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Description: What is the boundary between fiction and nonfiction? What happens if the line between the two is crossed? Can we possibly recall events in our lives exactly as they happened? In creative nonfiction, such as memoir, the audience expects the writer to recall things exactly as they happened, with no embellishments, re-ordering, additions, or subtractions. It seems as if authors of creative nonfiction are bound to be questioned about events, nitpicked on details, challenged on memories, and accused of portraying real-life people the "wrong" way. Yet when the writer creates fiction, it seems to go the other way: readers like to think there are parallels between an author and her stories. Readers congratulate themselves for finding the similarities between the two, and instead of focusing on the crafted story at hand, try to search out which parts are "true" and which are embellished. Does any of this matter, though; don't all stories tell a kind of truth? We have an insatiable urge to classify, to "know" the truth, but truth isn't merely a recollection of cold facts; likewise, a story isn't any less true if it's fiction.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Stephens, Cara
Description: This collection consists of a critical preface exploring the similarities between serialized comic books, realist fiction and the author’s own writing. The principle discussion concerns continuity, the connecting tissue between ancillary works of fiction, chronology, the function of time in the narrative of related stories, and the function of characters beyond the stories they inhabit. The stories within the collection revolve around an eccentric ensemble of suburban youth whose demoralized and violent actions are heavily influenced by defining moments of their past.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Bell, C.F. Davis
Description: Unclean Slates: Stories is a collection of seven short stories that comments on the nature of family ties, and how such ties help form a sense of identity. Each story focuses on a separate protagonist, all of whom strive for a new beginning or an escape from some aspect of their current lives. The short story cycle of this collection is held together not by place or characters, but ultimately by the theme of wishing for a new beginning: they share a desire to fix some dissatisfying element of their lives. Mostly from the point of view of blue-collar characters leading mundane middle-class lives, these stories provide commentary on what it means to run from the conditions that make up one's sense of identity. Most of the revelations formed throughout these stories lead to a sense of acceptance of these conditions, and an understanding that family and history make up part of human consciousness. While the specific locations presented in these stories are not necessarily the same, each story seeks to focus on a location that proves to be fundamental to the makeup of the protagonist. The cities and geographic locations themselves are not as important as the specifics: the schools, diners, lakes, and so forth where these characters find themselves contemplating their disillusionment about where their lives have brought them. Facing everything from postpartum depression to simply missing out on a career opportunity, these characters all experience a sense of loss that brings them together in a way that is recognizable to the reader as the collection progresses.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Gollahon, Catherine
Description: The following collection includes three short stories and two essays compiled with a critical preface. “Valentine’s Day” explores the limits of friendship and love in various situations including, two road trips (one fictional and one factual), pet ownership, and the impersonations of Frank Sinatra.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Thornburg, Chrissie
Description: This collection of short stories attempts to examine the role of a changing and often indifferent world has in the way various characters achieve maturity. Though the past is not always obvious in each story, each protagonist is characterized as holding onto some aspect of his or her past life in a way that is detrimental to their growing as human beings. the stories attempt to portray the indifference of the world as it moves forward to the plight of these characters, and to portray the manner in which they each come to terms with such a world and with their own lives.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Wood, Joshua
Description: The Pink Papers is a collection of three short stories and a novel in progress consisting of four chapters. Each piece is a work of original fiction. The preface addresses the female writer and the female voice in fiction. "Broken Clock" and "Pink Paper" are the stories of two girls coping with endometriosis. "Normal Capacity" looks at the loss of a dream through the eyes of a first-year law student. The novel in progress, titled Blanchard, OK, is set in a rural farming town in Oklahoma. The novel tells the stories of 24-year-old Robin, her Aunt Paula, and Paula's boyfriend, Sam.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Blagg, Caroline
Description: This collection of three original short stories is an excerpt from a novel about an East Texas family whose common bond is the need for a second chance. A preface dealing with the use of setting as a character precedes the short stories.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Coleman, Britta M.
Description: I believe that poetry has survived for thousands of years because it provides people with a transpersonal connection that they can't find elsewhere. I look for poetry that is more than an emotional expression, more than witty word play, and more than an interesting observation. I want poetry to give me that inspirational spark, that glimpse into a world beyond my own. Poems that succeed in doing this force me into a perspective that I haven't previously imagined by yoking together two or more seemingly disparate elements. This tension between the old elements and the new link between them creates energy for the poem. This poetic nexus contributes to the transpersonal experience that I seek.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Tyler, William Aldon
Description: This short story collection consists of twenty short fictions and a novella. A preface precedes the collection addressing issues of craft, pedagogy, and the post Program Era literary landscape, with particular attention paid to the need for empathy as an active guiding principle in the writing of fiction.
