One of the niftier things I did last year was to register the domain personalessays.org. I have, for some time, been thinking about creating a site for the discussion and posting/linking of short creative nonfiction pieces and techniques, for interested writers and readers. This is my pitch to see if anyone is interested.
Why start a forum? After checking out various writing forums on the Web, I’ve come to the conclusion that an informal discussion forum devoted to creative nonfiction could be useful. Although there are many excellent writers sites on the Net, most of them are focused on fiction writing. Essays, if mentioned at all, are usually given sidebar status. There is a site called Creative Nonfiction, but it appears to be academically oriented and pitched at a more formal level than I had in mind.
I like writing essays and I like reading them, whether they’re written in the sweeping, crystalline prose of a Rebecca Solnit, or the witty, meandering style of a Joseph Epstein. From Montaigne to blog postings, there’s a broad range of creative nonfiction writing I find appealing.
By creative nonfiction, I mean nonfiction writing that has in it some of the elements of fiction and poetry — things like interesting metaphors, poetic language, dialog, tension, story telling, feelings, mood, a sense of place, a sense of wonder, surprise. As the Wikipedia article states, “forms within this genre include personal essays, memoir, travel writing, food writing, biography, literary journalism, and other hybridized essays.”
So, I like reading essays and I like writing them, and I’d enjoy hanging out at a place where like-minded readers and writers could gather to gather to post links to their writing, to discuss creative nonfiction styles and techniques, and to alert others to some great writing they’ve discovered.
If such a forum appeals to you, please drop me a note at gene.wilburn [at] gmail.com or leave a comment here so I can gauge if there’s sufficient interest.
Personal essayist of the world, unite? We have nothing to lose but our strained metaphors.