Welcome to Contemporary Creative Nonfiction!

Hands Writing in Class

You’ve made it to The Motherblog! Here’s where we’ll gather when we’re not in class, connecting with one another and the world beyond Middlebury as we explore creative nonfiction expression. Each of you will set up a blog where you’ll post your experiments, discussions, reflections, musings and full-fledged works of creative nonfiction (we’ll create links to them from the righthand sidebar).

On this main collaborative space, we will all post questions, thoughts, observations and connections for the full group to consider and discuss. To get us started, I want to ask you to share your thoughts on why we, in twenty-first century, turn to creative nonfiction as readers and as writers. Tell us about creative nonfiction writers you read; tell us about the kinds of writing you do or would like to do and why. To respond, click on Comments.


13 Responses

  1. I don’t know any creative nonfiction writers, since I seldom read creative nonfiction books. Probably that’s also a good reason for me to take this course. I love reading anything writings that are related to economics, simply because I’m passionate about economics. I hope that I can broaden my horizon by reading more interesting creative nonfiction books on other aspects.

  2. I think that in the twenty-first century, we are turning to creative nonfiction as a way to expand our abilities. It is one thing to make up the experiences of a fictional character, but it is a whole other concept to incorporate real facts into our writing in a way that is both interesting and accurate. In our society we are always stretching to be better and unique. Creative nonfiction creates a challenge while still allowing the writer to express his or her point of view.

  3. I have never taken a creative writing course before, so I am used to researching and finding evidence to create a compelling essay. It usually takes me a long time to sort out my thoughts and put together a structured paper. I am looking forward to being able to have some flexibility and freedom in my writing in this course. I like that I will get to make a lot of decisions regarding content and detail.

  4. I’m an emotional writer. Most of my writings are emotional and personal, it is a way to express myself. Most of the ideas from my writing came from my life experiences, so mostly they are nonfiction. In the future I would like make my nonfiction writing more interesting and creative.

  5. I feel as though I’ve been bombarded with painfully uncreative nonfiction for the the past six years or so. Who hasn’t realized that “science journal article” is often a synonym for “afternoon nap” and that time carefully budgeted for geography reading quickly morphs into valuable Facebook-surfing time? But there’s a problem with all this, beyond the stony-faced professors who ask unanswered questions in class: we still need to know the information in those readings. Not just for the grades, but to know the stuff. Why go to college if we didn’t have to know it, and if there would be no future benefits?

    So it’s time, for me at least, to learn something true that’s interesting. To revitalize my drive, so to speak. Beyond that, I want to present what I have to say in a way that makes people take notice. Who cares about the message of a piece no one will ever pick up and read?

    Most of my creative nonfiction writing experience has been in the form of the personal essay (Remember “Tell of a time in which your morals were challenged?” Did anyone else write about their morals when applying to Midd?). Most of my creative nonfiction reading has been in the form of the nature essay. Annie Dillard, if you can just pick up her book and

  6. [previous submit was unintentional, continued below]
    …open to a random place without worrying about reading every word, is fantastic.

  7. Hey, random aside: I think I’m going to use my blog from mongolia for the class since it already has lots of material posted… so head over to: http://mongolia.yulebomb.net/

  8. Creative nonfiction is a tool to capture big and small events in our lives. Through writing about them (with or without adding photos/videos/voice), we understand their meaning to and influence on us better. In addition, because creative nonfiction is so descriptive and vivid, we can go back to those events later to “relive” and “refresh” everything that happened to us, and maybe look at it from a new perspective.

  9. I believe that communication is a basic human need, and it has never been as easy at it is in the 21st century. Communication today is no longer limited to words and it is not bounded by time or location constraints. It is much more powerful than it used to be. This, however, has come at a price. Accessibility makes it possible for virtually anyone to publish anything. Blogs, Youtube videos, Facebook accounts, etc. are not at all unique.

    Writers in our time turn to creative nonfiction to satisfy their communicative needs and break out of the mold, proving individuality among millions of internet users, but also looking for someone who can relate to them and their pieces. They want to show who they are and what they think in their own way.

    The only creative nonfiction I have ever written can be found in my stash of journals, which I have kept since age 12. And although I find my doodles and stories and accounts on life interesting, I am sure nobody else would find them as enthralling as I do. It was yesterday — when the “So What?” question was mentioned in class — that I realized that I need to learn to write creative nonfiction that others can relate to, and find away to make my most personal stories just as special for other people.

  10. So, why creative Non-Fiction? I suppose, for me, a lot of the appeal comes from the awe of seeing a form so traditionally dry and static (nonfiction) turned on its head and morphed into something beautiful, inspiring and — of course — creative. I’d say the epitome of this is the story I mentioned in class (the one about India). I read that and felt it was really pushing the boundaries of what non-fiction, even writing itself, can be. And the same goes for many of the other readings in D’Agata! (p.s. Barbara, the bookstore is sold out of all the books…)

  11. And I’m not using my mongolia blog after all: it’s still jtermwriting.yulebomb.net

  12. Writing has always been my own personal outlet for those thoughts and emotions that bubble over my internal holding capacity, but are too bold or ridiculous to share with others. I think just as the 21st century has changed every other media outlet, such as radio, television, and the internet into more fully integrated forms of media, that nonfiction writing has also moved into a more expansive and captivating form. I cannot specifically name any creative non-fiction writers. I guess that is a good starting point for wanting to take this class. Additionally, though this class caught my interest because I love to imagine that really good works of fiction are true somewhere somehow. Creative nonfiction seems like it will take the ordinary story and present it as something extraordinary that draws on all the senses and captivates.

  13. Some words of introduction and explanation. I have joined this class late, making a large decision on little notice to drop (for the time being) my study of Chinese in order to pursue a more personal form of learning. Writing in my life has been a medium that walks a fine line between creativity and functionality. I have a vague memory of the reaction I had when I first heard the term “Creative Nonfiction”; I didn’t understand what the term meant. Something in my head couldn’t equate “creative” with “real” (which could turn into an entirely separate discussion on the problems with separating our creative selves with our “real” selves, if such a feat is possible.) But now when I think of the term and this course, I see a channel for the visual collective that forms in my head as my thoughts piece themselves together. I’ve never been comfortable with keeping a journal (except while traveling) so blogging is an odd leap forward for me and when I meet you all in person tomorrow, I’m going to have the odd sensation of knowing that you know something about me without actually knowing me. This could probably go on for awhile longer but I’ll conclude by saying that I am stoked to join you folks in exploring the realms of creative nonfiction and I look forward to meeting you all tomorrow.

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