Here, There & Otherwhere are in two volumes published approximately one year apart, both anthologies of narrative nonfiction. The genre by its very nature (not memoir, not autobiography) requires true-life adventure with focus never on author per se but rather on what is happening under what conditions. In narrative nonfiction, the author is the story-teller but not ever the story itself.
Volume 1 takes place at some time during forty years overseas, mostly in settings such as the West Pacific islands, SE Asia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, southern Africa and involving often unusual people in a usually exotic settings along paths not often taken. Reader is allowed to accompany author on a high porch in the Nepali jungle awaiting a tiger . . . to be “mooned” by a herd of elephants . . . to find out what happens when a customer so much as touches a piece of fruit at a green-grocery in Northern Italy . . . to find out why we humans are prey as well as predators.
Volume 2 occurs mostly in the United States (two exceptions) over a span of a century and a half. How exciting are “the facts of life” when you are not yet five years old? Prone on low groundcover, can you survive the tornado ripping through your ballfield? How does it feel to continue living when the U.S. Government has pronounced you “dead”? And what happens to a tiger no longer willing to be “a tiger in [somebody’s] tank”?
Phyl Manning is originally from Nebraska, a widely traveled long-time educator who started teaching at age sixteen in a one room school house but did much of her 45-year service (classroom, curriculum, counseling, administration) at international schools overseas. She has lived and/or traveled extensively in the West Pacific, Southeast Asia (expanded to include Nepal and Sri Lanka) and Southern Africa as well as Europe. Her long-time experience/research/expertise/passion included international wildlife and the traditional Inupiat (Arctic Inuit).
Here, There and Otherwhere, Vol. 1, recounts adventures as an adult in overseas venues. Vol. 2 recovers adventures at various ages in domestic (U.S.) life. These will be her fourth and fifth books to see print.
Phyl Manning has a married daughter and family in Chico, CA, and a married son and family in San Diego.
I can be contacted by email: email@example.com
Or through these websites: phylsbooks.com OR KalanaPress.com
Or by phone: (603) 654 9240
Or by U.S. Mail at 374 Burton Highway; Wilton, NH 03086
ELEPHANTS*PACHYDERMS *ELEPHANTHOLOGY* ELEPHANTS
Sure, they can paint—but only YOU can write. Yes, about elephants. We’re hosting a two-level contest with (a) modest $$ winnings and (b) possible inclusion in Elephanthology, a planned anthology of elephant lore—short stories of fiction or narrative nonfiction (imaginative writing, not articles per se), poetry, flash fiction . . . all published with author’s name for each piece.
To find out more, check out Phyl’s website.
1. How to Write Narrative Nonfiction Like a Pro
I’m basing these words on forty stories in the two anthologies which are my last two among paperback/eBook publications—and both are narrative nonfiction. For me, a primary factor is to NOT call the genre “creative” nonfiction, which terminology suggests “imagined truth,” surely an oxymoron. And also fundamental to the genre is the author’s understanding that she (or he) is not undertaking memoir, at least not in the traditional sense, and certainly not autobiography. It’s all a matter of focus. Where memoir and autobiography are more familiar and long-established categories “about the author,” narrative nonfiction is neither.
This relatively new genre is about a time and place, a people, occurrences—all of abiding interest to the reader, of course. The author plays the role of storyteller and is never the story itself. A subtle but important distinction.
Yes. As author, I am in the stories—had to be, in order to give first-hand accounts—but the heart of the tale is elsewhere. In Volume 2 of Here, There & Otherwhere, where TIME is the major factor rather than (as in Volume 1) PLACE, that four-year-old whose mother is trying to teach the facts of life to is me—yes—but at a drastically different time and circumstance. The same is true of the ten-year-old trying with her teammates to survive a tornado roaring across the ballfield. The adult lyricist rhyming up Pach-a-ca-MAHK for a children’s chorus is not distanced by time so much as role. Or the would-be writer hearing the ways others (and herself) read their work aloud for the class and the picky professor.
Your “author” presence (or mine) cannot be avoided; but as indicated above, the emphasis is on another time, another place, another (and different) “age” or circumstance for the author, so not the writer herself/himself here and now.
As author of a mere two books of narrative nonfiction, the 2nd of which has the ink barely dried, I cannot be considered a “pro.” On the other hand, both paperbacks came easily and naturally, as a series of memorable circumstances great fun to share. I’m actually proud of both and may do yet another if I’m not out of stories. Volume 1 was the top-listed Finalist with International Book Awards in 2012. Volume 2 has not been entered anywhere, but readers so far (those who have reported to me) consider it “at least” as fascinating as Volume 1. Hopefully, I am presently Writing Narrative NonfictionLike a Pro. . . . perhaps you will decide.
Thank you for hosting Phyl on your bllog! I’m new to narrative nonfiction, so it was really interesting to read Phyl’s thoughts on how to write it well. Thanks for being a part of the tour 🙂
It was my pleasure. 🙂