212. A Career of Storytelling
Jim Auchmutey is a writer in Atlanta, where he worked as a reporter and editor with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 29 years. He’s the author of the book The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town and the Long Road to Forgiveness, a tale of race, religion and reconciliation set at Koinonia, the communal farm in Georgia that gave birth to Habitat for Humanity. His next book will be a history of barbecue.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Early on, Jim figured out that journalism would be a way to earn a living while pursuing his interests in storytelling and history. “My formative years—when I was really starting to pay attention to the world—were in the 1960s in Atlanta, Georgia, and in what was going on then. The Civil Rights Movement was unfolding right before our eyes in the South.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Deciding to stay in his hometown, Atlanta, and study journalism at Georgia State University gave Jim the opportunity to write for his college newspaper, a couple of alternative weeklies, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Growing up in the Sixties in Atlanta, I was keenly aware that history was not something that happened to other people in other places. It happened to my people, in my hometown. And it made me very interested in those stories.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“When I look back at my career, I think the key was flexibility. I learned pretty early on that what I was in love with was storytelling. What I was in love with wasn’t being a daily newspaper print reporter – it was storytelling. And if you find out what it is that’s really at the heart of what you love—instead of the position, or the salary, or the job—that’s very important. It gives you a built-in flexibility to go with your passion, instead of going with the office.”
Steps to Success from Jim Auchmutey
1. Find out what’s really at the heart of what you love.
2. Learn the skill of being flexible as you pursue your passion.
3. Develop curiosity and the ability to be interested in many things.
4. Make the best of whatever life brings you.
On His Bookshelf
The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town and the Long Road to Forgiveness, by Jim Auchmutey
Connecting With Jim Auchmutey
Book page: Facebook.com/classof65book/
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