Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Creative Nonfiction

Laurie Voss Barthlow
Manager, Mom, Humorist, Author of several
books of family genealogy.

Creative Nonfiction

We're lucky today to have guest blogger, Laurie Voss Barthlow, give us her viewpoint on-- shall we say-- a particular genre of writing. Before turning it over to her I would like to point out that I was witness to how one young girl put some of her descriptions and methods into practice against her younger brother. For years!

Here's Laurie.

The Blog Gets A Plug

So, my dad has created a website called Writing Fiction, where he posts a weekly blog on his efforts to hone his writing craft and his advice to others on navigating the choppy waters of being published.  He also uses the forum to tell tall tales about his big brother, Roy Voss.  Now, Dad didn’t invent Tall Tales, but he does come from a family of folks who hold with the idea that facts should never stand in the way of a good story. (A practice usually instigated by older siblings -ed.)

A Sprinkling of Fact and Fiction

In any case, Dad recently invited me to be a guest writer for his weekly column. I admit that I've always wanted to be a writer, and I am a big fan of both my uncle's and my father's work, even if Dad mostly lies about Uncle Roy.

Still, who doesn't like a good story?  In contemplating my contribution to the topic of creative writing, one of my favorite cousins came to my mind speaking three of her all-time favorite words, “Got any gossip?”

And Entertainment

Everybody likes some great dish, and it doesn’t much matter if it’s about the president of the United States or your next-door neighbor.

Oh, I suppose there is a voyeuristic aspect to pure gossip that is rather unbecoming.  We always like to hear that someone else is screwing up worse than we are, but I'm proud to say that my cousin and I never outright made up lies (Dad).

My point is that gossip tells a story, and let’s be honest, it can be entertaining. When you’re trying to tell a story and there are details you don’t know, what is an inquiring mind to do but fill in the blanks?  Admittedly, this is how tall tales get taller, and where gossip is concerned, there can certainly be a maliciousness that I am not at all advocating.

The Root of The Story

The basis for my uncle's adventure series is his time and experience in traveling the world as a pipeline engineer for Bechtel.  The basis for some of my dad's tales is his time and experience growing up in Kingman, Arizona.

I aspire to write historical fiction using some of the stories from my own family tree that fascinate me the most about people to which I am directly related.  I am always inspired by the adventures of my forbearers who struggled and overcame tough situations and conditions.  Trouble is, I don’t know everything, so I only have two options – ask someone who does know or make it up.

It Can Get Sticky

My mom and dad have in the past frowned upon my initiative to inquire about certain family stories as bad manners, particularly at family reunions, and research can only take me so far. I am therefore left with the only alternative which is to spin my own tales around those events in my family’s history by which I am most intrigued.

So, allow me to conclude my guest blog with this thought:  Perhaps when such a writer gets stuck – either for a lack of historic details or due to creative constipation – it might be useful to remember these words . . . Got any gossip?
Got Any Gossip?

Personally, I liked the post. Is Laurie on track? Should we invite her back?
Leave a comment.

Writing Fiction is posted on Wednesdays.

Thank a veteran.

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