June 21, 2020 by The Citron Review
While the world provides us with a steady, intravenous drip of heartache, experts tell us to “titrate” these experiences. Slow down, they say, then go even slower as we process our pain.
But, as one of my beloved writing teachers says, when we look at our wounds, we need to look close. Then even closer.
In this issue, our Creative Nonfiction authors slow down and get close to the bone. In short form creative nonfiction, with a limit of 1,000 words, it’s nearly impossible to begin to express the impact of topics like racism, grief, abuse or addiction without using sharp details. The writers of our Creative Nonfiction selections skillfully use imagery and sensory detail to enliven their narratives, bringing their themes out of the realm of abstraction to the emotionally resonant concrete. Every piece includes vibrant language that pulls us into the eye of the conflict and awakens our senses.
We see a Black police officer stepping to Cuban American music: fast, fast, slow. We smell the distinctively scented saris in India: the rose-pink benarasi with emerald green border, the turquoise silk with little silver flowers, the green-and-mustard one with golden paisleys. We are dizzied by the carousel ride in Atlantic City, its music fading into seagull chirps, crashing waves as the author navigates her father’s alcoholism. We touch the delicate silver cross resting in the soft pocket between clavicles as a wife processes her grief. We envision the teenage sister’s wig on a Styrofoam stand, and imagine it in the patent leather case between the narrator’s legs, as a family crisscrosses the country on the lam. We watch an anole’s rib cage and the sharp protrusion of his spine as a Leprechaun observes, and a bereaved mother relives her loss. We feel the thrill of the ride in the front seat of a truck passing by poplars, lakes, and mountains, the sun sending out veins of pink and orange, showing us beauty before cruelty.
As we offer you these seven poignant pieces, we hope you will find them as meaningful and beautiful as we have. This issue, we also extend appreciation to my Creative Nonfiction co-editor Nathan Elliott, a wonderful writer and a skilled editor from Montreal, Canada who has stepped down from The Citron Review. It’s been a pleasure to work together and we wish him all the best.
To all of our readers, I wish you peace, health and happiness during these challenging times.
Marianne Woods Cirone
Senior Creative Nonfiction Editor
The Citron Review