Writing creative nonfiction is about real-life events, teaching the reader something as you explore, and making meaning out of the event for self and the reader. It’s writing to discovery. When you start out, you don’t know what is over the hill. Like riding the dune buggies on the Oregon coast last summer — flying at 60 mph, going straight up the side of a dune a hundred feet or more, bolting into the sky at the top and seeing the other side appear, then rushing headlong into it. It is wild and wonderful.
I’m presently working on a piece with an underlying message that changed my life and my world view. It happened twenty-five years ago. I’ve spent all that time searching for answers, flailing, hurting, trying not to grow bitter, trying to find meaning in my own life. Trying to answer the whys.
Selecting the slant for this piece — what to include and what not to include — and writing it with openness and honesty and writing it with some vulnerability (because I truly didn’t know the answers going into it) … all this lets me explore it deeply from all angles and come to grips with it in my own life. Putting it on the page allows me to share my life experience with others who may need the same message.
I think, I dig, I write, I learn, I grow.