"Heavenly Father!" "I love you all!" "I love everyone!" "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" "I love all of you!" by Luke Dittrich
Esquire, October 2011
So, I'm still doing that thing where I'm catching up on all of the magazines I haven't read in the past year or so. I picked this issue up and as I started reading, I realized I read most of the stories before (i.e. Chris Jones' profile on Justin Timberlake was pretty excellent), and I couldn't remember why I saved it until I got to Luke Dittrich's story about 24 survivors of the tornado that tore through the town of Joplin, Mo. in May 2011.
I always meant to read it, and more so after Dittrich won the National Magazine Award for it in the feature writing category earlier this year.
I can't say enough about Luke Dittrich ... I am in just complete awe of his work. This is a sentiment shared by many in the industry so I am hardly unique in saying this, but still, I must say it.
Any time I doubt I want to do this or need to remember why, I just need to read and remember his work—his meticulous, careful, careful reporting, the phrasing of his words, the storytelling, his ability to grab the reader until the story's done.
About a week after I wrote this blog post, Luke Dittrich e-mailed to tell me he loved & appreciated what I wrote. I freaked out. I remember I was having a crappy day, and I received it at the end before I left for work and it just made everything better, instantly. I'm not sure how he found my post (I think my tagging his name had to do with it?) but him e-mailing me to tell him I made his day was definitely the coolest thing to happen that week!