Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
When I began writing Cacophony, I was living in Cairo, Egypt. I had graduated with a double major in both Journalism and English and Comparative Literature and had worked as an editor/journalist at one of Egypt’s leading newspapers, Al-Ahram, under the Middle East Politics beat. To this day, working as a journalist is by far the worst experience of my life. I hated it. Not only because most of the news which fell under my beat was often incredibly grim, but because I felt I was being taught to strip the art out of language, to use language to just relay information. My aesthetic, as I discovered, what I truly wanted was to use language to craft worlds, give voice to characters, offer the reader a refuge as my favorite authors had done for me over the years. I don’t think, when I started writing Cacophony, that I ever imagined I would one day decide to flesh it out into a novel—it had simply been my way to reconnect with the richness of language I had so missed as a journalist.
In the following months, writing Cacophony took on a life of its own, and, also, became a catalyst. I spent just reading and writing, and it was then that I decided literature was what I wanted to do with my life. And, at the risk of sounding sappy and maudlin, I felt incredibly fulfilled. The fact remained, though, that I was a Middle Eastern woman in a Middle Eastern country, who was writing fiction and poetry in English, most of which was about topics and lifestyles considered taboo by Middle Eastern society. So, I began applying to Creative Writing MFA programs to find a venue to do what I loved, and to get better at it. I certainly never expected to get accepted, but I did. And, so, Cacophony lived on.
I didn’t really work on Cacophony much my first year in the program. Rather, it was a process of gestation, of marrying the two disparate worlds of Cairo and Las Vegas into a single, hybrid narrative. I wasn’t even sure Cacophony was necessarily the project I wanted to work on for my dissertation. But, then, I found that everything that I was writing—every short story, or possible start to a novella—I wrote in such a way that it could be used within character narratives in Cacophony. Every time I so much as completed an assignment, I was writing using a voice of some character or another from Cacophony. So, as my professors so often advised, I followed where my own narrative was taking me.
The process of writing Cacophony, however, turned out more challenging than I imagined. I felt (and still feel) like I couldn’t do the plot justice without having eight main characters and eight different points of view which weren’t necessarily in chronological order. This, I learned, was called collage form and, naturally, I devoted time to research the genre/narrative style. From there on, it was both a process of assimilation and of learning how to tell a story as though each word was a paint stroke, without being gratuitous (in my use of language.) Finally, what I found myself left with was what, exactly, it was that I wanted to say.
The manuscript I’m presenting to you here is only two-thirds of a novel, as opposed to a complete one, because I think it would be a disservice to the plot, my characters and Cacophony to try to provide an abrupt, ingenuine ending, instead of give it a little more time to become complete on its own. I definitely believe, at this point, that I know exactly where my work is headed and I hope that I have made that apparent here.
Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing
Elbadry, Noha, "Cacophony" (2017). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 2966.
Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2024