Writing creative nonfiction is wanting to know regardless of where it leads me, testing it, reflecting on, mulling it over, allowing myself to see it in in a variety of perspectives. Knowledge in writing is a considerable tool in striving for a relationship between the audience and the subject. I read, study, learn, listen, view, touch, storing up knowledge for every existent is an opportunity of discovery for the audience and for myself to be mindful of the world in minute and minutiae, among mundane and magnific topics, to laugh and cry, for same and different reasons, regarding who we are together.
My portfolio is a picture of the lengths I go to to store up and use the knowledge in every existent to suit a variety of subjects and audiences.
I begin with "The Violin." In 2000, I wrote the original to this piece for a speech class while earning AA. It received high praise from my professors, prompting me to enter it in a magazine contest in which it received an Honorable Mention. Even then, I didn't realize, though I wrote solid papers in honors classes, that I was a Writer. Though, I can trace my writer history beginning with 3rd grade, I never treated it seriously.
In 2012, I began earning my bachelor's to become a counselor. I only took Professional and Technical Writing as a minor because it was the practical choice. By my second semester, I discovered I loved writing of any kind and finally found my true calling in professional and technical writing with all that entails.
One of those things it entails is my creative nonfiction work, "The Violin." I brought it out again to see if Quills & Pixels of UALR's The Writers Network was interested in it. With some help in revision, you see here the final product that brought new life to an old calling.
Through writing personal history, I eventually realized that my purpose of sharing my story so others feel free to share theirs needed to be more than a retelling of my childhood horrors and resulting problems that just awed and shocked. My story’s purpose is about what it means to push back against the childhood horrors and resulting problems from within the strength we all bring out of our varying experiences.
It seems to have struck chords as "On PTSD," a personal essay, went on to win U of AR at Little Rock's Rhetoric and Writing Department's Creative Nonfiction award and Honorable Mention in the 47th New Millennium writing awards and it is published in Quills & Pixels 2019-2020.
This year I branched out from the university's publication to write and provide photos for "Winter Wondrous Woodland," a photo essay Woods Reader published. It is a story of one magical day of rare pure snowfall in Arkansas,
As if unburdened by the grey depression of barren branches of a colorless winter in Arkansas, the snow among the trees is a peaceful, quiet sigh of contentment.
Encouraged by this success, I pitched to Woods Reader an idea for a mushroom-centered essay complete with my own variety of mushroom photos, and it shows respect for me and my work that they published the second photo essay, “Mushrooms in Our Midst: Wildflowers of the Woods,”
The best way to see and photograph a mushroom is to set aside convention or what people walking near may think and lied down on your stomach to see the mushrooms at eye level ...
Violets Are Blue
Photo essays such "Violets Are Blue" both come from the heart and go toward engaging the audience in a new experience of the world. It captures the imagination in personal story and the senses in photos. It involves the rural and urban, wild and tamed, personal and botanical. It touches on past family heartache while breathing out timeless hope. In short, a seemingly simple fluff piece is a heartily extended hand.
I moved last fall, and you, and certainly I, may have thought that was the end of this little saga as I said goodbye to my sweet, sweet violet in my beloved garden bed of eight years. However, a baby smuggled itself away in a potted plant to later reveal to me its little heart-shaped leaves and a blessing for my new home ...
The purpose of ceremonial essays such as "Oasis" posted on my Mint Tea website is praise or blame, for vice or virtue, and its' use is exemplified most often in introductions of awardees or guest speakers. Its focus is on what I call the filigree of rhetoric—decorative, with flourish.
With "Oasis" within Mint Tea, I chose to challenge introductions for a topic only some of my audience shares an affinity for--gardens. Using the rhetoric of colorful photographs, aural wind chimes, and dynamic website I display sensual text,
Sunshine is its tang, the red juice bursting in your mouth and running down your throat. The warmth and reflection of the sun is in its skin as you pluck it off a stalk you grew and now gather from. Your tools dug at the earth, disrupting soil, entrenched grass, and aerating insects ... You run your fingers through the cool soil and newborn white roots of the new thing of the earth. Tending—watering, feeding, protecting from raging weather or intrusive insects, you wait as the stalk grows like Jack’s.
Factually or Faithfully
Creative nonfiction is a way of both confessing to others and helping others to turn over the words for significance to them. Confession, they know what I know. Whether or not my audience agrees with me, showing my vulnerability, my reflection, my thoughts, the audience knows I mean it. It is not only words on a page. The “complete” picture of the subject and our relationship to it is given to the audience, lending credibility to my narrative and to me as author.
"Factually or Faithfully" is just such a confession of my faith. It condemns no one but myself, and that as part of my journey, not to perfection, but to foundation.
Not only was "Factually or Faithfully" published in Quills & Pixels 2019, but it was awarded the 1st Place Nonfiction and the Memorial awards at the 62nd Grand Prairie Festival of the Arts.
My Language, My Heritage
"My Language, My Heritage" is an opinion editorial piece written about people born outside of the United States who immigrated here and share their stories of preserving their heritage. My source included people's own ways and voices of sharing in short story, poem, and essay.
As a native-born American, I tried to understand why it is important to hold onto things like language and practice from an immigrant's country of origin. I cannot be in their shoes, but I found a connection to relate to their need to keep their culture alive in my own heritage.
It is published in Quills & Pixels 2019-2020.