Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'll be speaking at Rosemont College this coming Thursday evening on a topic I've often thought about but never spoken on—the art of researching creative nonfiction. I'll be talking about three books—Flow, Still Love in Strange Places, and Ghosts in the Garden. I'll be inspired, in part, by this photograph, found for me by my friend Adam Levine in the city archives. This from the talk, just written:
Whether I’m writing memoir or novels, fables or poems, young adult novels, adult novels, or fantasies, I am, at one point, reaching far beyond myself, to bring the greater world in. I am following the always persistent, hardly consistent, rarely well-tiled path of my insatiable curiosity. True, research is often either a surfeit of overwhelm, or a tease. Still, and nevertheless, I don’t believe in bringing presumption to the page—in writing simply and only what I already know. I don’t believe in closing doors before I’ve opened windows. I want to be alive when I am writing—engaged, in suspense, full of the unprotected what ifs? I want to convey my own surprise, dismay, or basic indignity right there, on the page. Formulae don’t cut it for me; formulae have been done. Research scrambles the math.