You have stories to tell! We all do. I’m not talking about our fictitious tales, as real as they may be. I’m talking about the stories we live through, our experiences and adventures. These can be some of the greatest of stories.
One of the best ways of sharing our real life tales of adventure is through creative nonfiction. Don’t let the oxymoronic name scare you away—the genre is simply one of telling true stories with a flair. I was quite fascinated by the possibilities when I began my creative writing class—suddenly, I can tell stories that I don’t have to wrack my brain thinking up myself! I have so much material already, and this genre is the way to make those inner stories come alive.
The first piece of creative nonfiction that really caught a hold of me was Stephen Church’s I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part. As I came to the end of the piece and was left staring blankly at the final words, lost in thought, a long-forgotten passage came to mind from C. S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy, in which Aravis begins to reveal her own story:
Aravis immediately began, sitting quite still and using a rather different tone and style from her usual one. For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you’re taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.
This is what we strive for and what Steven Church accomplished—a story that shines on its own, unobstructed by the medium, that people want to hear or see or read. This is good creative nonfiction. At heart, it’s just a plain good story.
I do recommend that you try telling your own stories. You don’t even have to share them, though that can be very rewarding. Just pick a memory, and make the world of your past come alive again.