By Andrew Nelson | Published October 2, 2014
There’s a saying in journalism, “get the name of the dog.”
It encourages writers to keep their eyes open for details to add to a story. These details can pull back the curtain to reveal the person beyond their words.
On assignment I often poke around to look at books in a person’s home. Or I may ask about photos on side tables or art hanging on the walls and ask what it’s all about. For me, it often spurs a conversation about a person’s interests to weave into a story. For readers, I hope, the details add a layer of understanding about the subject. The details are a reminder the person is flesh and blood, rooted in a particular time and place.
I wrote in our Oct. 2 issue about Sister Beatrice, a retired MD who felt a calling for a rare vocation: a hermit. I didn’t know they still exist either, but they do. It was eye opening to speak with her and hear about her life and her decision to promise to live the life of solitude and prayer.
I saw books scattered around her hermitage, some in her chapel, others in her library. I photographed them. To me, they show a curious mind of a woman wanting to understand the unique path she feels called to walk.