Keeping Good Writing Alive

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

(Video part of an “Invisible Narrative” project recently mentioned on

One of my new favorite Web sites is Run by a handful of young writers at the St. Petersburg Times, Gangrey is like a well-kept candy shop open to anyone who appreciates good writing. There are often links on the site to quality stories from newspapers around the country, like this one from The Washington Post‘s Hank Stuever, or this one by Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen. The articles generate a decent amount of discussion on the site.

Sometimes the discussion and practice of good writing in the newsroom gets lost amidst talk of multimedia. Figuring out how to tell multimedia stories is no doubt important and good, but writing should never have to suffer as a result. Gangrey’s got the right idea in creating a site that expresses “a writer’s approach to helping bail water out of a sinking ship,” and helps “prolong the slow death of newspapers.”

A Gangrey post featured an interesting YouTube video about a project called “Invisible Narrative.” The project, according to, “aims to bring to light an unwritten history and narrative in the spaces that are inhabited daily by nameless and faceless people. The idea is that you [everyone] would carry an ultraviolet pen, writing your thoughts, interactions, and stories wherever you go. If pervasive enough, anyone could throw a black light on any wall and find an account of a life or history that is unspoken and unknown. The ultimate goal of the project is to give the ever multiplying, lifeless and sterile spaces of today a bit of humanity.” So cool.

The project reminds me of the cubicles at Providence College’s Phillips Memorial Library (or Club Phill’s as we used to call it). Many a nights, I would find myself staring at the cubicle walls instead of studying, because the walls told stories. Usually the “stories” were bookmarks in time, proclamations of love, or profanity-ridden: “Mike wuz here,” “Joey loves Mary,” “F—- math exams.” I used to wonder who wrote them and what the messages meant. Where’s Mike now? Did Joey still love Mary? Did Mary ever love Joey?

Good writing, invisible narratives — they’re out there. We just need to find them. What good writing have you stumbled across lately?