Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Types of Creative Nonfiction

This week a writing group to which I belong is discussing the essay "Duplex" by Danny Goodman from the current issue of Brevity.

Goodman's essay, in my estimation, is a good example of a type of creative nonfiction. There are two types I like: the explorations (people, places, things, circumstances) and the some-thing-out-of-nothings (incidents made into story). This is the latter, at least to me. It could have easily been a short story.

It also reminded me of how ... unimaginative I am. Things like this happen in my life, as they do in others, and like the author, I ruminate. But apparently rumination doesn't get published.

Long ago but not so far away, in the days of the blazing fast 28k modem, I purchased a dedicated computer telephone line. I kept a handset on the line in case I wanted to call someone when my wife or the boys were on the other phone.

I soon discovered the line was one digit off the number of the local Pizza Hut. The handset would ring about one or two times a week. I usually didn't answer it, but one day I answered with the words ...

"Code number please."

" ... is this the Pizza ... ?"

"No names. No names. This is a secure line. Code number only."

"But I want a ... "

"Code number please. I must have your code number to proceed."

"But ... who is this ... ?"

"Line will disconnect in ten seconds unless I receive code number."

"What are you ... ?"

And then I hung up.

I've been trying to make that into a little comic piece for I don't know how long, and I can't do it. That's probably because it's only funny to me. And I suppose I can't make a "something-out-of-nothing" Brevity piece out of it because I wasn't the recipient.
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