Date: May 2015
Creator: VandeZande, Zach
Description: This collection of six chapters is an excerpt from a novel based on the book of Job, as told through the viewpoint of a contemporary woman from Texas. A preface exploring the act of starting over, fictionally and creatively, precedes the chapters.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Coleman, Britta
Description: This collection of seven representative original short stories will include four short stories relating to a fictional location in Dallas, the Starry Skies gay country-and-western dance hall. Three short stories set in fabulous, sometimes absurd settings, will follow. A preface dealing with the nature of fictional place and non-fictional place in fiction will precede the collection of short stories.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Gay, Wayne Lee
Description: Pulling Tangled Strings: "The Puppeteer" and Other Stories is a collection of stories with strong thematic and emotional connections that includes an opening preface describing the process used when writing the stories. Each of the stories is united by a main character that desperately wants to gain control of his environment. From a character acting out a classic revenge tale on his friend to a comatose teenager victimized by an ambiguous tragedy, these are characters who have been put into difficult life situations and need to feel like they are pulling the strings in their lives again. In all cases, however, the characters come to find that control does not come easily and that the motivations for their behavior are never clear cut, even to themselves.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Berryman, Archer
Description: Refugees, a novel in progress, begins in the collective first-person with a group of people who live on the same residential street of middle-class homes in an east coast American city and are experiencing the most exquisitely vivid aurora borealis to appear in recorded history. But they quickly learn that this gorgeous wonder is a harbinger of civilization's demise and possibly the end of all life on the planet, because the solar storms causing the sky's fantastic nightly coloring is also slowly stripping away the atmosphere and leeching oxygen into space. This "we" narrative switches to third person, moving between two characters—Julie and Amira—as the narrative moves forward. The first chapter covers the first few months of this apocalyptic crisis, and Julie and Amira are central as they are forced decide if they still have the strength and the will to even attempt survival in these new and brutal circumstances. The second chapter, also told in third person, picks up seventeen years in the future with Aya, Amira's daughter who was six during the initial atmospheric disaster. A small group survived in an underwater refuge, recently discovered the atmosphere above had healed over time, and sent an excursion group, including Aya, to evaluate the changing environment. This chapter reveals the history and particular struggles of these characters living in this complex society, both residual and nascent. The third chapter returns to the group of neighbors—including Julie and Amira—seventeen years prior, immediately following the catastrophic event as their story continues to unfold. This chapter opens, like the first chapter, in the "we" voice, tracing the movement of the group south in a search for help and a desperate, though orderly, effort toward survival. This next phase of their journey introduces fresh conflicts and new characters and points to approaching challenges and ...
Date: December 2016
Creator: Campbell, Erin
Description: These personal essays present a twenty-something's evolving attitudes toward her occupations. Each essay explores a different job-from birthday party clown, to seitan-maker, to psychiatric den mother-while circling around sub-themes of addiction, disability, sex, love, nature, and nourishment (both food and otherwise). Through landscape, extended metaphor and symbol, and recurring characters, the collection addresses how a person's work often defines how she sees the world. Each of the narrator's jobs thrusts her into networks of people and places that both helps and impedes the process of self-discovery. As a whole, the essay collection functions as a memoir, tracking an often-universal journey, one that many undertake in order to discover a meaningful life, and sometimes, eventually, a career.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Keckler, Kristen A.
Description: Some String or Another: Fiction and Nonfiction Stories of Connection, a creative thesis, explores patterns of change in stories from the perspective of connection and disconnection. The preface examines the effects of temporal disconnection, the relationship of conflict and connection to narrative rhythm, and the webs of connection formed during the process of creation. Included in the body of the work are six fiction stories, one metafiction story, and two nonfiction essays.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Salts, Diane Michelle
The Laureates’ Lens: Exposing the Development of Literary History and Literary Criticism From Beneath the Dunce Cap
Description: In this project, I examine the impact of early literary criticism, early literary history, and the history of knowledge on the perception of the laureateship as it was formulated at specific moments in the eighteenth century. Instead of accepting the assessments of Pope and Johnson, I reconstruct the contemporary impact of laureate writings and the writing that fashioned the view of the laureates we have inherited. I use an array of primary documents (from letters and journal entries to poems and non-fiction prose) to analyze the way the laureateship as a literary identity was constructed in several key moments: the debate over hack literature in the pamphlet wars surrounding Elkanah Settle’s The Empress of Morocco (1673), the defense of Colley Cibber and his subsequent attempt to use his expertise of theater in An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740), the consolidation of hack literature and state-sponsored poetry with the crowning of Colley Cibber as the King of the Dunces in Pope’s The Dunciad in Four Books (1742), the fashioning of Thomas Gray and William Mason as laureate rejecters in Mason’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of William Whitehead (1788), Southey’s progressive work to abolish laureate task writing in his laureate odes 1813-1821, and, finally, in Wordsworth’s refusal to produce any laureate task writing during his tenure, 1843-1850. In each case, I explain how the construction of this office was central to the consolidation of literary history and to forging authorial identity in the same period. This differs from the conventional treatment of the laureates because I expose the history of the versions of literary history that have to date structured how scholars understand the laureate, and by doing so, reveal how the laureateship was used to create, legitimate and disseminate the model of literary history we still ...
Date: December 2015
Creator: Moore, Lindsay Emory
Description: When I was thirty-three years old, I discovered I was an adoptee. In this memoir of secrecy and love, betrayal and redemption, I reflect on my early experiences as a doted-on only child firmly rooted in the abundant love of my adoptive family, my later struggles with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, my marriage to a fellow-adoptee, my discovery of my own adoption and the subsequent reunion with my birth family, my navigation through the thrills and tensions of newly complicated family dynamics, and my witness to God's perfect timing through it all.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Rizzo, Steven
Description: A collection of three, interwoven short stories set in Japantown, San Francisco and the Topaz Internment Camp in central Utah during World War II. The pieces in this collection feature themes of cultural identity and the reconstruction of personal identity in times of change and crisis. Collection includes the stories "Moving Sale," "Evacuation," and "Resettlement."
Date: December 2009
Creator: Churchill, Amanda Gann
Description: This dissertation examines the role of stage properties-props, slangily-in the construction and expression of characters' identities. Through readings of both canonical and non-canonical drama written between 1600 and 1707-for example, Thomas Middleton's The Revenger's Tragedy (1607), Edward Ravenscroft's adaptation of Titus Andronicus (1678), Aphra Behn's The Rover (1677), and William Wycherley's The Plain Dealer (1677)-I demonstrate how props mediate relationships between people. The control of a character's props often accords a person control of the character to whom the props belong. Props consequently make visual the relationships of power and subjugation that exist among characters. The severed body parts, bodies, miniature portraits, and containers of these plays are the mechanisms by which characters attempt to differentiate themselves from others. The characters deploy objects as proof of their identities-for example, when the women in Behn's Rover circulate miniatures of themselves-yet other characters must also interpret these objects. The props, and therefore the characters' identities, are at all times vulnerable to misinterpretation. Much as the props' meanings are often disputed, so too are characters' private identities often at odds with their public personae. The boundaries of selfhood that the characters wish to protect are made vulnerable by the objects that they use to shore up those boundaries. When read in relation to the characters who move them, props reveal the negotiated process of individuation. In doing so, they emphasize the correlation between extrinsic and intrinsic worth. They are a measure of how well characters perform gender and class rolls, thereby demonstrating the importance of external signifiers in the legitimation of England's subjects, even as they expose "legitimacy" as a social construction.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Bender, Ashley Brookner
Description: The four stories in this collection follow different, yet strikingly similar, protagonists who are facing crossroads in life. These stories include memories and specific scenes from the past that combine with scenes from the present to trace the development of the characters.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Rose, John
Description: Male or female, young or old, the characters of this collection inhabit a liminal space of trauma and social dislocation in which elements of the real and fabulous coexist in equal measure. The ghosts that populate the stories are as much the ghosts of the living, as they are the ghosts of the dead. They represent individual conscience and an inescapable connection to the past.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Jacobs, Emily
Description: The collection concerns itself with race, gender, masculinity, marginalization, the act of violence as a means of self expression, identity and the performance of identity, love, and loss. The collection also uses historical events-more specifically, events that are central to black culture in Northeast, Ohio- to situate the characters and witness their response to these historical events. I strive to illustrate blackness as both political and fragmented with the characters in my collection. My characters believe that what they are doing-exacting violence, abusing women, disrespecting each other- is somehow the normative; that somehow what it is that they have learned is how they should perform black identity.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Hoey, Danny M., Jr.
Description: Investigating elements of the creative process in the work of three poets: James Wright, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, and Pegeen Kelly. Each poet deploys a different method for access to those experiences that lie at the edge of accessible language. Each method is discussed and its deployment illustrated. Wright leads us from the sensory world to the supersensual. Schnackenberg makes use of the formal device of the fairy tale. Kelly immerses in the logic of dreams. Drawing on Elaine Scarry's theory of the imagination, the case is made that the poetic act is a dialectic between the poet and the sensory world, in which perception and imagination are equally important.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Sweeney, Mark
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