1.19.2011

Memoirs an' Other Fiction (plus Huck)






At least four.

There are four; scheduled, planned, their dates scratched in my purse calendar (yes, I still have one of them low tech, outmoded, real paper thangs with daily grids) an' tapped into the digital boss.

Add to them four, the ad hocs.

I belong to four formal book clubs. I is sometimes able to make a handful of ad hoc book discussion groups per year.

Books, like anythang else humans do on a regular basis, generates buzz. Book Buzz. Author Buzz. Reader Buzz.

In the buzz I keep hearin' about "Creative non -fiction"

Huh?

Callin' all editors: Ya' know how aggravatin' it is when authors is guilty of word inflation? When they use 4 words when one will do? "At the present time" is "now." One word. Doan need four words to mean "now." ( Unlessin' youse a Cracker, then all editin' is superfluous.)

I'se jes' as aggravated by folks makin' up whole new genres, like "creative non-fiction."

What is it supposed to mean? Right off, to me, it means, it ain't
factual. It's ebellished, dramatized. Heah's how the genre is described, "creative nonfiction, which presents or treats information using the tools of the fiction writer while maintaining allegiance to fact."

Non-fiction is already so broad, thar' ain't no use a'tall to add another category. I did some research, an it seems that the "Creative Non-Fiction" category wuz invented to make memoir sound jucier. It titillates ya: "This ain't yore grandma's memoir."

Some months back Book Club One read
The Glass Castle, a popular memoir by Jeannette Walls. It recounts her harrowiwn' childhood, safety-pinned together by perfect bookends of dysfunctional parents. Accounts of hunger an' fear are sparkled up some wif' hilarious skedaddle romps--to relieve the reader's horror. I cain't say, of course, if Ms. Walls indulged in a stretch or flourish heah an' theah. I doan think thar' coulda' been any need to do so, as the core story is beyond sufficient to keep the reader flippin' pages. It's a memoir, but wuz it creative? In the sense of "creative writing'."

One thang fer shure, it wuz revealin' an I ain't shure all Jeannette Walls' siblin's were quite ready to have their personal sufferin' laid bare to 5 million readers/ listeners.


Buzzin' in mah bookclubs is another grimy, desperately hungry child, now growed up an tellin' her tale in Ghostbread. The reviews are flights of praise few books ever enjoy. Reckon I might order a copy, but, what holds me back some, is it's designation as "creative non-fiction". Poverty is gut-wrenchin' enough, do the authors need to be "creative" about it? Or mebbe, that's publisher speak for "Ya gotta buy this book!"

Jes' mullin' it over out loud heah, I guess I doan much want my non-fiction messed wif'-- whar' does "creative" fuzzy the line of fact?



An' what about poor Huckleberry Finn gettin' a scrubbin' so's to lose his Huckleberry-ness? Sophie-Mae done mentioned this recently--The PC wreckin' ball takes a classic like Huck an' strips it of the word
nigger, the sends it back out to schools an' public libraries. Y'all know this is a much bigger issue that simple PC, right? It is revisionist history, an' mind control....well, ain't it?


What memoir does any of y'all recommend? Why?
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13 comments:

Aunty Belle said...

Granny is still in the hospital, so forgive me iffin' I ain't qquick to respond--I'se READIN' the blogs on the phone thangy, but it's jes too hard to type much.

Karl said...

Good morning Aunty Belle,

Sorry to read Granny is still in the hospital. Hope she gets out soon.

The rewriting of Huck Finn is so ridiculous to me I can't understand it. Don't these people have anything better to do? This rampant political correctness is absolutely stupid. The recent relieving of command of Captain Honors is another good example. The man put on a sophomoric video to entertain his crew (the majority of which have a sophomoric sense of humor) and because he makes a couple of gay slurs about himself, he loses his command. Any idea how much it costs to train someone to command an aircraft carrier? What an absolute waste. All because a few libtards get their knickers in a twist.

Sorry about that, didn't mean to run on so.

Have you tried the autobiography of Ben Franklin? It's an interesting read, although it only covers about half of his life.

Boxer said...

First, saying my prayers for you and yours right now.

Second, Karl is spot on and I have nothing more to add.

So... Creative Non Fiction??? I read The Glass Castle. I loved it, but I assumed it was NON FICTION and not embellished. Did James Frey ruin more than Oprah's reputation??? Then again, I know many of the biographies that were "written" by celebrities/movie stars in the 1950's were also "creative Non Fiction." I.E. Rock Hudson's biography? Yeah, not so accurate.

I'm reading a biography of Thomas Edison. I'm nutty about him. Always have been. I can't remember the name of it, but when I do I'll be back.

