First Advisor

Paul Collins

Date of Publication

Winter 3-13-2014

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing






Self-realization -- Oregon -- Portland, Transformative learning -- Oregon -- Portland, Communal living -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 246 pages)


A Thirst for Moretakes the reader on a journey into self-development culture around Portland, Oregon. The author attends events devoted to personal growth to try to understand how this culture shapes our lives and the way we think. Along the way, she encounters psychics, mystics, an alleged cult leader, and seekers and self-reinventors of all stripes. As participants in this culture work to build their own philosophies and define their own spirituality, they also create their own communities--intentionally and otherwise. These communities form the heart of this exploration. Chapters 1 and 2 explore the spontaneous communities that arise during afternoon events in which participants pay for goods, services, and information pertaining to personal growth and spirituality. Chapter 3 delves into a sacred art and music festival in which participants gather outdoors for a handful of days in the hopes of connecting with each other and transforming themselves--and society--in the process. The final chapters explore the lives of two communities. In Chapter 4, a woman devotes her life to starting up an eco-village in the foothills of Mt. Hood. In Chapter 5, the author visits a 41-year-old commune in which residents and visitors have abandoned former lives in their search for meaning, fulfillment, belonging, and a place to call home.

As the author questions others about their beliefs, she begins to question her own. Why do we believe what we believe?


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This thesis is only available to students, faculty and staff at PSU.

Persistent Identifier