Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Art of Embellishment

Creative non-fiction is often what categorizes a memoir or a personal narrative. It's a story that is true (real people, real events), but told in a creative and interesting way. This is how I like to see the world. My family and friends say I like to exaggerate. I say I never exaggerate, only embellish.

As an example, there was one time my sister and I were making a nightly ice cream run to pick up a pint (make that two) of Ben & Jerry's. When we got to the freezer isle, we saw they were having a sale...Great! Until we realized that Ben & Jerry had been ransacked by girls who apparently had the same idea. We had had a system going: I'd get cookie dough; Eva would get half-baked. I spotted my flavor and grabbed it, but Eva was in distress...half-baked was no where to be found. She moaned, reaching both arms into the freezer, strewing useless pints of Ben & Jerry's across the shelves in her frantic quest for half-baked. To tell you the truth, I don't remember if she even found what she was looking for; all I remember is that she left the place in shambles. When we got home, Mom asked how our trip to the store went and I told her that Eva had been like a bear at a campsite. She laughed, but Eva was not amused by the description. Eva called me a lier and said that she had simply searched for her favorite flavor, slightly frustrated. But I had seen her...reaching her paws--I mean, arms--deep into the shelves of the freezer, leaving a path of destruction in her wake, and I swear when I yelled at her to stop making such a mess, she growled at me.
(photo by Jeffrey Brooker on

Unfortunately for people who find themselves around people who like to write, that's how we see things. I didn't just see my sister getting upset over ice cream
--I saw a grizzly bear hungry for half-baked. I can see how this might be slightly annoying. My sister isn't really a bear (though I have seen her attack boys at the jugular).

Sure, I could see and tell things exactly the way they happen...Eva couldn't find her ice cream. This upset her. But then I wouldn't be doing any creative justice to the event that transpired and I would have missed the opportunity to describe my sister in a more visually captivating way. I'm sure she'll thank me for it later.


  1. Pretty funny description there Amber. Now what would the scene be if the Cookie Dough was missing?

  2. Bahahahaha!! I completely forgot about this, and my love for half baked, it's been at least a year since I've had it :( As soon as I read this title I could have sworn you were gonna tell the story about the navy guys at the bar where all I did was straighten my posture and your story was ridiculous! thanks for the laugh..even though it's at my expense, which it usually is :)

  3. Another story, another time. You ruffled your feathers big time for those navy boys. I saw it with my own two embellishing eyes :)