Part One of this series (published 1/03/2014) discussed a definition of creative writing from The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and states, “All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the true Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains incognito.”
We then discussed that definition with examples from a couple of genres and closed the post saying that we would further the topic by discussing creative nonfiction writing in conjunction with blogging.
So here goes.
An essay generally allows an author to post his or her thoughts on a subject. There is no conscious attempt to make a reader “see” any action being described. The reader is told. But with creative nonfiction there is a conscious attempt to show the reader.
As we quoted in the earlier post, “The stories or scenes not only have to be factual and true . . . they have to make a point or communicate information . . . and they have to ﬁt into the overall structure of the essay or chapter or book. . .Writing in scenes represents the difference between showing and telling.”
So let’s start with the image above.
The premise is that throughout 2014, you jot down a topic suggested by the list on the jar, place it in the jar and at year’s end open it and read all the amazing things that happened to you.
Let’s forgo the jar and go with a blog, maybe it’s a blog called “Amazing 2014.” At least a couple of times a week we create a post that is creative nonfiction. In theory, at the end of the year we would have at least 104 posts. If each post has 200 words, by year’s end you would have written 20, 800 words!
So let’s start with the first item on the list taped to the jar, surprise gifts.
Since we moved here from the northeast eighteen months ago, two large plastic boxes stuffed with photographs have sat atop each other in a corner of the garage. Occasionally, guilt would goad us into opening the boxes and reassuring ourselves that the heat and humidity had not done any significant damage, and we closed up the memories until another time.
Now it is the second week of January, and with the New Year come new resolutions, and sorting the photographs and assembling them in a more secure setting is high on the list, and that’s when the surprise gift appears.
It’s a black and white photograph, measuring eight inches by ten, wrinkled in places from being at the bottom of a stack. The setting is a hospital room and in it are three people. The two standing are young women dressed in nursing uniforms, white dresses with matching caps and both with serious looks on their faces as they stare down at the figure on the bed.
The figure on her back in the bed, also a young woman and probably a third nursing student drafted to play the part, is staring back at her classmates. However, it’s not just the stare, it’s the forlorn look, and the glass thermometer stuck between her lips.
The nurse cradling the clipboard is my wife of forty something years and she finds the photograph something not worth cherishing; I disagree. It’s charming, staged, but charming, a memento to a period when a professional’s uniform identified them, when milestones were captured, celebrated, and kept for years in big plastic boxes tucked away in a corner of a garage. It’s a special photograph to me, one special gift.
This post: Approximately 590 words. Subject of next post? Accomplished goals. Comments welcomed!