Take care right now Aunty, I hope you're being kind to yourself because I know how hard it is on the caretaker. xoxo

Floridacracker said...

Just don't buy the crap version of Huck.
It is absurd to apply current standards to old texts. They are snapshots of the time. This you already know.

However, the crap PC version is just one of many versions of Twain's work, so just buy the other ones.

I haven't met one language art teacher yet who is going to use the INsanitized version.

Let the free market work.

moi said...

What Floridacracker said re Huckleberry Finn. It's madness.

Best memoir I've read in a long time is hands down, Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight. Read it, read it, read it!

Milk River Madman said...

I'm reading a nice light and funny memoir by Bill Bryson "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid." A great look back at the 50's in Des Moines, Iowa. Just fun. So far anyway.

SophieMae said...

We's prayin' fer Granny Cracker AND yourownseff!!!

Creative non-fiction?! Would the definition, then, be 'fiction'?

This PC epidemic is beyond out of hand. One wonders how long the asylum can stand being run by the inmates. In the interest of brevity: what they said.

Recently read about Klinton's urging Chicagoans to support Emanuel. That is SO wrong on SO many levels... What place has he to campaign for Chicago's mayor?! (Yet another belittlement of The Office). Whole lotta pock-marked back-scratchin' goin' on. Let's just turn the whole country into one big ol' Chicago.

One would surely despair did one not know how it all ends. 8-}

Take care of yourownself, Aint B!
Have a JESUS-filled day! ^i^

foam said...

ahhh, dear sweet granny, dear sweet you. i know it's hard. i'm keeping you and granny in my thoughts.

the only book i'm reading right now is actually nonfiction. not a memoir though. it's called:
inside of a dog: what dogs see, smell, know by alexandra horowitz.
i'm reading it, off and on, because my husband gave it to me for christmas.

ya know, i've read huckleberry finn as well as tom sawyer many times. i've only ever read my mother's copies which she purchased sometime in the early 50s. of course, she was living in germany at the time and these books are translations. a prefix in one of the books mentions the difficulty in translating the dialect that was used. it was decided to stick to standard german in the translations instead of adopting a german dialect. it was done this way to remain as true to the mood of these books as possible.

now, why are we changing them when we don't have to? doesn't make sense.

Buzz Kill said...

Creative non-fiction is a term I've never heard before but I think it can be applied to just about every newspaper I read these days.

And what next, a bra on the Venus Demilo? Renaming the NAACP?

What's Granny think about all of this insanity?

fishy said...

Hey Belle, sure am sorry to hear Granny's illness is lingering. I'll offer up some more prayers for you both. I do know how terrible hard it is to witness suffering like this.

I have nothing to offer on the literary front. I haven't read anything I would recommend in a very long time.

I actually am re-reading Peter Mayle. Might his tales of life in Provence be termed "creative non-fiction"? It seems his memoirs of these journeys utilizes some of the basic principles of fiction writing. It might be more accurate to label his writings as "entertaining non fiction".

I agree with all who say the PC thing about the use of the word
"nigger" is absurd. They are not editing books using the terms "guinny" or "dago" or "chink". Nor are they banning the use of the word "red" in case it might offend a native American.

You ask me this is about the 2012 elections. Base votes were lost in November. This is part of the strategy to woo back some voters.

Pam said...

I've read that Bill Bryson book recommended by MRM and also enjoyed it .. if you grew up in the 50s/60s, it is a hoot. I also love his book, Notes from a Small Island (surprisingly (not) about him going around England as a tourist). I haven't read much lately and can't remember any memoirs. I suppose all such books are tainted with what the author wants to tell versus what he is not telling.

Meanwhile: Huck. How about using the book and the word as a LEARNING TOOL on why this is no longer acceptable? And besides, the word is still in the vocabulary, although the only ones who can use it without getting in trouble with the media are the rap stars. One of my earliest memories of my dad has to do with that word, so it is particularly hated by me. I must have been in kindergarten ... mom/granny picked me up to go have lunch with dad at his office. While waiting on him to get free, I (age 4-5?) did that old eenie, meenie, minie, moe thing to choose whose lap I would sit on .. mom or granny. Dad came in and heard me using THAT word. I didn't even know what it meant. Got jerked up by the arm and told to NEVER use it again, that there were many fine Black people who work in his area and he never never NEVER wanted me to use that word again. So I haven't.

Pam said...

P.S. Thinking of you and Chickie as you take care of your ill 'uns. Peace be with you.

Frank said...

I like your thinking Aunte Belle! Exactly my thoughts as well !