OVERVIEW: Creative Nonfiction is an exciting genre and one that gives writers a wide range of options for telling their (true) stories. Nonfiction is also a very old genre--If you've read Emerson, you've read in the tradition of nonfiction in American literature. But it's even older than that. Addison and Steele in 18th Century England wrote for and published The Spectator, which was essentially a collection of nonfiction, of essays and reportage, of London at the time. The tradition of the essay is a long one and rich one. I don't mean the five paragraph MCAS essay that you learned how to write, or even the essay you write for your college classes, but the kinds of writing that we read for and are talking about in today's class.
The word "essay," coopted as it has been by things like MCAS, make essays sound awful. But in truth, the very idea of the essay comes from the French "essayer" the verb for "to try." And, at its best, that's what this genre does, it is an author trying to seek an answer to their own question--sometimes a question about the wider world and sometimes a question about some part of their lives (memoir--also from the French for "to remember").
THE PROMPT: The "creative" part of creative nonfiction sometimes gets lost in discussions, but that is what I would like us to focus on this week. Creative nonfiction borrows heavily from the the characteristics of fiction--characterization, metaphor, imagery, the list goes on and on. For today's ICRN, select one of the essays we read for class--not to be confused with the short essay we are working on in-class--and write about the following: