Friday 27 May 2016

Thinking about Creativity

In my work as a feminist sociologist I'm concerned to always try to write in an accessible way. I'm gratified that, from the feedback I've received, it seems that I (usually) manage to achieve this. I'm also pleased and grateful to be told that my academic writing is sometimes emotionally (as well as intellectually) meaningful for those who read it. My more recent fiction and memoir writing (links to some recent online publications below) provide, for me, additional tools to explore the complexity of life/lives in a way that I hope others find interesting. In reflecting on and researching how best to describe some of my most personal pieces I recently found this definition on Wikepedia:

For a text to be considered creative nonfiction, it must be factually accurate, and written with attention to literary style and technique. "Ultimately, the primary goal of the creative nonfiction writer is to communicate information, just like a reporter, but to shape it in a way that reads like fiction." Forms within this genre include biographyautobiographymemoirdiarytravel writingfood writing,literary journalismchroniclepersonal essays and other hybridized essays. 

This leaves me confused. Fiction often contains some fact and we can never be sure (not least because of its reliance on memory and the likelihood of the self desire to protect the positive status of our moral identity) just how 'true' a piece of factual personal writing is. Thus, surely any claim that 'creative nonfiction' is 'factually accurate' is problematic in several ways. To me, at least then, the term creative nonfiction feels not only inaccurate but an over complication. . .

Having said this I'm drawn to the word CREATIVE, associated as it is with energy - 'relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something' - and enjoy nothing more than being at the receiving end of the creativity (via reading, watching, looking, listening) of others. So then, whether I'm writing fiction, autobiography (or sociologically speaking auto/biography), memoir, reporting research findings or suggesting a theoretical or methodological development in my work if, in some way, my writing is creative then I'll be happy.

I've published a couple of fictional stories (one which relates in some ways to some experiences earlier in my life and the other to issues close to my research interests) and a short piece of memoir on recently. Here are the links if you are interested:

Addicted to . . . Love

Wish You Were Here

Holding Hands With Number One