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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

English

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2010

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

GARBAGE, MARBLE, FICTION, RAE, MFA

Abstract

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.

First Advisor

Noy Holland

Second Advisor

Chris Bachelder

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