Sunday, August 10, 2008

An Insight: Two Kinds of Springs

(NOTE: I've been advised that my posts are getting too long again--they tend to do that--so please, if it happens again, leave a nice polite reminder comment. For that matter, if you have topics you'd like me to address, also leave comments for that. Thanks so much.)

One of the insights that came shortly after I'd grounded my creative writing censor is that there are two basic ways my writing projects emerge: (1) as Wordsworth's "overflow of emotion," or (2) as the overflow of thoughts and reflections. These kinds, which of course blur into each other at times, cut across generic boundaries such as non-fiction and fiction, academia and "creative" writing.

All the same, some genres do often align with one type more than another. Poetry, for instance, while it can contain thoughts and reflections, is often for me of the outflow of emotion type. And academic essays, while they often flow out of topics I'm passionate, and therefore emotional, about, usually start from my thoughts and reflections.

What really interested me about this insight is the two other genres that seem to come from either one or the other: creative non-fiction and fiction. Creative non-fiction can flow out of an emotional experience I need to express, then quickly merging with thoughts and emotions, or it can start with thoughts and reflections and then merge with my experiences and emotions. This is helpful for me to realize because the best creative non-fiction incorporates both seamlessly--expressing thoughts and ideas, but in a way that also expresses emotions and experiences.

The second genre, fiction, is the humdinger of the insight for me, though. But that's an insight for tomorrow.

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