I want to share with all of you a new discovery I have made. It is so new, I haven’t even had time yet to explore all of it myself. Haven’t folded back any pages or cracked the spine on it yet. (Will future generations know I am talking about opening a paperback book all the way flat when I say ‘crack the spine?’ Or will they assume it is some metaphor for a kind of yoga stretch or something?)
First – I just finished a book on ‘Crafting The Personal Essay’ by Dinty W. Moore (That can’t be someone’s real name, can it?). Since that is what we do here in the blogosphere – craft personal essays all the time, I thought I’d read a bit about it.
I don’t like reading books about writing. It seems counter-intuitive When you’ve been writing all your life, the advice contained within the pages of a ‘how to write’ book is either something you already figured out for yourself, or it completely useless because it doesn’t apply to you. To me. To my own unique, individual, totally different than anyone, I swear, (you don’t understand ME!) way of writing.
But this guy’s easy, non-condescending, non-lecturing tone pulled me in and I read the whole book. I highly recommend it to all my Blends. As I am new to the blog/essay writing world, his ideas and prompts were immediately useful. (my recent post, Nature is Yucky, is a direct result of reading this book)
One of the sections of the book is on the ‘Lyric Essay’ something that I have never heard of before. I don’t think any description of mine, nor what he wrote about it in the book really does it justice, but it is not poetry, and it is not quite prose either, it is, well… here, just read this: It is the first lines in the Essay, Autopsy Report by Lia Purpura:
I shall begin with the chests of drowned men, bound with ropes and diesel-slicked. Their ears sludge-filled. Their legs mud-smeared. Asleep below deck when a freighter hit and the river rose inside their tug. Their lashes white with river silt.
Doesn’t that just give you shivers? And it totally defines the term ‘Lyric Essay.’ It is creative non-fiction, written with the idea of pleasing the ear as well as informing or enlightening the mind.
As is usually the case these days – the author pointed this reader to his own blog http://brevity.wordpress.com/ and this is where I made the discovery – The blog led in turn to his Magazine: http://brevitymag.com/. I started reading the current issue and I am in awe! Flash Non-Fiction! I love it!
This is what I want to sound like when I grow up!
No, I’ll never stop writing fiction. Fiction will always be my first true love. And Flash Fiction is what (I think) I do best, but Flash Non-Fiction – oh, this is gonna be a long-term love affair – I can feel it!