish. It feels like a mix between profile and explanatory journalism.

I'm not really confident calling this a "profile" because Dave and Darien are both central characters, and the piece speaks to larger issues of race, education and class.

Right now, though, it doesn't speak much to the implications of Darien's race. What does it mean that he's the only white boy among so many Latinos who frequent the Teen Center and the only one making it to college...and the one that Dave and the director are placing their bets on? He's faced many of the same obstacles as his friends, yet he's more likely to make it out of the neighborhood. What is that attributed to?

I thought about making this a simple profile about Darien because he's a fascinating kid, as you can read. I really wanted to focus on that questions I just wrote. But halfway through writing this piece, I unintentionally made Dave the (or another) protagonist. Maybe Dave was always the protagonist...I'm not sure.

Am I trying to do too much here?

Do you feel that the message is confusing?

That's a lot of questions. Here's the one to think about for workshop: What is this piece about?

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