First Advisor

Leni Zumas

Date of Publication

Spring 7-24-2017

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

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






Place (Philosophy)



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, 81 pages)


This thesis is the beginning of a larger memoir project. I'm using what some would call a collage form of memory-based writing to focus on one year of my life in 1984. The nonlinear nature of the form reflects the era of the piece, a time of instability and change, and it helped me test Jay Ponteri's advice: "Don't reach for memory; let memory reach for you." In this thesis, the narrator is allowed to not know what he's doing. At times, his only job is to listen intently and follow the sound.

Music is central to my thesis, as it was to the era I'm writing about. I use music to process emotion and to describe the ineffable. And music is often my way into memory, a more poetic route that encourages me to "proceed with abandon," as Antonin Artaud urged, revealing the unexpected connections that lead me to meaning.

With this piece of writing, I'm exploring the theme of finding a sense of place, both in the world and within one's self. I circle death, loss, belonging and authority, in order to find my own sense of authority and voice.


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

Persistent Identifier