Looking back on my portfolio I found a few exciting and, unfortunately, not so exciting things. I realized that, no matter how much I may still feel confused, I somewhat understand Creative NonFiction. Depending on what topic you want to work on depends on how you should write a Creative NonFiction piece. I find it a little easier, and more interesting, to work on “Eye” essays than “I” essays (minus my last attempt). I think it has to do with the fact that “Eye” essays tend to have a journalistic feel. I am a journalist. It just kind of clicked for me, but I do think it tends to depend on the topic. “I” pieces are something different. You have to enjoy writing about yourself, and while I don’t mind writing about myself I find it easier to write about something that isn’t me. Writing about other people, places, things, etc. works for me because I like learning about them and I like informing the world about something they may not know about (for example, Muggle Quidditch). I think if you write about yourself and your experiences you’re led to think about them and to find more about yourself, which isn’t a bad thing. Some people like to remain a mystery. For me, all the topics I think I would write about myself are topics that I really wouldn’t want to write about myself because I just don’t want to face them.
I think my progress as a writer for Creative NonFiction has grown with every essay. I started out not really knowing what I was doing but going through the motions blindly. Essay 2 I had a better idea of what I was doing, but still had a bit of trouble because I was still talking about myself. By far essay 3 had to be the easiest one for me because I partially wrote it as if I were writing a journalistic piece on it, but adding my own experiences in with it (which is generally a no-no when it comes to journalism unless you’re working on an opinion piece). That’s the one thing about Creative NonFiction that makes it Creative NonFiction. You have to connect it with your experiences and your life, even if it is an “Eye” piece. Unfortunately, for essay 4 I felt like I was writing essay 1 all over again. I was very stuck on my topic, and every topic that I really wanted to do I could only think of how to write it as an “I” essay. So naturally, I decided to write on the one thing I knew a lot about: writing essays. It also worked because my professor from my Improvisation class just had a rant about why knowing how to write an essay was important. The part about the professor’s husband and about the guy he hired was the story she told us. I know that essay 4 was not Creative NonFiction because it was definitely more of an essay piece than anything. I think it’s a good idea and has great potential as a Creative NonFiction piece, but I think it has to be done in a different way. What way that is, I have no idea.
I’ve only revised one essay so far: essay 2. It changed quite a bit from what I had started with to what it came out to be. I originally got the idea for this essay from the piece “Music is my Bag” by Meghan Daum. I really wanted to write about something I really, really enjoy doing. Something that I wouldn’t mind doing for the rest of my life. So, naturally, I began looking for a way to talk about what writing means to me and connecting it with books. The first draft I wrote broke the shell, but really didn’t go where I wanted it to go in the end. So I started from scratch and was stuck for quite some time until a friend suggested I look into bildungsroman. By connecting bildungsroman, or the formation novel, with the formation that my writing had gone through from when I was in fifth grade until now. I think starting with a quote helped as well because it set the mood for what I was writing about. I talked about how much I loved writing and the quote represents that feeling without me coming out and saying, “This essay is about how much I like writing.” I got this idea from the John McPhee piece “The Patch.” He started with a quote that helped set up the essay and I really liked that idea.
I don’t think it will take me as long to revise my second essay. I decided that I’m going to revise the Muggle Quidditch piece by setting it up in the beginning and tying in my experience at the International Quidditch World Cup. I even interviewed some players from the Harvard team, but I hope I asked the right questions. I also want to add more about me and my experiences with Harry Potter to emphasis that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to Muggle Quidditch. I’ve been there, done that.
In the end, after this class is over, I don’t know if I’ll want to go into Creative NonFiction seriously. I enjoy writing it for this class, but I’ve said many times to myself how it’s not for me. I like creating and expanding a world and characters, not writing about real life (which is the reason why I could not do journalism for the rest of my life either). But honestly, I can see myself writing Creative NonFiction again. Afterall, I did enjoy working on and thinking about these pieces. There are at least one or two more Creative NonFiction pieces floating in my head that I really would like to try to write. Maybe even more that I haven’t discovered, but I’m afraid that once I sit down to write them they won’t come out as I want them to and that I’ll turn them more into fiction. But the point of writing the pieces is to make them Creative NonFiction. Even though Creative NonFiction is not my forte, I would really like to keep at it because it was really fun writing in a new way that I never thought of writing before.