Putting the “C” in CNF

Often we as a society try to place our finger on the overwhelming ambiguity that is creativity. It is difficult to pinpoint. I have struggled with the question myself, trying to describe such an indescribable phenomena.

That is until recently when I watched (or read, I don’t quite remember) a piece on the general sense of creativity—where it comes from, how it happens and who posses it. Somewhere within the piece they referenced that creativity is like the wind. I thought to myself how perfect that is. And, rather than try to struggle for my own example, I decided the saner route of recognizing the near perfection of this example (creative of me, I know).

Creativity really is just like the wind. It isn’t something that we can see. Sure, you look outside of your window and say, “Oh, it’s windy today,” but not because you see gusts and more because you see its effect on something else. You do not see the wind blow, though you do see the tree sway in the sky and the leaf float above the also shivering grass. In the same sense you do not see creativity, but see a piece of art taking shape or a body of writing showcasing plot and character. Creativity is invisible, though its effect on other things is quite visible.

I think this kind of invisible stronghold that creativity can have on art is important, and important for creative nonfiction. At the base of it all, nonfiction is just a retelling of something that has already happened. It’s the creative part that welcomes art in.

The concept goes well with the first draft of a CNF piece. Many writers that I know just like to sit down and pour themselves onto the keyboard. And those first drafts still come out wildly, and sometimes surprisingly creative. There weren’t deliberate attempts to be creative, or super self conscious thoughts to be creative, but the product, though far from being done, has glimpses of creativity within it. It is the tree blowing in the wind.

One thought on “Putting the “C” in CNF

  1. Paige Buzzetti

    Greg, I agree with you about the idea that creativity is a large concept that can’t really be defined. The metaphor of the tree in the wind works well for creative nonfiction. Like a tree blowing in the wind or being surrounded by creativity the tree has multiple branches and those could represent the various forms of nonfiction that can be developed. Trees do not grow in uniform shapes and that freedom of growth coming off the foundation of experience is visually as artistic as the words that are written in this genre.

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