#NightstandChronicles #Fourteen #OpenLetterToSeanPenn

Dear Sir,

I have never written a letter like this before, unless you count Tweets to famous people or people posing as famous people, or fan clubs of famous people.  I suspect that the “never having done this before” line is the most over-used of all of fandom, but “long-time listener, first-time caller” seems glib, so, having professed my lack of experience here, I will venture on.

I have read your piece for Rolling Stone magazine on El Chapo, and watched your interview with Charlie Rose on “60 Minutes,” and I wanted to write you regarding this work in particular.  I realize your primary area of expertise is in that of the dramatic arts, and that you have Oscars to validate this point, but I also know that you contributed to the writing of movies as well, one of my favorites being “Into The Wild,” which tells me that you know how to write as well.

I’ll get to the point; I was not disappointed with the Rolling Stone article because you met with a drug kingpin–someone should have at some point in the name of journalism–or that you seemed to write about nothing but him regarding the war on drugs–although that might have had more validation if the article were part of a series over several issues about all aspects on the war on drugs–but I was disappointed in the writing.  I understood what you were trying to do from an activist’s standpoint, and I applaud the creative risk, but an editor might have been able to pare down the effort and help to pack more punch into the words that were left.  Parts that rambled didn’t need to ramble and parts that didn’t ramble were like watching Giants rally in the 8th inning and win the game.  

Please understand that I too know how difficult it is not to ramble–hence, the name of this blog that I limit myself to once a month–but you are well known and you have the ability to reach out and ask for feedback.  If you did and the person(s) providing it didn’t provide the truth, then my beef lies with them, but if they did and you decided to ignore that feedback then there’s not much that can be done for the cause.

I truly love your writing when it is on point, and, experiential journalism or no, I think you have the ability and the clout to get this kind of writing done and read and make a difference with it.  Just keep practicing and get better at it.


Looking Forward To What’s Next