Meeting Dinty Moore
It seems like in the creative nonfiction world, we can’t get away from Dinty Moore, and it’d be fruitless to even try, because the man is simply everywhere. Moore was the winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2008 for his memoir Between Panic and Desire, and his other books include The Accidental Buddhist, Toothpick Men, and a rather prophetic book about internet culture in 1995. He also writes about the craft of nonfiction in many helpful textbooks, including Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide to Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction and the Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction. Moore has published essays and stories in so many places it would seem like a humble-brag to say them all, but they include Southern Review, Georgia Review, Harper’s, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Gettysburg Review…The list just goes on and on. He is a professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, the editor of Brevity, an online journal of creative nonfiction, and he serves on the editorial board of Creative Nonfiction magazine.
I first had the pleasure of meeting Dinty Moore at AWP last year, and by meeting Dinty Moore, I mean I sat in the same room as Dinty Moore, maybe one hundred feet back, while I ate an apple and listened to him read in celebration of Creative Nonfiction, the magazine. I say I met Dinty Moore as though I might have really met him in that moment, because his essays, flash and otherwise, invite us into an intensely personal and compressed space. Dinty Moore’s essays are tiny mosaics, fitting together to work as something colorful and beautiful and illuminating about his own experience as well as the human experience.
In his craft essay, “Rivering,” Dinty Moore tells us that “a truth you discover for yourself will always be more powerful than a truth someone else tries to impose upon you… the truth is sometimes not in the words, but between them, in the permeable tissue that runs from moment to moment.” And Dinty Moore’s essays work just in this way, as his words are a mosaic in that he concisely gives you the tiles with general instruction and you must align them, filling in the space and the permeable tissue and what has not been given to you. It is that mutual work of writer and reader that defines his essays, both craft and nonfiction.
When you read Dinty Moore’s essays or hear Dinty Moore read his essays, you do not leave those words and thoughts on the page. The details and experiences he gives you rise up, blurring as they seep into your skin, and before you realize, you are walking around with those details tucked inside the pockets of your life, giving you a new insight for welcoming experience.
I can’t wait for you to meet him.
Dinty Moore will be reading in the Art Museum at the Colorado State University Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, November 13. This event is free and open to the public.
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