Creative Nonfiction Fall 2019

Creative Nonfiction is the voice of the genre. Every issue includes long-form essays blending style with substance; writing that pushes the genre’s boundaries; commentary and notes on craft; conversations with writers; and more. Simply put, Creative Nonfiction demonstrates the depth and versatility of the genre it helped define.

United States
Creative Nonfiction
USD 7.50
USD 25
4 Números

en este número

3 min.
from the editor

What’s the Story? I FIRST SAW this machine in the student union building at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. CMU is a way station in my various running routes, kind of a middle point where I can go to the bathroom, hydrate, and maybe even answer a text or two. But one day, walking through the union, I saw this Short Édition dispenser, nestled in a corner and surrounded by a few easy chairs and coffee table. It is a tall, narrow, and neatly designed device, and it invites you to do something really cool—press a button and get a short story. I pressed the button, and a story came right out for me on a long, narrow strip of paper. The Short Édition dispenser at CMU has two buttons, one that…

12 min.
the serious business of play: finding connection, meaning, and sometimes joy

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY to tell someone you’re a game scholar, or that you use public and private dollars to harness the power of games and play for social good. Sometimes the reaction is, “How fun,” tinged with an underlying skepticism suggesting that what we do is not important. Sometimes people ask if you can hire their kid, who is “really into video games.” Occasionally, you get a “Thank you,” with sincere hope that we can do something to make the huge amount of time our kids—and, increasingly, adults—spend immersed in video games more productive and empowering. In our relentlessly achievement-driven society, it’s tempting to consider games and play as frivolous, but in fact, they serve many important purposes, providing opportunities to play with possible selves and futures; to collaborate with…

13 min.

QUESTIONS WERE on Matthew’s mind. I’d seen that look on my grandson’s face many times. It was a Saturday evening—the beginning of a sleepover weekend—and the two of us were eating dinner. Stouffer’s lasagna, his favorite. “What if our Milky Way galaxy got mixed up with another galaxy?” Matthew asked. I’d grown accustomed to this latest line of interrogation. I placed my fork on my plate and lifted my gaze to meet his. We talked about Andromeda and how the stars in our galaxy and that one are moving toward one another, bit by bit. Matthew filled in. “And we could crash?” Eyes wide, his face brimmed with the thrill and fear of such a possibility. I nodded. “And then what would happen to us? Die?” I wasn’t prepared for that question—the end of life as…

22 min.
whispers from the field

YOUNG TREES GLOW with branches that double as lamp posts, bringing gold warmth to the blue light that engulfs the mist-shrouded island of Teldrassil, home of the night elves. Plants and trees in shades of green, pink, purple, and lavender shroud the forest floor. Owls, boars, massive spiders, and cat-like creatures called nightsabers peer from behind trees and bushes. I’m strolling around the island with a newly created night-elf toon1, picking herbs, occasionally killing a nightsaber or spider and remembering the last time I was here with my son, Gray, completing some quests. “Dude, what is that, mom?” he typed in the chat box. Although we lived a thousand miles apart and often played World of Warcraft from that distance, this day he was visiting me in Pittsburgh. He was on…

15 min.
keeping score

WE’RE NOT SURE if we’re going to make it—through the card game or through this stage of our relationship. I sit at the dining table with my gaming partner, my husband of eight years, Kylie. We are not a fighting couple, but lately, we’ve been having too many tense conversations, too many miscommunications, too many misses altogether. So, we do what we always do when we feel distant: we play a board game. Tonight, we have chosen Hanabi, a game that is horrible on marriage while you play but creates better communication overall—hopefully. Hanabi—which means “fireworks” in Japanese—is a cooperative game, meaning that Kylie and I work together. The trick is we can’t see our own hands; we each hold our cards facing ouward. The goal is to play twenty-five of…

21 min.
never a sure bet

MY FATHER’S MOTHER, Ma-Ma, taught me to play mah-jongg at the lucky age of nine. At first, she had refused. Her lips were so taut, her tiny mouth disappeared. “It’s a gambling game,” she spat, as if that should immediately disqualify it. “Why do you want to know?” I shrank back. Why was she acting as if I’d asked a personal question, prying into her past? I knew better. Besides, she’d already taught me casino, blackjack, five-and seven-card stud, and gin rummy. Wasn’t mah-jongg just another game? Little did I know of the custom, the flow, the excruciating etiquette. Maybe Ma-Ma was thinking, She’s too young to learn all those rules. She’ll just be an annoyance. Or perhaps she was hinting at something more insidious—that I might have inherited our family’s…