NonFiction Now – a summary of notes

by stronged



  • Humour can be a good technique to employ when dealing with politics.
  • Fiction (metaphors) is a handy form to approach political quandaries – giving living organisms a voice that do not usually have one. Jeff Sparrow
  • Assay definition – determine the content or quality of a thing (normally a metal) Ross Gibson
  • Ross Gibson poetry coupled with archival images Ross Gibson
  • In a standardized test, television sets are shaken to see whether they are sturdy enough for transportation. Kathryn Millard
  • “Cinema is emotionally pre-digested” – Carroll (ala, we already know the formula and what to expect) Grayson Cook
  • Florian Schneider: an open source mode of doco (The ability to bring your own connections to build on a pre-existing documentary narrative) Seth Keen
  • The Wilderness Downtown (spacial collage, online site) Seth Keen
  • Cowbird (online archive that coordinates various connections to other databases) Adrian Miles
  • Circus Oz archive of past performances. Can build on archive by adding in either a) I was there and…, or b) I wasn’t there and… – It is quite alarming the murkiness created when the public police. Where’s the accountability? What’s the ‘truth’? Reuben Stanton
  • Frank Hardy started Overland
  • Theatrical performance delivered in several scenes/increments of a clock, with the audience in the centre and performers moving around them periodically.
  • The translation of English learning activities into a comic book overcomes language barriers.
  • I’m best writing about something mistaken, or someone who is mistaken. Brett Lott
  • Start at the ending or you will ramble Brandon Schrand


  • Who does the story belong to? “The story isn’t a story until the writer writes it.”
  • Lacunae – a missing portion of a book/manuscript
  • “The spark that unites and connects.” – Jungian terminology
  • Send interview transcript to interviewee to be confirmed.


  • Creative non-fiction comes out of essay writing. It has it’s grounding in journalistic writing. Douglas Robinson
  • Have to know yourself first in order to construct an exceptional essay. Douglas Robinson
  • Create a drama between the writer and the reader. Construct each as characters in order for them to explore themselves whilst also stepping away from themselves to grasp an aspect of themselves in a safe/exploratory setting. Mix the imaginative with the real.Douglas Robinson
  • I challenge my students by telling them I can find ten story ideas if I head out of the classroom and down two blocks if I just look sideways (peripherally) Sue Joseph
  • Write about a birth, a death, a marriage or a feud as a personal writing task. Sonya Voumard
  • Setting boundaries in creative nonfiction hones the craft of new writers. Constructing a mosaic of a narrative rather than a linear narrative identifies where the nuggets of facts are. John Dale
  • Pre-conditioned clichés (i.e. show don’t tell, writing cannot be taught, etc.) – break down these moulds; unpack these ‘rules’ and ‘restrictions’ Bonnie Sunstein
  • Students think that they do not know how to write – break these inhibitions “You have to write badly in order to write well.” – this ties into the quick fix mentality of wanting to become a writer extroidinaire over night. Douglas Robinson and Bonnie Sunstein
  • “Creating a cultural scaffold in your classroom in order to make connextions between learning exercises.” Aiming to create a safe environment for students to explore their creativity. Bonnie Sunstein
  • “Writing can’t be taught, but it can be learned.” Learn to a) Observe, and b) Read Deeply John Dale
  • In order to progress with drafts go into depth: 1. What surprised you? 2. What intrigued you? (positionality – who you are) 3. What disturbed you? (get to personal blockages) Bonnie Sunstein
  • Send students out to vox pop: exercise for reportage, feature writing – must observe and not open mouth – allows them to assess what their impression of their classmates is Sue Joseph
  • Flash Research: Group of students observe and take notes on one event. When they compare notes get them to come up with an aggregate. Bonnie Sunstein
  • It’s Not About You by Bonnie Sunstein
  • Meaningful writing as opposed to catharsis Steve May


  • Ladyboys trade hormones like pokemon cards in the school yard. Benjamin Law
  1. Language – “Profoundly important to learn as much of the language as possible” equalizes power imbalance.
  2. Live life of the people you write about
  3. Subject is always right
  4. Show work to subjects before publishing
  5. Understand how much of a privilige a role it is to express someone else’s story for them. “It’s not a right, it’s a privilige.” Stephanie Elizondo Griest


  • “I lie all the time but I really try not to lie to myself.” – paraphrased F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Give me ugly beauty.”
  • Rhythmic writing – strong beats
  • The negro of America is a figment of imagination from the depths of the white American psyche
  • The things that make you feel uncomfortable are precisely that which you should scratch away at.
  • “Memory can be torn from places” – Pierre Nora Marsha Berry
  • Speculation – Subjectivity enhances the story?
  • It’s not about who you are, it’s about who you can becomeOlivia Guntarik
  • What conversations you want to have with the world – identity Marsha Berry
  • Acknowledge that self in text is an assertion of yourself, not who you are at the time of writing. Sydney Smith
  • If it hurts, it is the most important topic to write about. Sydney Smith
  • The first draft is therapy. The second draft is to figure out the form and demographic in order to shape it as a product to sell. Garnett Cohen
  • “Language has it’s own song.” – patterns and harmonies – Soussou? Xenia Hanusiak
  • “In the bad times will there be singing? Yes, about the bad times.” – Brecht Robyn Archer
  • The critic must be an advocate of the art form. Alison Croggon
  • 2-3-4 project on at the same time in order to take your consciousness off each one problem. Alsion Croggon “I get refreshed jumping from one project to another.” Robyn Archer