(photo by dhm.de)
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
~John F. Kennedy
Did the above quote send a little tingle across your skin. Did it make you take in a breath? If so, you were inspired.
Often times when some see the word "inspirational" they think the piece is religious. But as you can see by this example this isn't the case.
Creative nonfiction should always be written with the reader in mind with the goal to make that reader better for having read it. A great creative nonfiction piece should always inspire, have a simple, non-preachy lesson, moral of the story, or epiphany (ah-ha moment) at the end.
This can be accomplished in many ways. It can be reflective, serious, or humorous.
My creative nonfiction story, "My Culinary Epiphany" that is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Recipes for Busy Moms has a humorous ah-ha that gently reminds the reader to show gratitude for whoever cooks their Thanksgiving meal. The follow is an excerpt from that piece:
The kids were piled on their daddy watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while I feverishly worked in the kitchen wearing that blasted rosy glow.
Finally, dinner was served. My husband said grace and then we proceeded to turn into Hoover-mouths. In less than twenty minutes we consumed one hundred dollars worth of food that took two days to prepare.
After dinner, Neal reclined in his chair and the kids ran outside. I was left in a kitchen that looked like Bourbon Street the morning after Mardi Gras.
So this is what my mother did every year? My hands were chapped. My fingers were cut and burned. Every muscle in my body begged for a glass of wine and a hot bubble bath.
As far as I was concerned, my Mom deserved sainthood.
Glancing out the window, I watched the children jump into a pile of leaves, just like I used to do when I was a child. My husband snored in his easy chair, just like Dad. And I began the arduous task of cleaning, just like Mom.
Indulging in a little self pity, I grumbled under my breath.
Sure, eat all you want and leave the rest to me. Just throw a thank-you over your shoulder before taking a nap. Nobody had a clue how hard it was cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
Come to think of it, neither did I till now.
Getting off my self-righteous perch, I practiced the true meaning of Thanksgiving. I called my mother and said,
“Thank you for all your hard work. We are not worthy of you!”
A humorous, simple lesson on gratitude.
Look at your piece. What can your story give your reader? What is its "take away?"
This concludes the steps to great CNF. Now all your piece needs is some polish, and if you attend a critique group, a good read there. If you would like to send your piece to me, I'd be happy to read it and offer suggestions if any are needed.
My email is: email@example.com.