Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ohio Is Getting A Bit Squirrelly


I’m still in Ohio at the conference.  Today I saw a black squirrel and it stopped me in my tracks.  No camera available because the computer was heavy enough.  I hope to get a picture of one tomorrow.

We’ve spent the weekend trying to come up with new terms for what we do.  Creative nonfiction?  Nah, why do we have to make an argument for its creativity.  Personal essay?  What about raising it’s image (oh, memoirs were sooo last year) to memoireture?  What do you call the essay that’s even too long to be a Kindle Single?  Something the equivalent of fiction’s “novella”?  Can we come up with something unique for the short nonfiction pieces that match flash fiction?  How about “memoirette”?  And while we’re at it, what is the appropriate number of words that makes “flash” flash?

Yes, we’re playing the part of word geeks to absolute perfection.  Some might think that we’re some kind of academic elite who need to come down from the clouds and join the real world.  But what could be more real than focusing on the words that we all use every day.  What could be more real than devoting time to telling the stories of extraordinary, ordinary lives?  If woodworkers got together and exchanged techniques for cutting curves for tables that worked better than anything that came before or if they spent long afternoons talking about woodworkers they had known and admired they would not be accused of not living in the real world.

So we gather and talk for twelve hours a day about how to tell stories.  Because there are so many stories that need to be heard.  And it’s so hard to do it well, to be both truthful and engaging.  So forgive us if things get a bit squirrelly.

What could you talk about forever with friends or colleagues?  What brings out your inner geek?  Share your story in the comments box.


Laura@Catharsis said...

Black squirrels are something else, aren't they? We were overrun with them at Michigan State University. Don't have any where I live (only about 45 min - 1 hour away), but they're not uncommon in the region. I think you're living right smack in the real world. Keep it up!

Muriel said...

OMG! The squirrels are not the same on the other side of the pond. I had forgotten. Thanks for reminding me...

Tele said...

Oh! I love the black squirrels! (And the gray ones, and the cute little dougies...) When I visit my dad in NC, there's a very small population of "fox squirrels" - black with white noses and pointy ears - that send me into a tizzy. I got thoroughly distracted by the squirrel shot; hope you had a great time with the conference.

Julie Farrar said...

How could I live half a century and not know the world is full of black squirrels?

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