First Advisor

Gabriel Urza

Date of Publication

Spring 7-11-2018

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

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






Short stories



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, 89 pages)


"Discount Ceremony" explores characters who find themselves in adrift states, searching for meaning and connection. Elements of magical realism present themselves in reflection of emotion and theme. Many of the characters within this collection are grappling with feelings of stagnancy, seeking solace and transcendence within small moments of intimacy. In "Dirt", a lonely office worker seeks comfort in the form of a new pet, which happens to be a pile of dirt. In "Static," a woman in stasis discovers a mysterious tree growing in her closet. In "Jane Untitled," the character of Jane grapples with a fear of aging while dealing with perpetually wet parents and a disappearing boyfriend. In "Discount Ceremony," Jacey tries to cope with relentlessly greasy hair while seeking happiness and intimacy in the small scope of her daily life. "The Sister" finds Jason encountering a pseudo-family member who brings comfort despite the lack of biological relation. In "The Melamorphosis," Mason's body transforms into that of his girlfriend Mel, prompting a re-examination of selfhood and their relationship. "At a Bar in Texas" explores the empty spaces Carson's life has come to involve as she ponders the importance of her new braces. In "HAZMAT," Maggie is haunted by her use of humor as a shield, and experiences increasing alienation when her world starts fading out. In "Mute," a radio DJ discovers a skull in her laundry basket, leading to a downward spiral of identity erosion. "The Cactuses are Turning Gray" involves Penny trying to cope with life in a decaying world, seeking connection through Dane, her only neighbor. Finally, in "Travis in Hollywood," Travis finds his world slowly unraveling as his best friend ascends to stardom, leaving him feeling disconnected from the elements of life he finds meaning in.


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