Nonfiction is the new fiction. William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, explains how the non-fiction genre gained popularity around World War II. People left their homes, travelled across the world, and experienced new places for the first time. Suddenly, the world wanted facts. People wanted real stories. People wanted real stories about real experiences and real people.
Creative nonfiction does exactly that. Authors use the style and language of the fiction genre and apply it to real events.
“Everyone has a story to tell.” This is part of the mantra of UTM’s own literary journal, Mindwaves. Born out of the professional writing and communication program, Mindwaves collects, edits, and publishes the best of UTM’s non-fiction writing.
Adam Erb, editor-in-chief of the current Mindwaves issue, stresses the importance of non-fiction as a defining aspect of the journal and the PWC program. “If all else fails, the actions that happen in the stories can succeed, even when there aren’t many descriptions available,” he says. His thoughts echo the 1940s and 50s movement towards non-fiction in the literary world. Erb also points out another important aspect of real life stories or personal narratives: “It’s also a new way for a writer to dig deep and really immerse themselves in their writing, since it’s actually about them.”
Erb also emphasizes the opportunity that a student journal like Mindwaves gives UTM students. “It’s a great way for writers to get practical experience for the competitive writing field,” he says. Getting published is, after all, the practical end goal for any writing student. But the journal also instills confidence in students.
“It’s always a special feeling to know that someone liked something you wrote,” says Amir Ahmed, who was published in last year’s issue, “and it’s always incredible to see your name in print.”
This year, a team of six editors pored over 250 pages of submissions, and are still in the selection process. The team aims to publish 10 pieces in the coming issue. “More would be great,” says Erb, “but 10 is what we budget for.”
With the rising number of submissions every year, Mindwaves has become an important part of the PWC, while still accepting submissions from other areas of study as similar as English and as dissimilar as chemistry.
The journal needs more exposure, though. “I just wish more people knew about Mindwaves,” says Ahmed. The team called for submissions by announcing submission dates in PWC classrooms and putting up posters around campus.
The editorial team has set a tentative launch date for March 14. The Mindwaves launch, usually held in the MiST Theatre, promises exciting, funny, and beautifully written personal narratives read by the authors, and a chance to pick up a copy of the current issue.