Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail: Exploring cultural and social content in personal stories
During the month of January we will be running creative nonfiction writing tips from members of the Creative Nonfiction Collective to give you inspiration for our current creative nonfiction competition.
When we read personal stories, it’s because we want to inhabit that writer’s life for awhile in all its complexity - all its messy humanity. This includes wrestling with the big ideas and “isms” like racism, sexism, and colonialism that unfortunately often come with being human. With memoirs, biographies, and other forms of creative nonfiction, we get the opportunity to artfully explore these things through dialogue and details. We can give life to theories and philosophical questions by attaching a name, face and story. We can express the universal through the personal.
Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail is the author of For the Love of Flying (Robin Brass, 2009) and the forthcoming book, Polar Winds: A Century of Flying Canada’s North (Frontenac House). She has also published short pieces of narrative history and creative nonfiction, was Chatelaine’s Maverick of the Year in 2011, and is a past writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon.