“What do I know?”–Michel de Montaigne put his pen to paper to try and answer this question, and lo, the modern essay was born. Now, some 400 years later, his question remains vital to the essay form, but even more so when applied to the genre of creative nonfiction itself.
So, what do we know about CNF in the 21st Century? For starters, it is a problem child of a genre, born of our desire to understand and remember, our need to account and recount and instruct. It is the language of information. It is sometimes overlooked. It is named after what it is and what it is not.
If fiction is the act of creation, and nonfiction is the negation of that act—then what are we left with?
For this blog, let us adopt Montaigne as our spirit guide as we explore what creative nonfiction is and isn’t and what an essay can and can’t be. Let the idea of the genre be our protagonist, its contradiction our unfolding drama, and the collage of information that follows—our questions and responses, writings and rumination, links to all things CNF and essay —be our ongoing attempt to discover what we know about the space between information and art.
And everyone is welcome! This blog is open to all writers, readers, and enthusiasts of CNF and essay in the SUNY Geneseo community and beyond. We are all students, we can all learn. Please join the conversation.