Real life Made Personal



Creative Nonfiction, Summer 2012 Issue


This isn’t a writer’s magazine, but then it is. First and foremost it’s a doorway to publication for writers in the genre of personalized, real-life subjects. Creative Nonfiction publishes experienced writers, writers with the ubiquitous MFAs and people who just happen to have a story to tell from their lives.

This particular issue (Lee Gutkind, the editor, usually assigns a theme to each issue and advertises it several months ahead) deals with the subject of true crime, even with the ethics of writing about crime. Why ethics, you ask? The issue’s roundtable discussion on the subject deals with that circuitously, but a lot of the concern has to do with romanticizing criminal acts. 

But this issue’s stories?

They’re all riveting, and most use Gutkind’s favored technique of weaving supporting facts into a personal account of crime. Among my favorites are:

AC Fraser tells of prison’s manner of having one submit to regimentation and rather demeaning life there, something she calls Identity Folding. 

Steven Church writes about one of the Tyson-Holyfield fights, in which Mike Tyson bit off a piece of one of Evander Holyfield’s ears.

Joyce Marcel’s account of robbing ancient graves in Peru of historical artifacts blends that derring-do with her sexual exploits.

The common thread through these stories is the ultra-personal, almost psychological approach to the persons involved in the various violations and violences. This isn’t reportage – it’s much more than that.

Again, editing such magazines in a Herculean task, and sometimes the approach taken doesn’t work. Gutkind’s approach for Creative Nonfiction does work in this issue, and it works well.




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