PRISM international recently had the opportunity to sit down with upcoming Guernica author Diane Bracuk to discuss her story “Doughnut Eaters”, which won PRISM’s 2015 Non-fiction Contest. PRISM international is a quarterly magazine out of Vancouver that works to publish the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world.
PRISM asked Bracuk why she was drawn to creative non-fiction, to which she responded “I’ve always been writing in some form or another, as a way to make sense of the world. What I like about creative non-fiction is the freedom to just be myself in a personal essay. Rather than inventing characters from scratch as I do in my fiction writing, I can just let my personal narrative take its own organic course, circling around a subject, and weaving together several perspectives and timelines as I did with ‘Doughnut Eaters.’”
Bracuk also discussed her writing method, which she begins by explaining her extensive revision process, “I’ll do a couple of drafts, then set them aside to marinate for a while, seeing if any new insights or revelations surface when I go back to it. After that, I’ll workshop the piece with a few writer friends, and consider something completed in seven to eight drafts.” She also discussed how to balance research and memory while writing creative non-fiction, explaining “I’m a stickler for accuracy, so balancing out memory with historical detail was important.”
Bracuk also talked about the inspiration behind the piece and its composition. “Doughnut Eaters” deals with a memory from Bracuk’s childhood spent as a Canadian expat in Germany. The story deals with “a young…female being followed by a predator on a lonely country road”, but also responds to the historical context of post-war Germany, when “Canadians – strutting about with our shiny new cars and stylish clothes – represented the good life Germans aspired to.” Bracuk explains that she was motivated to write the story “one dark and foggy (but not stormy!) night shortly after my divorce, an intensely vulnerable time where I was on unfamiliar terrain, emotionally and physically. The dense fog triggered a long forgotten memory of my ten-year-old self getting lost. So I simply went with the rush of raw emotion, interweaving descriptions of the fog with my childhood memories of Germany.”
Bracuk concludes the interview by mentioning her upcoming collection of short stories entitled Middle-Aged Boys and Girls, which will be published by Guernica Editions in spring of 2016. She states, “as the title implies, the theme is about adults stuck in various stages of adolescence – something I can definitely relate to!”
To read the whole interview, visit the PRISM international website at: