By Skye Patton
Have you ever questioned your identity? Something isn’t right, and you begin to question everything you thought you knew. The feeling is overbearing, you feel trapped. You look around the room, everyone else has their life all put together, leaving you alone. There is no one around you to vent to, no one to relate to you, especially as a POC navigating a PWI. This loneliness doesn’t have to drag on as you explore who you are as a person. There are currently 7 billion people in the world and billions more who have lived before us. There are so many similar experiences to the one that you may be experiencing, you are NOT alone.
Thankfully, some writers write about their lives to showcase on the internet. They illustrate their daily lives in the real world and all of the obstacles that come with it, expressing raw emotions that most cannot express out loud. This is called creative nonfiction and these pieces can be written in many forms, from personal essays to memoirs. Regardless of the form, the heart of their stories is there, and these writers want you to read their stories to help guide you through your own similar troubles. Literature is meant to teach the youth about the experiences of the elders, what works and what doesn’t. Here are some places online to read these stories, some for free:
1. The Common consists of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Simply look up the topic you seek, and real stories will be ready for you to read.
2. The Fourth Genre focuses completely on creative nonfiction, and they “explore the markers and boundaries of literary/ creative nonfiction.”
3. Creative Nonfiction Magazine is just what the name entails, and they also offer a program to help others understand this unique genre.
4. The Sun Magazine utilizes both photography and literature to make these personal stories come to life.
5. Reedsyprompts offers a creative nonfiction section that is broken into many different genres, and people are able to like and comment on these stories, creating a true community feel.
6. The Best American Essays is an anthology that is published each year, containing the best essays from many magazines. You can purchase it online.
Although many do not know about this genre of nonfiction, there is a whole community dedicated to speaking their truth, no matter where they come from or who they are. Maybe this can inspire you to begin writing your own stories, peeling back issues you could never speak of. Charcoal Magazine also offers anonymous submissions if you want to dip your toes into the void of creative nonfiction. It also doesn’t have to be anonymous, but either way, Charcoal Connect is a website dedicated to YOU, a space for POC and POC only. We are here and ready for your stories, your experiences, your heart. Who knows, one day you could be published in Charcoal Magazine and the next, The Best American Essays.