On Writing the Truth

logan-january I didn’t walk into Creative Nonfiction at the start of sophomore year expecting to hate the class, but I didn’t expect to love it either. My main concern was that my life didn’t offer enough experiences to write about; inspiration for wild fictional stories is endless, but my own life is finite. I didn’t know what I would write after the second or third essay.

What I didn’t realize is that while I have limited experiences, there are unlimited ways to tell those experiences. I can write about my parents’ divorce from the perspective of myself when I broke my arm while they were arguing, or I can write about standing in front of the front door with Mom’s suitcases on the night that we left. Even in those specific moments, there is more to tell; with the broken arm, do I write on the realization of the fact that my parents weren’t “alright,” or do I write on the duality of pain I felt in that instant? I have written none of the experiences that I have described so far, but recognizing the possibilities in that I can write on these things is the most important part.

Creative nonfiction opened doors for me in respect to both its secular genre, and in respect to all other genres, because what is more applicable to writing than the truth? Creative nonfiction was the first time that I felt it was okay to write the truth in the same ways I had written stories, and it was the first time that I realized that truth is essential to all writing. My current tactic on writing poetry is drawing from my own life, because there is nothing that I can write better than what I have already experienced. My fiction now includes pieces of me, whether a character is dealing with loss or visiting a setting that I am familiar with. In general, I have felt a lot better about all of my writing since I took Creative Nonfiction class, because it has allowed me to know more about my own writing. I can take a situation familiar to me and alter it in the name of fiction without sacrificing the fact that I know enough about the situation itself to write about it in a pseudo-personal manner.

Even more integral to my writing is the fact that creative nonfiction has allowed me to look at my own life experiences from a different perspective and gain from the writing process. I can learn from what I have already gone through in a new way, each time I create a new piece, each time I redraft. The beauty in writing what has already passed is that I can continue to learn from the moment long after it is gone, because in writing, it continues to happen, over and over and over again.

-Logan Monds, Social Media Editor