If Flaubert was ‘a man of the quill,’ then perhaps I am ‘a woman of the ear.’ My interviews aren’t interviews as such. Just talks. We just talk and my role is to listen. Listening was difficult at first because of the cognitive dissonance I experienced.
Posts Tagged: nonfiction
Over at The Collapsar, Brian Oliu pens a stunning essay on writing, running, and changing one’s perception of both the body and the prose:
This, to me, is what a successful essay does: it confesses before the writer is ready–instead of looking back upon a moment in one’s life and trying to compartmentalize it into a narrative, it is very fluid and of that moment–I am going to talk about these things that I am not an expert on in hopes that I come to a greater understanding about myself & the world that surrounds me.
For the Guardian, Richard Lea investigates the distinction between fiction and nonfiction writing, a distinction that exists most firmly in anglophone cultures and literature. Lea interviews several writers who work with texts in other languages, either as bilingual authors or translators, in order to find whether separating stories according to their factual content offers any benefit....more
Well, that’s the point of being alone—it’s not anything to do with you. It’s about being something in someone else’s life, and no one ever knows the difference, or the truth. That’s why people like bad movies and bad fiction, and it’s worth it, it’s worth it, it’s worth it.
Once I decided I wasn’t going to stop if I flinched, I figured I was opening myself up to some hard stuff. So, when it came, I kind of expected it. Maybe some of the beautiful moments of my life surprised me.
Maybe the loneliness of the American critic stems from his obsession with freeing minds, which quickly become isolated monads.
Things in my own life that make me want to write about them are often things that are unresolved. And I use writing to figure them out.
Memoirists Meredith Maran, Dani Shapiro, Ayelet Waldman, Kate Christensen, and Nick Flynn speak in a YouTube video about why they write about their own lives, and the best/worst things that happened to them as a result of writing a memoir....more
I was a kid. In many ways, I’m still a kid, trapped in the extended adolescence of the post-irony, post-sincerity millennial era; I came of age in America under the Bush Administration, a world where words, masquerading as truths, became tools for war.
Backlist is a new service meant to connect readers and students to curated lists of history books put together by scholars. The site’s founders solicit book lists and recommendations from scholars and historians, with a goal of exposing people to books they may not have heard of otherwise:
It’s like going into the office of your favorite history professor.
Increasingly, a writer needs an access point, a micro-focus, a close-up lens—even a gimmick: one small story through which larger historical truths can be elucidated anew.
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, N.S. Morris writes about how journalism inform stories being written about the Middle East, exploring the various shapes nonfiction takes in the process of trying to understand something so expansive....more
Geoff Dyer, author of numerous nonfiction titles, discusses the increasingly blurry border between fiction and nonfiction—and more importantly, whether that distinction matters—at the Guardian:
As the did-it-really-happen? issue gives way to questions of style and form, so we are brought back to the expectations engendered by certain forms: how we expect to read certain books, how we expect them to behave.
At the Ploughshares blog, E. V. De Cleyre considers the many ways to find the right moment to end a nonfiction story:
The aftermath, Cusk writes, is “life with knowledge of what has gone before.” Writers are not seers. Armed with the “knowledge of what has gone before,” we mold events, truths, into narrative, and hope and know that the last punctuation mark is not the end, but the invitation to begin again.
Over at Brevity’s nonfiction blog, author Janice Gary talks about how to structure a nonfiction story:
Fiction writers start with nothing and create a world. Memoirists start with an entire universe that already exists. We are more like sculptors than painters, relying on the advice of Michelangelo, who supposedly said he made the statue of David by taking away everything in the stone that was not David.
Travis McDade writes for Lit Hub on the theft of primary source documents from libraries and how the precarious state of our archives affects our nonfiction narratives and memory....more
Fiction is, by definition, made up. We know this, yet still we try to “figure out” where stories come from. At Lit Hub, Leslie Pietrzyk wonders why readers are so eager to ground imagination in reality:
Why is that always the question fiction writers are asked?