Back when I first started this blog, I did a series of posts on nonfiction. I was about to start my MFA program and knew I’d be taking a creative nonfiction class that fall, and I was kind of freaking out about it, so I decided to write about it on my blog in the hopes that I’d learn something along the way.*
I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking about creative nonfiction lately, and it reminded me of these posts. So, without further ado, here is a (belated, hence the #TBT) round-up of my old posts on nonfiction!
In Part 1, I sort of meander through a general introduction into the genre and what I think/know/think I know about nonfiction.
In Part 2, I take a look at some definitions of the word “nonfiction” and compare and contrast “nonfiction” and “fact.”
Here’s Part 3, in which I narrow things down a bit and talk specifically about the “personal essay.”
Part 4 further compares the terms “nonfiction” and “fiction,” taking into account fact, historicity, and a bit of religion.
Finally, in Part 5 I wrap things up (kind-of) and emphasize the idea that nonfiction ≠ fact, which is what really makes it appealing to me in the first place.
I mention two important books in my musings, John D’Agata’s The Next American Essay and Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay, both of which are phenomenal resources for learning about nonfiction. But I’ve read a number of nonfiction collections since then that I’ve found really interesting, so if YOU are interested in reading more/learning more about nonfiction, I highly recommend the following:
If you’re interested in nonfiction as it relates to blogs and the internet (and in reading some generally awesome pieces), check out Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded by John Scalzi.
If you’d like to read something experimental, try Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields.
If something intensely, almost painfully personal strikes your fancy, I highly recommend The Journals of John Cheever.
If quirkiness is more your thing, you might like Vanishing Point by Ander Monson.
If you’re looking for a good laugh, you should definitely read Me talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.
And if you just want to read something fascinating, disturbing, hilarious, introspective, and more, then read Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace. (In fact, if you haven’t read DFW, you need to immediately. Like now.)
So there you have it, a retroactive look at nonfiction. While the genre still interests me a great deal, I unfortunately do not have as much time as I’d like to read the fiction that I’d like, so nonfiction just inherently takes a back seat. I suppose I’ll get back around to it one day, but until then, this will have to do!
* Full disclosure: I was also hoping that as I wrote about nonfiction I’d somehow vomit up something I could use as one of my required essays for the class—writer’s laziness at its best! I did not end up doing that, but I do think I learned quite a bit as I wrote these posts, which ended up informing the pieces I actually did write for the class. Full circle type-stuff, I guess.