A Creative Nonfiction Writing Exercise

I'm taking a Creative Nonfiction writing class right now. It's kind of amazing. I was skeptical, at first, since I instantly think of biographies and text books when I think of non-fiction. And I had never truly considered that “creative” and “nonfiction” could be used together. Doesn't that border on a lie? Not if the author is genuine, aware of what they are writing. It's the agreement you make with yourself when you write nonfiction. You must always tell the truth. Now, that doesn't mean you can't use your writer voice or insert retrospective or memories. That is the beauty of nonfiction. As long as it is true, the chronology doesn't matter. Our first writing exercise was on the first day of class. We were asked to choose and object on our person and write about it. Then, we were asked to share with the class. My class is small, less than 10 students. So I decided to read my text aloud and now I'll share it here:

“Describe an object that defines you—then move into a more personal description.”


A bright pink wallet with worn corners. The fading cover is adorned by the “Gloomy Bear” mascot—an innocent looking bear in rainbow colors with blood running down its mouth. The back of the wallet is so faded it is hardly recognizable save for faded eyes and blood staring back at you.

I bought the wallet used from Goodwill. It was worn before it came into my possession; I have only worsened the wear over the last few years. It perfectly sums up my life—worn, bright and morbid. Rainbows and darkness lurk inside me.

I love shopping at thrift stores because I've been poor for a long time; I love Gloomy Bear because it looks Japanese in origin (it may even be). I love bright, unrelenting colors because it reminds me of being human and in control of things like color and volume. It is unapologetically vivid: like my hair most of the time and my curse words (or general vocabulary and backpack).

The wallet will need to be replaced someday but I'm not ready yet. Someday I'll find another wallet, probably at another Thrift Store. Chance are my hair will be a different color.

I have plenty of other things to blog about--but I've been too busy failing Geography and falling behind on homework to even think about writing. That's got to be the saddest thing I've admitted lately. However, after this week and I feel as though I may have caught up on school work, I plan on doing some serious soul searching (hah!) and get my writing priorities sorted out. I have to find a work-writing balance, and I'm taking tiny steps toward that goal.

I quit my day job after four and a half years.

I'm starting my own side business: selling my 1.5" buttons, key chains, magnets and 3.5" coasters--no doubt I'll make a big fat blog about that soon. It won't substitute my income but it will help keep me afloat. I have an incredible ability to spend money--and not much to actually make it. I am hoping to reach out to friends and family, local organizations and clubs and establish myself locally as well as bolster my online clients.

In order of priority, however it has to go : school, writing, work. Right now it is: school, work, not-writing. Not a stitch, except for what I write in class and small details I've gleaned from the pages of my Anthropology book for story ideas. As I said: I am making changes. I was asked recently if I planned on doing National Novel Writing Month this November. My first, almost immediate response was "No!" but then I reconsidered. My day job is out of the picture. There will always be school work. And then my sister reminded me that I need to write. And since I have felt this kind of suffocating darkness begin to grasp at my shoulders and whisper into my ear--I tend to agree with her. I feel sick, helpless, useless if I don't write. So... yes, damn it, bring on November. Wait, not yet. I'm not ready--