On writing “Grasshopper”
by Margaret Conway.
I write nonfiction because I have no other choice. The characters who clamor inside my head refuse to be fictionalized or tethered to a conventional plot. My mother once said, “You’re a writer? Then write about me. I don’t even care if you say bad things about me—just let them know who I am before I croak.” Who she is? I’ve been trying to puzzle this out for eons, and so I value the supple, capacious medium of creative nonfiction where there’s ample room to wrestle with a character’s baffling complexities before letting her take over, as she’s determined to do. Also, writing needs its wild side, its far frontier. Which is why I pray that the medium does not allow itself to become codified, regulated, explained. Let the mustangs run free. Let there be one last place on a writer’s earth that keeps to its essential mystery.