Today we are pleased to feature author Laurie Blauner as our Authors Talk series contributor. She discusses her experience working with creative nonfiction in her work “I Was One of My Memories” in which she writes to grieve the loss of her pet cat, Cyrus, but the book encompasses much more than that. Rich Ives joins her to talk about the ins and outs of writing creative nonfiction and distinguish its significance and strength as a literary form.
Having appeared in previous issues of SR, Laurie has worked in poetry and fiction writing, now she has chosen to tackle the creative nonfiction genre with some advice from Rich Ives. They first discuss the importance of analogy in nonfiction and Laurie, when she began writing this piece, asked herself “how much am I allowed to use my imagination”. Rich responds to this question by highlighting the “complexity of certain kinds of truth” determining that “truth is not singular” which distinguishes the creative nonfiction genre from a typical research-based essay. According to the pair, truth and context are some of the main concerns of creative nonfiction. Laurie notes that the genre allows people “to become each other’s witnesses” providing a thoughtful insight to the writing process and how to approach creative nonfiction.
Laurie Blauner is the author of three novels and seven books of poetry. Her most recent book of poetry, It Looks Worse than I Am, was published in 2014 as the first Open Reading Period selection from What Books Press. A new novel called The Solace of Monsters won the 2015 Leapfrog Fiction Contest and is forthcoming Fall 2016. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Caketrain, The Collagist and many other magazines. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by Laurie Blauner.
Laurie Blauner is the author of two novels, Infinite Kindness and Somebody, a novella called Instructions for Living,and six books of poetry. A new novel titled The Bohemians is forthcoming in 2013 from Black Heron Press. She has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship as well as Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Artist Trust grants and awards. She was a resident at Centrum and was in the Jack Straw Writers Program. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, and other magazines.
I’m much more comfortable in my imagination or immersed in metaphor compared to real life. So this, my first blog, is a different creature for me. According to Wikipedia there are over 134 million blogs as of October 2012. My ideal Blog Beast is some kind of huge scampering bird with developing wings, orange feathers, a protruding beak, an insect’s multi-dimensional eyes, too many ears, an alligator’s digestive system, a cat’s vomiting mechanism, with sharp teeth that can gnaw through anything. Avesanellus blog socialis (see picture at side). It mates and reproduces at an extraordinary rate.
My Blog Beast listens attentively to my every opinion and thought and responds with deep, insightful utterances when prompted. My Beast comprehends everything and, although it sticks by my side, it can be everywhere all at once.
I affectionately call it a Beast because not only does it require care and feeding, but it takes away time from other things I could be doing. So many other people have their own Blog Beasts these days and who can stop to pet or appreciate them all? And each one is different. Does my Beast have anything new or important to say? Will it communicate with others of its kind? Will it migrate? Lay eggs? Is it wild or domesticated? I will have to devise a way to test its intelligence and its agility. I’m told I need my Blog Beast to sell my forthcoming (and past) fiction and poetry books—but how can it do this with only its tiny webbed feet and strange strangled noises? Does my Blog Beast have ideas of its own? Should it be leashed or unleashed?