I'm looking for publications that publish personal essays; venues that don't demand non-fiction essays be written in the creative non-fiction, narrative form. Unfortunately the publications I want to get into Brain,Child, Literary Mama, etc. all want strong narrative non-fictions. In Literary Mama's "what we DON'T want...." list they write:
"Pieces that read like columns or intellectual reflections on personal experiences."
What they DO want:
# Illustrative anecdotes or vignettes.
# Compelling narrative.
I feel my pieces read like what they don't want - intellectual reflections on personal experiences, as societal commentaries wrapped around my personal experiences because my interest and background is strongly tied to psychology, social issues, the implications behind the lives of women, mothers, transition, identity, the evolution of humans.
I read 95% non-fiction and my writing comes from my attraction to making social commentary but in essay form. e.g. I just wrote one called "Funny Girls" with the posit that stark, gross and irreverent humor in women is powerful because.....and Brain,Child said "while clearly and thoughtfully written, and the editor enjoyed reading....they want set scenes alternating with exposition...."
When I write my essays I'm not naturally drawn to write a "story," to scenes, dialogue, vignettes etc. Is this a classic sign of inexperience or just my natural leaning?
Chicken or egg?
Perhaps I don't have enough experience with this genre to like CNF, or maybe I just don't like writing it? I also feel my memory to pull up stark details is weak, e.g. pulling imagery out of past events is not my strong suit. While I can bring up and tweak and write metaphors, I don't easily recall the minutia of an event; I'd have to make it up, "the color of her loose dress, a checkered red and white knee length cotton wrap looked like she'd grabbed her mother's dirty tablecloth and carelessly wrapped it around her just to cover up...." I'd have to make that scene up because I'd never remember what my friend wore, her mother etc. I'd remember that her mother made her feel inadequate etc, etc. because of her own insecurities etc.....
I wouldn't remember her dress and the color, or want to focus my writing on that...only that the girl was angry and bitter because of the expectations put on her by a mother born of the 1950's June Cleaver era who dropped out of college when her mother insisted she and Dad could no longer support two kids in college and so her brother had a better chance of "making something of his life"....etc, etc....
I've tried mind mapping and all those good tools, but I find mapping etc doesn't help me much. I just like to start with a posit, write and re-write, re-write.....
What publications, print and ezines welcome personal essays that read like commentaries, "intellectual reflections?" And, is creative non-fiction a "better" essay or just a different form? It seems CNF has become the popular form of essay for the literary motherhood publications, why because we are drawn to CNF? Because it pulls the reader into the story with rich dialogue and detail?
I need a home to focus my writing style, or to find a writing style and then find a home.
Thanks SO much for your feedback : )
and btw, if anyone would critique my "Funny Girls" essay I'd be grateful.