Award Date

8-1-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Committee Member

Maile Chapman

Second Committee Member

Richard Wiley

Third Committee Member

Darlene Unrue

Fourth Committee Member

Michelle Tusan

Number of Pages

246

Abstract

Growing up in a rural, Appalachian town, I recognized that tight-lipped doggedness was a mark of strength. As a writer, I became intrigued by how I might portray people whose defining attributes were silence, how essentially to give voice to voicelessness. The answer for me was to begin exploring place as an origin of inner expression. The stories in Going Anywhere track people moving through the landscape, their journeys, often destinationless, traversing the space between life's dark realities and the fantastic leaps of faith we all make to survive. A father seeks out a way to deal with the unexpected death of his daughter, a heroin-addicted mother kidnaps her own son to teach him about beauty, expectant parents wrestle with their own doubt, and a boy learns how to support his mother in the wake of a divorce. But beneath the human struggle is a prevailing sense of wonder--a public pool with miraculous properties, a church that requires its parishioners to carry the plasticized hands of corpses, a dog at a gas station with insight about a man's marital indiscretions, and a worldwide epidemic of ghosts. Connecting them all is the journey: people traveling in search of solace, insight, clarity, and purpose, gathering up their own lives into discernible pieces of fact and conviction in the hopes of getting it right.

Keywords

Short stories

Disciplines

American Literature | Creative Writing | Fiction

Language

English


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