My Directions Don’t Come with Instructions

I think that I saw you cry once, but it could have been a dream. I think that I saw you love once, but it could have been a dream. I think that I saw you live once, but it could have been a dream. I think that I thought of you once, but it was only in a dream

I had a professor in college who would ask me “What kind of poet are you?”

I would answer “I’m a performance poet.” He would question what made my poetry performance art. I would say I was a spoken word poet. He would ask me what that would mean. I told him I was an anarchist; he would ask me what institution I was fighting against.

The man was infuriating.

After graduation I walked away from writing. I got a blue-collar job that didn’t push my intelligence, and I slipped happily into non-academic oblivion; yet I kept hearing his damn voice. “What about this is oblivion?”

Seriously, I haven’t seen him in a year and he still drives me crazy…mostly because he was right. I was being lazy; I was giving answers I thought I understood. He knew better and questioned me in a way no one had dared to question me (except for one or two, but they were less infuriating).

I am a creative non-fiction writer/poet. That title, albeit vague, encompasses a multi-genre writing portfolio, with emphasis on poetry that mixes verse with prose. It all focuses around the somewhat controversial field of creative non-fiction (because I would naturally be drawn to a writing style that blurs lines of truth and fiction so infuriatingly at times that you just want to smack something).

Creative non-fiction is exactly what it sounds like, creatively putting together a non-fiction story, or events, in a manner that blurs the lines between truth and imagination to the point where the reader has to make the decision whether what they are being presented is truth, or creative license. Truman Capote cornered this market so definitively with In Cold Blood, and it was because of his works that I delved more into the genre. It’s amazing how, from the perspective of a reader, Capote was able to piece together memories that he did not own, into a story that seemed like he was there the entire time.

Where I differ from Capote, is the perspective. Where Capote was the outside 3rd party, my writing is from my own perspective. The description of an experience or event comes from my personal perspective, not a 3rd party. With that, I am able to directly question the legitimacy of memory, thus calling myself into question; whereas with Capote, the audience knew that he took creative liberties, I force the reader into the uncomfortable situation of presenting a “truth,” while telling them to question my words.

It’s like verbal tennis with a mirror, insane and incredibly fun.

It’s exhausting.

What I actually delve into is the theory of “real,” and although my college advisor would be incredibly amused by this, it is a theory I whole heartedly enjoy debating as my own ideology points to the argument that once an object is committed to memory, it is instantly altered, thus questioning its’ “real” existence. Memory in itself has been proven to be flawed in even its most basic form; with two people remembering an object with enough difference to present a confliction.

Maybe I’m just certifiable and in desperate need of sleep. That is up to you to decide.

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