Because we need creative non-fiction

Hello, Friends,

As my publication list suggests, I prefer fiction, but lately I’ve been dabbling in creative non-fiction as well. I never really thought I’d get into this genre, and always told myself the usual rationalizations–I’m not interesting enough, no one knows who I am so why should they read my memoir, I’m better at fiction, etc., etc..

Another reason is because the first time I tried writing about my life, I dredged up memories I really wasn’t ready to deal with. My mood swings worsened, I became irritable, withdrawn, depressed, and angry, and my work suffered tremendously. People were eager to comment on how I’d let them down, but had no apparent interest in why I was acting so strange. It took a while to pull myself together, mostly because I was doing it alone.

I’m stronger now, and able to talk about my past without issue, but the thought of going back to non-fiction still unnerved me. I’m taking a graduate class in the subject, though, so I faced my fear–myself–and have really been enjoying it.

Today, I was sitting at my computer intending to write 500 words and wound up writing 2000, all vignettes, talking about my friendships, my past, and my world in general, when I remembered the golden rule of writing: write because you love to. Not because you want people to love you, or because you want them to be impressed, but because you’ve got a story to tell, and you want to tell it.

Maybe that’s not everyone’s golden rule, but it’s mine (and you’re welcome to share your thoughts below).

I sat here, typing away, at first focusing on the negatives, on bullying, on lost friends, on people who wanted to hurt me, and found myself segueing into nostalgia. I remembered sunsets and long afternoons and people I haven’t spoken to in ages. It was one of the nicest, calmest afternoons/evenings I’ve had in a while.

So, to all you who might be considering writing creative non-fiction but aren’t sure if you should, let me decide for you. You should. Tell your story the way it needs to be told, even if that story just stays in a journal or on your hard drive for the next fifty years. It might hurt, or it might heal. Either way, it’s worth the effort. Psychology tells us now that keeping a journal or reflecting on your life in any way heals old wounds and helps make you a more well-rounded person–and you’ve got nothing to lose by trying something new.

Every day is a day to dig deep and discover who you really are. Every tomorrow is a chance to do yesterday a little better. Take advantage of what little time we have here, my friends. All you have to do is pick up a pen or open a word document, and both the future and past will be yours.

Best wishes,

Kevin

A look at #divorce from @ThoughtCatalog

Hello everyone,

It’s been too long since my last post, and I’m going to try to be more consistent from now on. I’m going to talk about a lot more than books from now on though. This started as a literary blog, but as a writer, my whole life boils down to writing somehow or another. It doesn’t make sense not to share the things that go into my stories.

I read an article, which I’ll share a little of below, on Thought Catalog earlier today. Divorce is a difficult topic, even if you haven’t been through one. My parents divorced when I was two or three, and each remarried and divorced again by the time I was twelve. I got used to leaving, as this article notes; emptiness and isolation were painful but necessary comforts. Repeatedly moving and having a crazy visitation schedule got me used to saying goodbye, and I don’t think I had a single stable friend until my last year of high school. Even now, I’m a loner.

Fortunately, I’ve always tended to be on the unsocial side, and prefer silence and contemplation to the noise of parties and hyper-social scenes. It’s no doubt part of why I was drawn to meditation and becoming a reiki practitioner (currently level 2 in the Usui tradition). That doesn’t mean it hasn’t hurt, but I’ve healed a lot and come a long way.

For any of you still struggling with this pain, I offer you this:

Yes, people may leave you, and you may be alone. That’s a fact of life, no matter what happened between your parents and when. That doesn’t mean you’ll be without love. Be with yourself and appreciate who you are; that’s the key to being loved. We attract the emotions we put out, and if you radiate acceptance and good will, people will treat you in kind. They’ll want to be around you and look to you for advice and support–but soon, you’ll realize you don’t need it as much as you once thought. You may not need it at all. The whole universe is conscious in its own way. Be love, and love will reflect back to you a hundred fold. That harmony will never leave you, and even in your darkest times, that internal light will guide your way.

Be well, my friends.

Kevin

When Your Parents Divorce When You’re Just A Kid

From “Just a Kid” by Jamie Varon

When your parents divorce when you’re just a kid, a few things happen to you: 1) you spend your life feeling unsettled; 2) you keep your distance from most people; 3) you have a difficult time with the emotional repercussions of being without a person. When you are young and shuffling yourself back and forth from one home to the other, you do not know what it’s like to be with all the people you love.