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Mistress of the Obvious

January 25, 2010

Here is how I feel about writing nonfiction:

Everybody knows that already. Why am I telling them that the sky is blue, that hot dogs taste good, or that Japanese people have a crazy Spring fertility festival where they parade around the town carrying an effigy of a giant pink penis? (It’s called Kanamara Matsuri and they sell penis lollipops, as well.) If people don’t already know these things, then presumably they have a computer and know how to use Google. (And if this ubiquitous “they” can’t use Google, then I am sorry for Them. Very sorry indeed.)

I do not feel this way when writing fiction. My fiction is my brainchild, and no one else has written anything exactly like it. It contains information and cute little turns of phrase that cannot be found elsewhere.

This is a mindset I need to shake if I am going to get my sample articles done for my application to Suite 101. I need to remember that no one else writes quite the way I do, even if I am writing about the sky being blue (yeah, that’s right, I think I’m unique. Just like everyone else. Incidentally, right now the sky is grey…). There really is no difference between writing a factual article that draws upon my knowledge and skill and writing a fictional piece. It’s still creative because I get to put my own spin on it. Even my choice of topics can be a very personal thing.

It’s not what I write about, it’s how I write about it. Sure, people know hot dogs taste good, but do they know why? (It’s the offal, I’m pretty sure.)

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