Back to Thoreau

I've always struggled with the inherent solitude that comes with being a writer. Decided this was a good time to finish Walden. Was looking through this morning and came a line that defines my entire approach to journalism and to life. Dig this:

I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me.

Man, that is beautiful. Obviously it's not that I don't interview folks--I think reporting is the essence of writing. But the writer should always be aware that he is the filter. First person has been given a bad name in journalism by a lot of people who just were bad writers--first person or not. Me, I'd like to see more of it. Nothing is more annoying than reading some story and seeing a journalist refer to herself as "the reporter" or "when a reporter asked..." It's like dude, we see you. You're right there.