I was having a conversation last weekend with one of the writers I was just published with in The Airgonaut (check out her story here) about fiction vs creative nonfiction. She brought up a very good point: The best writing is honest writing.
And I got to thinking two things: 1) oh shit that's a blog post right thurr 2) wait, that actually makes a lot of sense. A lot of people don't really "think" about Creative Nonfiction because it's a very underrated genre. But I've always believed anyone can be a writer because everyone has a story to tell and that is where CNF comes into play. Hell, there are a lot of people out there who have been doing Creative Nonfiction for quite some time, they've just been calling it blogging.
I dusted off two stories that I had written on the mouth end of my MFA career and I realized, you know, maybe this wasn't so bad. Maybe it needs a little bit of editing. Who knows? I'm definitely considering it now.
But back to the idea of truth.
For three and a half years, I believed I was a journalist. I mean, yes, I was one, but I bought into the role in a complete way. I'll tell you an example. When one of the last Harry Potter books came out, I camped out, and there was this girl I knew through the Xangaverse and we would chat on occasion. (Read: I had a huge unrequited crush on her). My HS social anxiety was so severe I couldn't even muster anything beyond a "hheeeh...hi. helllo." and then I KISSED HER HAND BY WAY OF GREETING LIKE A GODDAMN IDIOT.
Anyway. So, yeah. Social anxiety was my truth. And then I enrolled at UTB and got so involved in being a reporter that THAT became my truth. I hounded administrators, I had no problem getting under their skin, I had no issues walking into any office and talking with anyone. I was still terrible with the ladies, mind you, but it was "misinterpreting signals" kind of terrible and not "cringe-worthy" terrible.
Then I moved to Houston and I had the opportunity to embrace a new truth about myself.
I became a storyteller. My truth redefined my personality and redefined my message. No longer was I writing Harry Potter/GTA/Smash Brothers fanfiction (come at me bro) for an audience of negative three people, I now had a different role, that as a communicator.
And that is the mentality I have with my life. I will tell people I love them, I will tell people I miss them. I will tell people what my opinion is if they ask.
So we come to the truth in fiction.
When I started writing my fantasy epic, I wasn't just going to tell a story about an exiled prince, a prophecy, and a massive war. I was going to tell a story about leaving your homeland, about finding a better world, about trying to fit in. An immigrant's story in the disguise of sword-and-sorcery.
When I began writing and editing the thesis project that became my manuscript, I realized I didn't need to tell the story of the Blackwind clan. If I focused on unadultered truth, I could have a story just as powerful. Not that I want to stop writing genre fiction. I'd like to go back to that story because I think it has potential.
And the truth can be uncomfortable. I wrote 12 short stories all dealing with mental disorders. It wasn't easy. You know that whole Nietzche staring into the abyss thing? Yeah, completely accurate. There wasn't joy when I finished writing. I just felt broken, spent, and it took me a few months to recover enough to start writing again.
That is the power of truth under the guise of fiction and why that fiction is going to lead my future audience to their own truth. I want them to look at the fiction and then see the truth under it, the idea that they're not alone in their suffering.
And in full disclosure, I'll be honest when a story is strictly fiction and there's no underlying message. Sometimes things are going to boom!
But if someone wants to apply their own truth from those stories, then I'm not going to stop them. I hope they do and they reach out to me and I can learn something from them.
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