Do you approach your trips in the role of a writer?
Question: Your writing is amazingly vivid, both in setting and characterization. As a reader, it is difficult to separate myself from the events you describe. Do you approach your trips as a writer, making mental notes along the way, or do you wait until you are home before resuming the role of a writer?
In response to your profile in February 1996, Into the Wild is a "fucking great book," and I have passed it on to many. Thanks for putting us there.
When I'm in the field on assignment — and this holds true no matter what the assignment — I assiduously record my thoughts and observations in notebooks, and sometimes on tape, but I never analyze my notes or contemplate how I might arrange them into a comprehensible article until I return home. In this way I try to retain an open mind, and avoid going into an assignment with preconceived ideas of a story's slant, or how it might play out.