Meet Your Senior Reader: Creative Nonfiction

This series introduces you to the people who are reading your stuff

Filed under: Blog |

Sarah Fawn Montgomery holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from California State University-Fresno and is currently a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has been listed as notable in Best American Essays and her poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in various magazines including DIAGRAM, Fugue, The Los Angeles Review, New South, North Dakota Quarterly, The Pinch, Puerto del Sol, South Dakota Review and others.

How would you describe yourself, as a reader and writer?
I’m an eager—perhaps even greedy—reader, reading most things I can get my hands on. I certainly have texts and writers I return to again and again, but what keeps me excited, what inspires my own thinking and writing are texts outside my comfort zone, exposure to voices, ideas, and forms I haven’t experienced. As a writer I’m similar, trying my hand at a variety of forms and challenging myself with different tasks—writing an essay in one sentence, for example, or using extensive footnotes or white space to play with the visual frame of a piece, blurring genre lines with hybrid pieces.

What kind of a nonfiction submission gets you excited?
The submissions that excite me do something unexpected, either with form or voice, with the story or subject at hand, however extreme or mundane it may appear to be at first. One of the things I appreciate about nonfiction as a genre is the way it allows us access not only a writer’s experience or subject, but access inside the writer’s head as he/she tries to make sense of that experience or subject. The submissions that make me giddy are those that allow or sometimes force me to experience something in a new way, that change the way I perceive something even if it is momentary.

What (writing-wise) are you currently working on? What do you do for fun?
Lately I’ve been writing a lot of essays about the weather, and our human connection and response to it—the ways we try and resist, the ways we tremble and fear what it can do and become, the ways it shapes our thinking and living. I’ve also been working on a series of ekphrastic pieces written from the perspectives of figures in various paintings, the artists, the artists’ gardeners or milkmen, and figures that aren’t in the paintings but that I imagine could or should be on the canvas.