Thursday, April 14, 2011


I’d like to tell you a story about Gregg Doyel.

Gregg and I began corresponding a few months ago, after he got into it on Twitter with my Esquire colleague Scott Raab. Their skirmish made me sad, because for reasons I can’t really explain—their passion, their abiding sense of morality—I had decided that they would actually get along famously in real life.

So, I asked them to make up. More specifically, I asked Gregg to make up with Scott. Now, Gregg once got challenged to a fight by an angry MMA dude and accepted. He’s not exactly known for backing down. But Gregg and Scott eventually patched things up, and one night we’ll meet for dinner in Cleveland or Cincinnati or somewhere in between (Xenia?) and have a grand time. That makes me happy.

Anyway, Gregg and I have maintained our correspondence, and one thing Gregg does a lot is make fun of his own abilities. He’s always saying that he’s not capable of this, or he wouldn’t be able to contribute to that. When I asked him to do a Five for Writing, he said that he’d read the past entries, and he didn’t belong in the same company.

Well, let me tell you another story about Gregg. He received these five questions at 9:52 a.m. this morning. Three minutes before noon, I had 2,400 clean, precise, entertaining words land in my inbox. You can’t do that if you’re not made for this game. You can’t write like that, have the words just pour out of you, if you’re not built to do this.

I’m very pleased to introduce Gregg Doyel, esteemed member of Five for Writing’s Class of 2011. He belongs.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Glenn Stout is a man of many projects. Among fans of longform sports writing, he’s perhaps best known as the editor of the vaunted Best American Sports Writing series. (The 2011 edition, guest edited by Jane Leavy, will be released in October.) He’s also written dozens of his own books, covering a wide variety of topics, from baseball to the World Trade Center site to Trudy Ederle, the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

Glenn’s next book, Fenway 1912, is about the building of that ballpark and its first season. It will also be released in October.

I admire Glenn for his having forged a career mostly as an editor and author of books—a very tough nut to crack—but also because of his continued interest in helping develop young writers and readers. Glenn treats the words that make it into print like an inheritance, like objects that are being passed down. And I believe he wants, more than anything, for those words to be good—to be worthy—and for them to continue to be good. I don’t know anyone who’s done more to seek out and highlight bright new talent. He’s like an old birddog scout, and I can still remember the first time he found me. Getting a phone call from Glenn, telling me I’d made BASW, was one of those moments I’ll remember happily forever.

Many thanks to Glenn for taking the time to participate in Five for Writing. There are many lessons here worth noting if you, too, wish one day to be collected.

Sons and Daughters of Bold Venture—Vermont’s own, Glenn Stout: