pat walters

freelance journalist in memphis

boots and pants

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Speaking of the unending nature of stories, consider Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book, “Into the Wild,” which traces the adventures and eventual death of a young idealist named Chris McCandless.

The bestseller began as a piece for Outside magazine. This month’s cover story gives a behind-the-scenes look at Sean Penn’s big-screen adaptation of the story (due out next month). At one point it notes that when the crew visited the abandoned bus McCandless died in, they found his boots and pants placed neatly on the floor.

That’s mysterious and haunting and strange. But what does it mean? What does it tell us about that place and the people who frequent it?

Nearly 15 years have passed since McCandless died. The movie won’t tell us about those years. That’s not the point. But those years are important. They’re part of the story. I want to hear about them (and the events they witnessed). And I want to know what they mean.

I want this, I think, because I know that the story Krakauer ends so eloquently on page 199 hasn’t really ended at all.

No story does.

(Sadly, it looks like the magazine piece isn’t online yet … in the meantime, here’s an interview with the author, Outside editor Chris Keyes.)


Written by patwalters

August 21, 2007 at 10:55 pm

Posted in narrative journo

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