A friend recently asked me how to make disjointed memories come together when writing about her grandmother, who died when my friend was twenty. “What question are you trying to answer about your grandmother?” I asked.
When crafting creative nonfiction, it’s common to begin with vivid glimpses of memory that compel us to the page. It’s also common to feel stuck when attempting to weave meaning into this assortment. Focus on the question at the heart of it all. What do you want to understand about these memories? What mystery is your curiosity driving you to solve? What do you want the reader to consider?
Jenny Bartoy is a freelance literary editor specializing in developmental and line editing, a writing workshop instructor, and a mother of three based in Tacoma, Washington.