Genesis Revisited


One ultimate goal determines my daily course, down to how I self-direct from moment to moment: how I think, what I care about, and how I burn time, that most precious of all limited commodities, the great leveler of all life's playing fields. Down to what I eat and drink, how I sleep, and who I seek out, my over-arching goal is to make a difference.

To make a difference, a writer becomes skilled and disciplined enough to accomplish three things: relevance, bold honesty, and becoming widely read.

A writer can tell the honest truth better in fiction than in nonfiction, simply because in fiction, the writer becomes the god of creation. A whole universe is theirs to imagine and describe, encompassing all that exists and happens between the covers of their books. Fiction storytelling techniques and tropes can forge a transformative reading experience tempered to the hardness of consensual reality, as undeniable as Damascus steel plunged through the heart.

Today, the most-read extant literature is creative nonfiction. In the forge of fiction-craft, a writer can heat the relevant facts of cold reality to white-hued, to near-combustion and with the hammer of imagination, they can shape their story on an anvil of eloquence, yet sustaining the perfect arc of actuality.

Creative nonfiction's formula can be learned and bent to purpose. It's not an esoteric plan or a dark, secret ritual. Jon Franklin extracted the process from his experiences in learning, writing and publication. He explicates it lucidly in "Writing for Story," one of the best books available on writing craft. His pure process derives from the pioneering that eventually won him two Pulitzers. Before he could write it out, he had to live it to learn it. Others, too, have replicated his kind of story-crafting.

Every day is a good day to pound out the true story that's worth telling. Today, may my heart be pure and my mind keen to see the lines of true story, well told, buried in the alloys and shapes before me. May my readers die a little to who they have been, by being reborn to altered perspective, to drive right action and new consequence for us all, for our world, and for all its creatures.

As I discover true story and tell it, may I also become its artifact: transformed, insightful, willing to become a better person.

-- Joseph Riden