In which I rant about how Charley Davidson almost killed me
I’m sure everyone has thought of death at least once or twice in their life. I think I’m pretty safe in the assumption that everyone has also thought about how they might die. I know I’ve thought about it, not too often, but enough times to know that when I die, I want it to be something really cool and/or heroic like saving a baby from a burning building. Totally awesome, right? I thought so too and immediately pushed the idea out of my head. I’m so not going to walk around trying to find a burning building with a baby inside just so I can save the baby and die heroically. I do have a life to live. Jeez. Apparently that wasn’t enough, and Life (or maybe Death) bite me on the ass to prove that I can’t decide how I die.
It all started on a warm and sunny winter day. (By warm and sunny, I do mean that I was walking around in shorts and a t-shirt because I live in Florida and it was freaking hot.) Jackie had sent me Second Grave on the Left as an audio book to review. If you haven’t read my reviews of either First Grave on the Right or Second Grave on the Left, then I should tell you that Charley and I are basically the same person. Okay, so maybe we’re not exactly the same (alas, I am not the Grim Reaper and she has Reyes while I can only ogle him from afar) but we do have the same brain and most importantly the same sense of humor. So whenever I’m reading (or listening to, as the case may be) her stories, I laugh until I can’t breathe, then choke on oxygen as I try to suck some back into my lungs. And yes, that is just as sexy as it sounds.
Anyway, there I was, driving along on that hot winter day, listening to Second Grave on the Left on my way to school. Charley, being her usual hysterically awesome self, was making me laugh so hard that I kind of stopped paying attention to the road. And everyone knows what the number one rule for driving is: Never ever take your eyes off the road! Do you know what happens when you break that rule? Absolutely, positively nothing good. I learned that lesson the hard way, when, all of two seconds later, I slammed into the back of a semi truck and died on impact.
Okay…so maybe I didn’t exactly die. And, maybe, there wasn’t a semi truck. Come to think of it, maybe I just made the whole story up. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But that just brings me to the point of this particular rant, and that is: creative nonfiction.
Now, I hope everyone knows the difference between fiction and nonfiction but I’ve worked at a library long enough to know that there are a ton of people out there who don’t know. For those of you who don’t know the difference, it’s simply: fiction is what happens when authors are allowed to write what the voices in their heads’ talk about while nonfiction is factual/actually happened in the author’s real life. Make sense?
Creative nonfiction is a sub-genre of nonfiction that basically tells a factually correct story. More or less. That story I just told, is based on factual events (Charley and I are the same person, and I was listening to the audio book on a hot winter day) but that whole crashing and dying part – completely fictitious. Though, I must admit, the crash and death of me made the story much more interesting. Who wants to hear the story of how I listened to an audio book, laughed, went to school, blah, blah, blah, boring!
Instead of getting trapped in the blah, blah, blah boring of real life (even with a creative twist) I’ve created fictitious nonfiction! (That’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.) Fictitious nonfiction is when you take real life events, add some completely fictional events and/or characters, and bam! One captivating story that is both real and completely made up.
Did I just blow your mind away?
Anyway, I will admit, that my story about Charley isn’t the most riveting story (and I guess not completely believable since I am writing this rant and not laying dead in a morgue). I do have a better example, though I can’t give you the entire story – it’s too long. Basically, though, a couple months ago, I had to write a paper comparing something in my life to that of the play Antigone. After sitting there for about five minutes, I came up with nada. So, I did what any good writer would do, and made something up. Yep, I wrote about how my older brother was killed in a drug bust but I was so young at the time that no one would give me any details about what happened and now, I don’t want to know what happened because I just want to remember the brother who would play hide-and-seek with me not some drug addicted loser.
First of all, I don’t have an older brother. Secondly, if he did drugs, my mother would kill him, not the cops.
But my professor doesn’t know that.
When he was passing back our papers, he told the entire class how humbled he was that I shared something so personal/private with him. I sat there, biting the inside of my cheek while staring at my desk, trying my absolute hardest not to burst out laughing. Because, seriously?! He actually believed it! I didn’t think anyone was that gullible. (Except me. I am totally that gullible. But that’s another story.)
That wasn’t the first time I’ve ever used fictitious nonfiction when writing a paper for school. In fact, I’ve been doing it since I started school. Any time a teacher would tell me to write something about my personal life, I always made it up. Real life is just so boring. Or at least, not really story telling worthy. Now, if I was a demon slayer or the grim reaper, that would totally be a story worth telling.
P.S. I won’t be able to rant during the month of April because of RT (yay!) and final exams (ugh!). Luckily, the amazing Nicole said she could try and write a couple of rants, so you guys won’t go completely rant-less until May.