Creative Nonfiction

Making Stories Matter in Creative Nonfiction

I could tell you a story, as I do in my essay, “Bastards,” about the night a young man opened the back door to our house and stepped inside while my mother was washing dishes. I could recall, fact by fact, what happened next. The relevant question for those of us who write creative nonfiction is one of why I’ve decided this is a story worth telling. It’s our nature to tell stories, and we have a number of them at our disposal. When we write, we usually choose to tell the ones that have left us mystified or unsettled [...]

By | 2017-10-17T21:50:24+00:00 October 9th, 2017|Blog|14 Comments

Not Fade Away: The Memoirist at Center Stage

Not Fade Away: The Memoirist at Center Stage My wife and I just got back from the Southern Kentucky Book Festival in Bowling Green, where we got to spend time with friends we haven’t seen for quite some time. At dinner last night, stories were abundant and laughs were plentiful. At times, though, we talked about serious matters, and empathy and understanding were widespread. This is what I look for in the people I think of as friends, this willingness to accept me for who I am, this refusal to judge. I want my friends to laugh with me, yes, [...]

By | 2017-04-24T07:22:03+00:00 April 24th, 2017|Blog|5 Comments

Goofus and Gallant Write Their Memoirs

If you’re like me, you remember very well the magazine, Highlights for Children, and one of its regular features, “Goofus and Gallant.” Six panels of drawings compared the comportment of the two boys: the always ill-behaved, Goofus, and the ever. . .well, the ever-gallant, Gallant.” The first panel on the left might say, “When Goofus loses, he runs away, crying.” The right panel might then counter: “Gallant doesn’t cry when he loses in games.” You get the idea. Goofus illustrates poor choices; Gallant shows us how to conduct ourselves. I thought it might be fun, then, to use this strategy [...]

By | 2016-09-05T07:50:09+00:00 September 5th, 2016|Blog|12 Comments

Daydreaming Your Memoir

I saw a photograph once, but now it only exists in my memory. It was an 8 x 10 glossy of the congregation of the Berryville Church of Christ, the church I attended with my mother when I was a small child on our family farm. The church itself was a one-room affair with a brick chimney and white-washed clapboards. It sat a little ways south of Berryville proper, which is to say it was just a bit south of the Berryville General Store. My grandparents at one time managed that store. They lived cattycornered from it in a modest [...]

By | 2015-04-06T08:06:37+00:00 April 6th, 2015|Blog|6 Comments