I receive lots of mail each morning. I have compiled some of these emails together and presented them in a generic Q-and-A format, like I sometimes do. So let’s get started:
Q: Hi, Sean, I hate your stories. I don’t like you. I am an angry person who squashes bugs and waxes the steps of nursing homes for laughs. You, sir, are an idiot, your writing stinks.
A: Hey, thanks. I’m not exactly a huge fan of your writing, either.
Q: Howdy, Sean. Longtime reader, first time emailer. How do you go about finding stuff to write about?
A: Long ago, believe it or not, I used to go to Kmart for material inspiration, but then Kmart closed.
A: Yes. We had a great little Kmart in town. When I began writing this column, I would hang out at Kmart before work because my friend Jay was an employee and gave me free nachos and ICEEs.
Q: So what happened?
A: What happened was Kmart, a sacred American pastime, founded 122 years ago in 1899, a company which used
to operate 2,100 stores nationwide, shut down their stores. Currently, there are 34 Kmarts remaining in the U.S.
Q: So where do you get material now?
Q: Be serious.
A: Okay, well, I write seven mediocre columns each week. Meaning: finding human stories is my full-time pursuit. I dig for them anywhere I can.
Q: What do you look for in a story?
A: Nostalgia is a big one. But perspective is the most important thing to me. With the right perspective it’s possible to find something great in any event. My mama taught me that.
Q: So do you keep a journal or what?
A: You bet. Early on I realized I’d better start carrying a journal because producing a daily column is not a part-time job.
When I started traveling a…