Believe Me, I am not a Journalist!

I had the great fortune in the last 12 months to work with the crew of Silent Crow  Arts Production Company. These are the people who work very hard to make the television shows The Barnwood Builders and many others like the Deadliest Catch. After working with the cast and crew last summer I have been able to reflect on what it is  that I hope to accomplish with this blog. After talking with two of the producers and one photographer last summer (2015) I had a revelation that I would have never come to with out their input…… “I am not a Journalist ! This will never be a Journalistic Blog!

During my college career I wanted more than anything to become a female western artist. I wanted  trained in the highest forms of drawing and painting and to travel the western states of the United States exploring the culture and drama of life. Yet, when I started doing more research about these woman and their histories I found that many had less formal training then I had. That many just created from the heart and found their happiness in just being able to share with their communities. Some of these female artisans shared traditions handed down from generation to generation and others created from spiritual believes. Many traveled to the west and became inspired by the natural beauty of the area. They all  felt that they needed to share what they were seeing in their own way. I knew that I wanted to share my world views also,  I just did not know how it would come to pass.

It took me 13 years to change from painter to writer of stories about Appalachia. The Eastern mountains are the most undiscovered, unappreciated  area of our great country. So I changed my medium from working with pencils and paint to words. I am learning to paint pictures with words and share stories with my photos. I feel as if I must tell the stories I find about these woods, these towns, and in these people.

Before working with Silent Crow Arts, I had thought that I needed to learn more about journalism. That it is was important to get the facts and report the statistics of those facts clearly. Well that idea was TANKED after a short but meaningful conversation with Katie Rolnick on the site the Barnwood Builders episode.  She kindly explained that she had come to television production from a back ground in journalism and that it helped  her some but, it was not the only way to tell a story. Then she went on to remind me that I was a story-teller  already  and that was how I became part of the show. My mind became shocked and confused at the time.It took the last 6 months for me to process what she  meant. Yea, I am slow sometimes…. aren’t we all?

Katie Rolnick Producer of the BarnWood Builders on the DIY Network with Miss Lee

Katie Rolnick Producer of the BarnWood Builders on the DIY Network with Miss Lee

Recently, I finally excepted her description of my hobby as a story-teller (Narrative Writer) only after understanding what that means and the difference between being a story-teller and being a journalist. The differences are huge and I found that journalism leaves the heart and soul out of a story. The soul of my stories would be missing if I only wrote the facts of an event or experience. If I had to cut out the family that I love to write about, the pain and sadness that I experience, our silly adventures we go on, then this blog would not be mine at all. It would be a travel guide to West Virginia. I hope with your support to continue to write about it all… the good,..the bad,.. and the ugly.

So my blogging goal ( resolution if you fallow that way of thinking) is to keep writing about what I love. I want to keep you in the loop of the great things I find here, things that keep me inspired and happy. I want to write about our struggles too, the things that I want to see change and what I think we can do to change them. I want to share my family…. even if they are as goofy as I am. I want to show you photos of the beauty that I see all around me and finally I want to paint pictures with my words. I plan to work harder on editing, and learn more about creative writing so that I can convey things more clearly… ..Sometimes I just do not have the time to do the editing I need to do and that will change as Christopher grows older.

It took almost a year for me to fully understand how and why I am part of a TV show. It has taken at least that long to for me to understand that I am not a journalist but a story-teller and to become comfortable with that title. So here is to all the new stories I hope to tell in the New Year…. May they all be good ones!

German beer glass Circa 1987 Happy Beer New Year 2016

German beer glass Circa 1987  Kirn, West Germany ,         Happy Beer New Year 2016

Categories: About me, Barnwood Builders, blogging, Country life, writing | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Believe Me, I am not a Journalist!

  1. Sandy

    It’s apparent to everyone but you (until your epiphany) that you are indeed a great story teller. I have never had a boring story from you, either in print or face to face. I have learned so much from you. Keep up the good work.


  2. bill vogel

    I love reading your blogs but can you help with a number or address for barwood builders want some prices of there work have not had any luck on the web


  3. Proverbs 16:19… we never know when we need to change course, but when we do, sometimes we see the new vistas rather than the old.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yours is one of the first blogs I started reading when I joined the blogging community and have enjoyed it ever since. Your stories are always ones that keep my attention and never fail to entertain, inform, or touch my heart. I look forward to all your posts and enjoying the process as you find your voice.


  5. Do what you do well JoLynn. That’s what people enjoy.


  6. So glad that you were able to have that conversation. Isn’t it amazing how just a few moments can make such a difference?


  7. Jack

    I love your stories and pictures about the country where you live. The history is great even if we only go back a hundred years. But imagine the people that we have read about from the time that part of the world was first settled.Ill likely never see these places myself,so keep on keeping on.


    • Thanks Jack you are the main reason I want to write this blog. I want others to see what see and learn what I have learned with out having to travel so far to do it. I would love to travel all over the world but the reality is I will maybe make one more trip over seas in my life time and only get to see the rest through blogs and on TV…. glad you enjoy my rants!


  8. Hi Johlynn! For me, one of the most interesting parts of your blog is watching and listening to you as you “find” yourself through your blogging! It’s really a wonderful thing, and especially wonderful that you share that process. Because I think all of us that are blogging are going through a certain amount of re-defining ourselves – we just don’t think about it as much as you do, or talk & write about it. (At least I don’t) I do come into blogging from a journalism background myself – one I sort of “forgot” about for awhile, watching kids grow. From my background I would argue that you are still doing quite a bit of “journalism” in your story telling; and that “journallism” can and does take a lot of forms – there’s not just one way of doing it.

    Having said that, tho, I do see what you’re saying about loving to write about your family. MY family is definitely NOT my blogging subject, but every now and then I do get the urge to include something personal, that might include them – but I repress that because I do try to keep it “journalistic” (and also because they’d probably be sort of shocked and not entirely pleased to find themselves in my blog all of a sudden). So I do see what you mean. And YOUR family IS your subject, so they know it and expect it. Anyway, your post triggered a lot of interesting thoughts for me! Happy storytelling to us all! Right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • One good thing I did before I even started this blog was get permission from all the main people in my life to write and photograph them. If they had said “No Way” this would be a different blog. I would still be writing but I would not be sharing so much about our family. A friend once said that I do journal entries not journalism… that may be true I am just thankful that some one out their likes to see what we are up to and finds It fun. Thanks again as always for the support and I really enjoy your passion for your Whoopers. I love birds of all kinds and find them fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks, again, Jolynn; it’s always nice to hear from you! And the more interest there is for whoopers the better their chances, I think. (And of course, I’ll be back for more West Virginia stories.)


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