Creative Nonfiction

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Creative NonfictionCreative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction Winter 2016

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
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4 Issues


access_time3 min.
what’s the (surprising) story?

There’s an element of mystery to the weather; that’s what keeps it interesting. THE WEATHER IS ALWAYS SURPRISING US; maybe that’s why we like to talk about it so much. Of course, we can predict the weather, to some extent—probably more precisely now than ever before in human history—but as Al Roker points out in our interview with him in this issue, the weather is behaving in extreme and sometimes unpredictable ways as a result of climate change. There’s an element of mystery to it; that’s what keeps it interesting. At Creative Nonfiction, we appreciate the importance of keeping things interesting. Of course, you want a magazine to be at least somewhat predictable, but I think one of the elements that’s helped us (ahem) weather the storms of the past twenty-plus years has…

access_time1 min.
about the illustrations

In 2005, while cross-country skiing, MARK NYSTROM spotted an oak leaf with its stalk stuck in the snow. As the wind blew, the leaf’s edges carved into the snow, making a temporary drawing. Inspired to make his own drawings with the wind, Nystrom outfitted a ballpoint pen with sails and suspended it over some paper. For an entire day, the wind pushed the pen across the surface of the paper, recording each shift in wind speed and direction. Delighted with the results, he repeated the process for thirty-four days. Curiosity about the forces that made these “wind drawings” led Nystrom to develop digital wind-drawing processes. Using weather instruments and custom electronics, he collects wind data every second and writes software to interpret it. To date, Nystrom has developed thirty-two digital wind-drawing…

access_time16 min.
how can something so beautiful be so deadly at the same time?

IN FEBRUARY 1998, as NBC’s Late Night show went head-to-head with the winter Olympics on CBS, ratings plunged for host Conan O’Brien. In a sketch called “Nobody’s Watching,” O’Brien and his team made “confessions” they’d otherwise never get away with on-air. He praised the widely loathed ’90s boy band Hanson and smoked cigarettes while bandleader Max Weinberg described murdering Bruce Springsteen’s original drummer. One of the biggest laughs came after Al Roker strode onto the set. “Nobody’s watching, right?” Roker asked O’Brien. He turned, looked straight into the camera, and said, “I have no interest whatsoever in the weather.” The joke worked because, for many people, Al Roker is the weather. Since 1990, he’s walked America through rain and sleet and sun—and quite a few historic storms—on NBC’s Today show, at first…

access_time33 min.
my climate change

ANDREW C. REVKIN is a journalist, author, and educator who has reported on the environment—from the North Pole to the White House to the Amazon—for more than three decades, mainly for the New York Times. As the Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University, he teaches courses in online communication and environmental documentary production. Revkin has won top awards in science and investigative journalism and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has written books on global warming, the changing Arctic, and the Amazon rain forest and, in spare moments, is a performing songwriter. SOME THINGS JUST SEEM TOO MOMENTOUS to keep in mind. One is the planet we’re living on. We’re on the third rock from the sun twenty-four hours a day, but I’ve only been to one place where that awareness…

access_time3 min.
in the grip of the sky

SONYA HUBER teaches at Fairfield University, where she directs the low-residency MFA. She’s published two books of creative nonfiction, Opa Nobody and Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir, and a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers. This essay is from an experimental collection on chronic pain. THE SKY HAS ITS WAY WITH ME. As clouds lower their shoulders against the horizon, a warm front’s humid body slides along my skin, lifting the hem of my dress to curl around my waist and stretch along my spine. Closer still, the atmosphere enters me soundlessly. Barometric pressure squeezes my joints, each a tiny fishbowl of synovial fluid that cushions the space where two bones pivot and swing. My immune system loves and defends me too diligently. I am one of the joint-diseased and chronic,…

access_time19 min.
the bus stop

RUNNER-UP! Best Essay Prize ASHLEY HAY's essays have appeared in anthologies including Best Australian Essays and Best Australian Science Writing. Her most recent novel, The Railwayman’s Wife, was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and received the Colin Roderick Award from the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies. It will be published in the United States this spring. AFTER THE MILLENNIUM TURNED PAST Y2K and the world didn’t end, my friend Steve decided to leave Sydney and move to India for a while. He went to Dharamsala—to learn Tibetan, mainly, though he did other things there, too, including waging war with local monkeys that stole his underpants and watching a cow sled past his house—at speed, and quite surprised—during a mudslide. He also befriended a Kashmiri man called Altaf, who ran a nearby…