Creative Nonfiction is the Most Challenging of the Genres

I have been working on my coming-of-age memoir for the past…I don’t even know…it feels like forever, but at least writing consistently for my MFA since May, and when I read this post, I felt understood.

In his blog Lee Gutkind writes, “The creative nonfiction writer, whether writing immersion journalism or memoir, must combine the skills of a psychologist, philosopher and dramatist with accurate reportage in order to achieve greatness in what we do.”

Yes! I thought, I have felt like I’ve been deep in therapy for the last several months, but in therapy without a therapist. I’ve been going back to some of the worst times in my life and why, I think, why do I want to return here? But there must be a reason so I keep writing. 

I’ve stayed away from my memoir for the last week, I’ve been busy working on an article for Diabetes Health which has allowed me to throw myself into researching facts and interviewing doctors and not thinking about my past and why I remember what I do and if what I’m remembering is the correct version anyway. I’m going to start doing some copywriting too, for a catalogue which will allow me to write about things, candles, salt and pepper shakers and vases instead of divorce. This will all be good because like Mr. Gutkind says, 

“Creative nonfiction is more demanding because of that absolutely crucial first step—the reality of the experience, which if it does not make the process more difficult, then it certainly makes it more complicated.  What we write has to be real.  It has to be true.  It has to have happened.  That is one big thing.  But then the writer has to figure out how to turn real life into Literature.  That’s another even bigger thing to be concerned with.”

Real life into Literature (with a capitol “L”), I like that.

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