“The art of nonfiction is an acting job, and, like an actor, the essayist performs a character role each time he or she starts a new piece. The author’s theater is the page, and his/her persona is a function of textual, rather than physical or audible, ‘gestures.’” Natalie Kusz
Rather than seeing a work of nonfiction as a dry catalog of facts or an attempt at a full transference of an author’s “real” essence to the page, we will examine texts with the assumption that the author is writing through the lens of a consciously-constructed character, thus emphasizing the creative element. We will examine the character the author has created, and we will continually ask ourselves who is speaking—at-the-desk character or the on-the-page character. Conversations will center around persona, point of view, and voice.
With everything we read for the class, we will be keeping in mind what sorts of techniques we can take from various authors to use in our own writing. We will use in-class writing exercises to explore the implications of various point of view/voice decisions, and we will submit works of creative nonfiction to be constructively criticized in workshop.