Writing the truth as we see it — writing honestly — is not just about writing the facts, the way things are. Sometimes, it’s the way we hope things are, or how they could have been, or could be, or even were, as the case may be. Yes, sometimes, writing the truth is about imagining a different reality.
But let me back up.
The expectation of creative nonfiction, as its name implies, is that the writing is true. Indeed, when it’s not true — when we find the writer has “made stuff up,” has intentionally deceived us — we feel betrayed as readers, as though the sacred contract between the writer and reader has been broken. But this intentional kind of deception is not what I’m referring to when talking about imagining a different reality in creative nonfiction.
Rather, I am writing about imagination as truth.
One of the things…
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By Kara Daly
I’ve always hated writing prompts. They shine headlights on me and I freeze. On-the-spot writing exercises fill with me with fear, creating a barrier between myself and what I need to say. The pressure does the opposite for me what it does for others. I require inspiration and an open field in order to write, whether it’s poetry, prose, or music. But I don’t have to resign myself to a life of being a helpless “vessel.” I can comb my life for patterns, name them, and learn to create the conditions for inspiration to occur, and my field opens.
I had a teacher once, who I love and respect, and whose passion for writing inspires me to this day. But I remember something she said at the beginning of the course that, at the time, struck me deeply, but which seems contrary to how I operate as a…
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According to the calendar, Spring arrived three weeks ago, but the latent buds on the trees in Northern New Jersey have refused to blossom, somehow intimidated by temperatures straining to reach historical averages during the day, and defeated by freezing cold at night. Even the early birds have postponed their arrival until they can be certain that crocus sprouts and freesia flowers are here to stay.
Things were no different in Vermont, two weeks ago, where the ground had a firm grasp on winter’s snowy mantle…
resisting all attempts to turn over a new leaf.
We joined my sister for Passover in Peacham, hoping for relief from Mother Nature’s less familiar plague of more wintery weather, but basked in the warmth of family around a beautifully presented seder table.
Nevertheless, the early promise of Spring is mostly evident in the thaw of the sugar maples surrounding the Peacham property…
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