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New Memoir Explores Form and Meaning

English Reading Series author reflects on breaking into a new genre.

Writing enables authors to look introspectively at the outside world. Author Eric Freeze reflected on this at the October 14 installment of the English Reading Series.

Freeze read from his most recent publication, French Dive: Living More with Less in the South of France, which explores how humans live together in the world. The inspiration for the book came when the Canadian-born author moved from Indiana to France with his wife and children. Not long after the move, Freeze knew he wanted to write about their experiences trying to integrate respectfully into their new community.

Cover image for the novel French Dive

French Dive is Freeze’s first foray into long-form
creative nonfiction, which allowed him to experiment with writing in a new genre since his previous works were essays and short stories. Freeze read from a chapter titled “Mystery Girl” that details how he tried to reunite a lost GoPro with its owner. The chapter reflects on social issues, family, and living abroad—blending those larger concepts with Freeze’s day-to-day life and attempts to locate Mystery Girl (the owner of the GoPro). The other chapters in Freeze’s book follow that same vein of contemplation, analysis, and imagination.

Freeze’s experiments with form and genre inspired attendees at the English Reading Series lecture. For aspiring writers wanting to break into a new genre, Freeze advised they “read widely in that genre.”

The author’s experiences living abroad also prompted an audience member to ask how Freeze writes about foreign things in familiar ways. Freeze noted that the familiar aspects of his life in France are what he focused on most. “I wanted to write more about my kids’ soccer clubs, the butcher, or the fish I find.” The ease with which Freeze writes about his everyday experiences creates relatable and meaningful stories.

For writers wanting to write about common experiences in creative ways, Freeze alternatively encouraged attendees to examine their everyday lives through a creative lens and to “defamiliarize the familiar.” He said, “You can write about anything in a way that is compelling to readers.”

To learn more about Freeze’s work, visit his website, www.ericfreeze.com.