So What's Creative Nonfiction?

So What's Creative Nonfiction?

Truth bent along the lines of reality

How can something be factual but also creative? Is it possible to tell the tales of life's events accurately with embellishment? I believe so, but there is debate on how far the boundaries of truth can be extended. I define creative nonfiction has the construct of storytelling from a singular perspective which brings to life memories that would otherwise be forgotten.

Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" released in 1966, was one of the first nonfiction works to be of the new genre creative nonfiction or "new journalism." Capote crafts a compelling story of the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas. The victims aren't just murder victims and the killers aren't simply killers. Capote manages to develop the people involved as characters readers become attached to. He creates a situation that invites thought and further investigation. "In Cold Blood" isn't a nonfiction book that says "this happened," "because this happened," "the end." There is color, connective language that engages the reader emotionally.

Writers creatively making non-fiction work do no need to stick to a formula or singular style. Often times the genre explores topics that do not agree. Eula Biss's "Notes from No Man's Land" is a collection of essays that blend traditional topics with those of a more provocative theme. Her essay, Time and Distance Overcome, beautifully correlates the invention of the telephone to the practice and horrific sport of lynching in America. These two topics discussed in another form of discourse wouldn't work very well in syntax. One is very technical while the other is historical and radical. But with the flexibility and transparency of creative writing, one could make a sensible essay of the two. Lines are blurred psychologically in creative non-fiction.

There are also no parameters. This can be challenging for a writer because it doesn't effectively answer the question, "why are you writing this?" And if that question cannot be answered, then the work begins to take the form of fiction. At least from the perspective of the reader. Capote's work was criticized by many editors and authors, one, because he really did not have a legitimate reason for writing "In Cold Blood." And two, some of his descriptions couldn't be accurately sourced. He wasn't from Kansas, he didn't know the family, and he had no personal experience of losing a loved one or family member to murder. He also didn't know the killers. Because his reasoning was unclear or non existent, some literary scholars considered the book fiction. He wrote it from his perspective only. It is officially considered creative non-fiction, but the debate is still up for discussion.

Creative non-fiction is typically gravid with scandal. Kathryn Harrison's, "The Kiss," is her story of an incestuous relationship with her biological father. Like with other works of non-fiction told creatively, readers demanded a reason for why show wrote the book. Because the details are so scandalous, the book actually received great criticism. But sometimes great work brings great grief.

I believe novice writers should explore and play with the genre of creative non-fiction. Young writers are often unsure of themselves. And the genre allows uncertainty. It allows truth to be bent along the lines of reality. And that always makes for a good read.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Must-See Movies For Your Summer

Check out these movies in theaters soon!


I can't wait till these movies come out. Going to the movies during summer is a great escape from the heat, giving you a few hours in the air conditioning while enjoying a big tub of popcorn.

Here are a few movies to check out this summer when you want to cool down for a little while:

1. "The Lion King"

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