By Rebecca T. Dickinson
Where were you born? Why is it important? Did it have a cute front porch, or roaches crawling over beds?
I have a confession.
I never thought I’d write or edit nonfiction. What was/ is special about my life? When I worked as a journalist, I enjoyed writing features about people. Their lives fascinated me. It was easy to write about them, and it’s easy to write about my primary client’s life.
What is the art of the narrative whether it’s literary, analytical, or a memoir?
Two projects encouraged me throughout 2011 when I submitted the narrative Grass from the Grave/ We Never Said Hello. PaniK sought to tell the struggles of pre-parenthood whether it was abortion, miscarriage, stillborn, or the decision to keep a baby. It digs into the most intimate parts of a mother or father’s being, and there are well-written stories that put mine to shame.
Impact by Telling Our Stories Press shows great talent also. I am humbled by the other authors in the anthology and honored by publisher CoCo Harris’ faith in my abilities as a writer. A single short memoir made the difference in my life as a writer. It helped mold me as an author.
I am now taking a second look at life. A writer friend, who is also working on an excellent nonfiction project, is a fellow photographer mom who knows the rises and falls of parenthood. She reminded me when I pushed my client harder for a deadline to complete a current project, “It is hard for writers to sit and write intimate parts of our lives. Imagine what it’s like for others.”
What lingers of the community news journalist sets deadlines. I don’t always meet them, but I need deadlines the way writers need quiet time to just write. In a summer filled with more editing than writing, I forget the art of just writing. And, I figure why not experiment a little more in the narrative field?
In addition to two books and occasionally brushing up short stories, I am writing what I call Cooking Sketches. They are short memoirs tying a significant story in my life in with food. You might see some of this in what will be an ongoing column post: The Write to Cook.
I admire Anthony Bourdain. I am in love with his writing. The man knows food, but he also understands how to write. What if I could combine the cooking and food I know with stories absolutely unforgettable? I know how to make real Vidalia fried onion rings, and a love story and airplanes go with it.
If you chose something significant in your life to write about it, what would it be?