What I’m Writing

So now that I’ve got this little writer’s blog, perhaps I should talk about my writing…

By training–I hold an MFA–I am a creative non-fiction writer. I am not, to be clear, a memoirist. I’m not that exciting nor have I ever suffered a great personal or familial trauma. Rather, my non-fiction work focuses on essays in the vein of George Orwell and Charles Dickens’ non-fiction with a dash of Paul Theroux thrown in for a good measure. (Yes, both Orwell and Dickens wrote non-fiction. In fact, Dickens got his start as a journalist NOT a novelist. Both authors are brilliant, poignant, and critical in their observations). If I really had to label myself, I’d say I’m a travel writer. Some day, I’d love to write something along the lines and magnitude of  Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee or take creative license with a true story as John Hersey did in Hiroshima. So far, I’ve published only one creative non-fiction piece–you can read it here if you want–and hope to publish more in the future. I enjoy this flavor of writing.

In fact, I enjoy many flavors of writing. I don’t see why, as a writer, I must write myself into corner, become *only* this type or that type of writer.

Case in point? My current WIP, The Clocwork Cricket,  is a Steampunk novella (possibly novel) about a young Chinese immigrant living in Gold Rush Era California. There are spies selling secrets to remnants of Santa Ana’s army, damsels who refuse to be in distress, race riots,  and steam powered cars (which DID exist at the time believe it or not… mine just happen to resemble Astin Martins rather than clunky trolley cars). I’m using my training as a non-fiction writer–specifically my research skills–to delve deeper into the history of the 1850s. I’ve accessed laws regarding mining and the Chinese (a lot of racist legalese). I delved into the history of steam powered vehicles, INCLUDING first hand observation of one such conveyance at a historical car museum. I even got to examine close up–as in touch!–period clothing. My non-fiction training has helped me create a world (and it’s inhabitants) that feel (to me at least) real just by tweaking the very real details.

Cause really, who doesn’t want to drive a steam powered Astin Martin?

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