Thursday, September 9, 2010

True Stories

Lynne Van Luven came to speak to the Victoria Writers' Society last night about Creative Non-fiction and how it's thriving on the Island. She mentioned how many people are branching into it; Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier, both noted local poets, have written creative non-fiction now, and more and more fiction writers are adding creative non-fiction to their repertoire as well.

True stories have become more compelling to us as a culture. It's taken a long time for In Cold Blood to seep into our collective consciousness, and many more solid works have come along, with that strange panache of the fantastical actually happening. It's leaked into movies, as well - 21 followed the dated adventures of the MIT blackjack team, Middlemen followed turn-of-the millenium pornographers, The Social Network follows Mark Zuckerberg's still-expanding supernova.

In that way, creative non-fiction is becoming more immediate; there's less of a time lapse between doing something and writing about it. The plethora of information and stories of every kind available now means we have to write it down, quickly, to remember any of it, need to tell the story to ourselves to make it true.

As terrifying as the comparison is, the rise of creative non-fiction is parallel to scripted reality television. Subjectivevtrue stories allow for a more developed voice than we sometimes have access to in our immediate lives. We can relive, and mock, our own esprit de staircase.

Creative non-fiction is an interesting world, spanning everything from travel writing to memoir, and it was a fascinating talk by Lynne Van Luven.

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