Alex Rix is a Creative Writing student in Aberystwyth. Her non-fiction has appeared in Kerosene and Heroica. She writes from her real-life experiences with the darker corners of life. Her piece, ‘I Nearly Died Once’, can be found in EPOCH Issue 03: Roots, available to purchase here.
Why do you write CNF, and do you explore other genres in your work?
I started off writing creative snapshots of all the people I’ve loved. I changed names, places, obvious details and dramatized in places. I think I was drawn to writing from my real life because more than anything it was a way for me to work through my past. But, also, because sometimes life can suck, if you can’t turn that into something; into growth, into art, into a way to support other people facing the same hurt then I feel as though you’re allowing it to just be pain.
Since then, I have started to really embrace creative non-fiction, both as a means of working through all the mucky bits of life as well as laying my own experiences out for other people to relate to. I’ve also let myself get more creative with my fiction; I still write emotional moments from a real place, true memories, but the subjects have gotten really out there. I’m currently writing a three part story of the rise and fall of a sex robot company under three different leaderships for my Masters and I’ve written for a few magazines about my experiences with going sober.
Did you have a piece already written when you learned about Epoch’s theme, or did you write a new piece? If so, how did you approach the theme of Roots in the creation of your work?
I started ‘I Nearly Died Once’ the same way I start all my pieces. I sat down in front of my laptop with a submission recipient in mind and I just started typing and let myself end up wherever I needed to. The theme of Roots became entangled in whatever happened to be at the forefront of my subconscious in that moment, which just so happened to be the sexual assault crisis. How I can’t remember a time in my life in which I didn’t understand that I was a target.
What is the biggest challenge when writing CNF?
The two most prevalent challenges when writing creative nonfiction, but specifically when writing about your own lived experiences, seem contradictory. The first is making sure that what your writing is true to your experience. Not trying too hard to change something that happened to you into something that is exciting for someone else to read. The second is to keep in mind that you are writing about it for other people to read. You’ve got to know what details need explaining, what details don’t, what the moral of the story is to a person who isn’t at the centre of it.
Ultimately, you need to know that what you have put out there is a representation of your life that you can stand by whilst recognising that once it’s out there it’s no longer just for you.
What’s your favourite piece of art in your home?
I have a little sculpture of a female torso that my friend made for me, it’s painted sage green and has one of my tattoos carved into it and painted. Said friend named it after me and it sits on top of an upside-down wooden bowl that happens to look like a UFO that was made by my partner. I just adore it; it would absolutely be one of the things I made sure to save from a fire.