to the Reader
When I registered for the class, Creative Non-fiction,
I was sure that I would concentrate on long and boring term papers, footnote
sources, and gruesome formality. I was not excited at all about it, but
knew that I must learn it to get my certification in English and Allied
Arts. Because 401 was a required class, of course I would make the most
of it, I thought, but didn't expect to really learn much. In fact, I thought
that my writing would probably be even worse than it was when I went into
the class - more tightly wound, structured, and yawn- inspiring. What
could I do? I didn't have a choice, so I told myself I would get through
I was very surprised to learn that Creative Nonfiction
is a new genre of writing which has loosened the form and structure of
modern non-fiction to create a fresh and appealing style. It includes
essays and journals, and takes memoir writing to a new level.
From the start of the class, I was excited about
the possibilities, once I took a look at the textbook and the syllabus.
For my first assignment, I put my web page online at the class website
at Blackboard, and felt very proud of myself. Now I could concentrate
on writing with imagination, and try my utmost to do a good job, a professional
job. This was something I'd wanted to do since I was a little girl. I
felt so lucky.
Learning about Creative Non-fiction
From the time the class began in January until now
(April - and almost time for finals...) I went from the tightly structured
compositional style I was formerly used to all the way to a stream of
consciousness writing style, finally unafraid and free, which made me
realize that the writing block I thought I had wasn't made of stone after
all, it was the painted plastic of theater boulders, and I could throw
each wrong idea and excuse out of my own way. It wasn't that I couldn't
write, it was that I didn't write, and if I ever wanted to write
a novel, short stories or poetry, I had to change my way of thinking.
This class showed me how to do it. It was such a surprise to me that something
actually happened when I wrote, and that I could actually do it. My success
(modest though it was) lifted a lot of my fear of writing out of the shadows
to let me look at it honestly. I had been afraid to fail,
and now I was going to break out of my old beliefs and start on a real
life writing journey.
Our textbook, The Fourth Genre, is full of really
good stories about real-life people who can write with depth and feeling.
This book explains creative non-fiction to the new creative nonfiction
writer in ways he or she can understand. I learned that although there
are different definitions of creative non-fiction, and different ways
of looking at the truth, there also is a lot of room for creativity and
imagination in the genre.
As I wrote about other authors, and composed my
own stories, I found that the writing was hard work, but it was so enjoyable
to me that the hours flew by. The same thing happens to me when I work
on web pages and art projects. This "getting into the flow" is something
that shows me that I love to write. I have changed the way I write now,
though. I used to wait until the last week before a term paper was assigned
to start working on it, and that didn't allow for any revision. Now I
carefully check the spelling (most times!). Also, I check for sentences
that don't sound exactly right, or could be moved to another section of
the story. I carefully look at every sentence now, and check