Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Committee Member

Maile Chapman

Second Committee Member

Douglas Unger

Third Committee Member

Julia Lee

Fourth Committee Member

Brandon Manning

Number of Pages



“Stay Brave My Hercules” is a collection of nine original short stories separated into two sections: “Stay Brave My Hercules” and “Matsuri”.

In the first section, “Stay Brave My Hercules”, I explore the themes of hypermasculinity, loneliness, and insecurity, in particular the points in which they intersect. These stories are narrated by different male characters between the ages of seventeen and twenty-seven and who all struggle in different ways to conform to masculine norms.

In the second section, “Matsuri”, I explore the themes of family, loss, and devastation through the eyes of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans during World War II. In these stories, magical realism plays a heavy role in defining familial relationships and providing a means for which love and loyalty can be expressed.

Mostly, I wanted to create compelling characters: characters who we can identify with, characters who long and love and hurt in the same ways we do, characters who stay with us after we’ve forgotten the story, characters who become so real that we wake up in the morning and wonder if they had slept well. This is what I attempt to achieve in creating this manuscript. This is why I write.


Loneliness; Masculinity; Sexuality


Creative Writing



Available for download on Thursday, August 15, 2024