There are a couple of different elements that came together that created my first (I think) piece of creative non-fiction that wasn’t directly about me or where I used something from my life and wove it into the story.
First, there was my 2nd go-round at college where I studied and received my B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications (I worked hard for this degree but at the same time it literally just fell into my lap out of my laptop). We studied a unit on Investigative Journalism and Feature Reporting (I think) and this is where I discovered Literary Non-fiction / Literary Journalism, where you write a story based on factual information using literary techniques. I immediately fell in love with this style of storytelling. Being a bit of a news junkie (at times especially when it comes to true crime) it allows me to “report” the news in a way that isn’t so dry and mundane.
Second, I discovered yet another form of writing called Flash Fiction, which are stories created using 1,000 words or less. I was hooked on this style of storytelling from the moment I was introduced. You have this limited amount of space on a page to engage the reader and every word on the page has to count…matter…mean something. In this era of continuous scrolling and short attention spans it seems like the perfect solution.
Writing AutoMaismatic was rewarding and fun to write – everything from the research to creating the title. Browsing the ‘net one day I came across this listicle about interesting ways people have died. A blurb about a famous Romanian football player and his girlfriend who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while engaging in sexual intercourse caught my attention. I decided to flex my writing chops and give this literary journalism / flash fiction mash-up a try and thus AutoMaismatic came to be. The title is a portmanteau: Automatic + Maisma = AutoMaismatic. Automatic represents the Mercedes the couple were in when they died and Maisma means an unhealthy smell or vapor, which is the carbon monoxide poison that the couple died from.