Greetings! I recently had a good idea of what to do next on this blog. I’d like to do at least one post (maybe more) about creative nonfiction. Creative nonfiction is a topic that’s been rapidly rising in popularity for the past few years, and my own writing focuses have somewhat shifted in that direction as well. But also, even though it’s nonfiction, it has a lot of common principles that can be applied to writing fiction. It’s basically storytelling–telling your own story in a fun and interesting and exciting way–and so it can have a lot in common with other forms of storytelling too.CNF

So I wanted to do a post about that. And I will. But, like my good friend Selayna recently mentioned, I am also rather busy right now, with finishing up my master’s degree and final papers and thesis revisions and getting ready to graduate in a week and a half. (It’s so close! I’m super excited.) So, unfortunately, I don’t have time right now to go super in-depth into what I know about creative nonfiction. I probably will for (at least one) later week. But if you’ve never delved into the topic before, then hopefully I’ve piqued your interest enough to stick around.

For the time being, then, I’ll just leave you with my most recent work-in-progress: a creative nonfiction narrative poem about this final leg of my grad school journey. Enjoy!

Like Odysseus returning home from his journey,

Or Hercules performing his glorious labors,

I’ve come far enough to know that I’m unstoppable.

The pressure surrounds me on all sides, but I press forward,

Ignoring the crushing, crippling weight on my shoulders.

Through each excruciating essay,

Through massive mountains of grading,

Through every terrible thesis revision,

I beat on toward the green light at the end of the dock,

Knowing my quest is nearly complete

And I can hardly fail to grasp it.

When obstacles try to thwart me

with clouds of stress looming overhead,

Then I defy the stars,

Raise my fist up to the heavens

and shout with all my might,

“I am Samuel, Grad Student of Grad Students!

Look on my words, ye mighty, and despair!

I am he who has read the unabridged entirety of Moby-Dick!mobydick

I am he who won the second place arts and humanities award at the Graduate Research    Symposium!

I am he whose thesis draft is a full hundred pages long,

And I shall not be denied!”

With Faustian monomania I stay set on my course,

An inflexible severity of purpose,

Hunting that elusive white whale of success and satisfaction.

Leaving no stone of my victory unturned,

I murder sleep just like Macbeth to complete every last little part,

Pushing deadlines and transcending limitations.

I toil tirelessly through the night

On the strength of caffeine

And the tragic flaw of my own hubris.

But even the great Gilgamesh was tainted by mortality,

And even King Arthur had a final fall—

And, well, for all of their dauntless determination,

it’s not like things worked out so great

for Faust, Ahab, or Gatsby, either.

So even I come to the end of myself

With only so many hours in a night

And so much energy I can exert,

My sudden halt plunges me all the way down

To the feet of a merciful father

And the broken concession that I still need help.

Oh, I’d much rather plow through on the strength of my own pride

Than accept one more deadline extension,

One more admission that I couldn’t do it all in time on my own.

I resist grace because change is painful

Just like O’Connor always said,

But as I lose my wooden leg

And rest my weary eyes

And put it all away to come back to tomorrow,

I know once again that I’m not invincible

But maybe it’ll still be okay.

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4 thoughts on “A Brief Introduction to Creative Nonfiction

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