Creative Mind Podcast Episode 29: Keith Ryan Cartwright

“I really think that architecture and writing are very parallel. When you’re designing a house, you need a foundation. So. when you’re writing a story, you need a foundation.”

“Where are you going to locate the master bathroom?  What cupboards are you going to pick for the kitchen? All those are the little details that you would read in a feature story, in an article.  And so, the thought of conceiving the design of a house and the thought of conceiving the structure of an article to me are very part and parcel.”

Keith Ryan Cartwright is a journalist, advocate for public education, libraries and independent bookstores, and an occasional adjunct professor of journalism for the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University. He has interviewed a former president; two Nobel Laureates; Congressional and military leaders; Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs and innovators; Grammy, Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Pulitzer Prize winners; members of the Rock & Roll and County Music halls of fame; Olympic gold medalists; philanthropists and a humanitarian, who lived in a teepee.

On this episode of Creative Mind, we talk about Keith’s career from following musicians around the country to Hollywood to becoming the head writer for the international sports league PBR – Professional Bull Riders. For more than 13 years, Cartwright has chronicled professional bull riding, rodeo and the Western way of life. Now he has penned Black Cowboys of Rodeo, a book that chronicles these unsung heroes from Harlem to Hollywood and the American West. A book that author of the best-selling book Ali: A Life, Jonathan Eig extolls as, “resurrecting larger-than-life characters who will amaze and inspire readers.”

Keith’s experience as a storyteller is perfect for anyone looking to write, not only as journalists but as filmmakers, documentarians, marketers, and educators. Keith’s tenacity in pulling out the story is second to none, even if he has to remind himself to always push forward.

“I would say to myself, ‘I’m going to write a biography about this guy. But I kind of had to come by the confidence like, okay, is this a good idea? Is this a big magazine article? Is it really a book?’ I had to really look in the mirror and say, you can do this.”

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