Various non-fictions litter my reading and writing past; I am an enthusiastic connoisseur of the art of the differently true writing. Each time I find a new enthusiasm, it leads me to heaps of fascinating, genre-crossing work. Every new group of texts makes me ask myself if I can contribute something to them.

I sometimes wonder if every woman who has escaped the clutches of fundamentalist Christianity has written a memoir; and if so, if I have read them all yet. If I haven’t, it’s not for lack of trying–I grasp those memoirs eagerly and read them through in a day or two, all other work and reading and writing thrown aside for the great moments of identification. Every one of the dozens I’ve read have the same characteristics–the chafing, the quiet doubts, the discovery of feminist thought and practice, the realization that the Bible is not literarily true, the men telling us that we were not staying in our place by thinking, etc., etc. The extreme similarity of our experiences is probably not all that surprising, for their origins are in a movement that glorifies central authority and normalisation.

Anyway, I am certainly a fan of this non-fiction genre, and I had thought of commemorating my own journey out of fundamentalism in a similar memoir. But after my most recent romps through such writings, I decided that I probably couldn’t contribute anything new to the conversation. I will continue to be an avid consumer, not a producer, of those fine works.

After graduate school, I finally had time to start reading history books–books about the Midwest, about literary history, biographies, political past and present. I learned late to love history. It was always one of my least favorite subjects in school, but in my post-school life it’s what makes the rest of the world make sense. I had some delusions of writing on the Midwest’s populist past. Fortunately, I have since found some excellent books on the topic. As it turns out, people train their entire lives in historical methods to become good historians, and the number of good historians greatly outpaces the size of an audience for good history. So another of my non-fiction writing dreams was destined for failure.

I have decided instead to steer my non-fiction energies towards inquiries into education. As an education worker, I’m a lot better qualified to comment on this topic! More specifically, I’m interested in figuring out how we know what we know. I participate in a local trivia team, and we often ask each other, “How did you know that?” when fielding a particularily obscure question. This has inspired me to inquire what leads any of us to seek out obscure knowledge. My working title is “Knowing Stuff: Formation of a Nerd,” and I am looking forward to exploring the origins of my and other people’s weird knowlege. Wikipedia will play a prominent role in the narrative!

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