Why I Write Creative Nonfiction

I write mostly creative nonfiction. It’s what it sounds like—nonfiction told as a narrative, or as a series of narratives. The thing about creative nonfiction for me is that it’s not just a genre; it’s a philosophy, a principle for living. “Creative Nonfiction writers are in an ideal position to be one-person “truth and reconciliation” commissions, to uncover “the small stories that have gone missing,” as one writer put it.

I can’t help but think of the Bible as a piece of creative nonfiction—as a whole, that is. There are parts of it that are not. The Psalms is a book of poetry, and Matthew starts out with a genealogy. As a whole, the purpose of the Bible is to tell smaller stories to make up the bigger story in order to get at The Truth. It invites the reader into an experience of such heavy magnitude (an experience that is not excluding of anyone) and does it by “unearthing lives at the margin of the bigger event.” Each story told is about characters that played a small part in the grander play. And of course there's the ultimate Hero's Journey story told in the life of Christ.

Those ancient stories, interwoven between a front and back cover, still change lives today. And the lives that are changed--those are the stories I want to tell.

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