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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
GARBAGE, MARBLE, FICTION, RAE, MFA
I’m interested in writing stories that make me as author disappear. A little. I’d like for my stories to unravel themselves while I sit just barely visible, maybe on a porch across the street. I’m also interested in playing with unusual phrases and syntax to achieve authentic voice in my stories. This sets up a conflict because while I want to develop small, fairly simple stories, I also value some language trickery, which might come off as authorial. I want nuanced voices that don’t feel editorialized. I want the stories to be authentic in an off-putting way. My biggest challenge has been monkeying with language in ways I find interesting while still maintaining a cool distance. It feels like training a service dog without getting sentimental. I like these problems though. I like the tiptoe-ing. My goal is to be able to drop readers in the middle of a situation: childhood, a factory, the grieving process, and carry them through it, without them knowing I’m there, without having to rely on explanations of characters’ thoughts, their motives. I am drawn to stories with little exposition. As a reader, I like making my discoveries through characters, how they navigate the world. I like to read stories that are revelatory in an interesting way – without having to be told outright how a life got so raw, or why lying can be the greatest relief, or how come it’s heartbreaking to see up close how much makeup a woman wears. I’ve heard this advice over the years: “Write what you know.” I’ve tried this with dull results. I’ve decided that I disagree. I’m working to write more stories about lives, jobs, concepts, illnesses, joys and sadnesses that I don’t know. I like trying on the other: a housewife, a man, a teen, a liar, someone forgotten. By writing what I don’t know, I want to stir up the reader, deliver something familiar yet jarring.