Posted on Jun 3, 2012 in On Travel Writing, Things I Love

I’m reading Robin Hemley’s A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel, and it’s great.  I laughed in the first chapter, which isn’t something you’d expect from this kind of book, but it’s really snappy and fun to read.

I’m writing a book that’s largely participatory journalism, so I was drawn to this title.  However, as I’m reading it, it occurred to me that this is exactly what travel bloggers do.  We’re immersion memoirists, who can be of two ilk:  either we experience the world in order to understand ourselves better or to discover something about the world at large.  In other words, we tend to be memoirists or participatory journalists.  (Robin breaks it down into five categories: the experiment, the quest, the infiltration, the investigation, and the reenactment).

There’s not much writing about travel writing that isn’t (in my view) focusing on the travel aspect and somewhat ignoring the omnipresent “I” in all of our stories.  If we blog, we are writing long form narratives, over months and years, that could be considered serialized memoirs.  If you take it from that perspective then it shifts the way you think about your writing from being in service to the immediate post, to the larger story.

Anyway, great book, check it out if you want, the first chapter is free on