Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
My work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing program has culminated into a collage form hybrid comprised of vignettes, poetry, and other creative works. The writing engages central themes, through the Queer gaze of the character Sissy. She became suspect at an early age because of her odd aptitudes along with a physical appearance that never fit. She dodged and at times embraced an identification as a sort of side show curiosity, and an intoxicated freak of gender, race, and talent. She survived physical and mental attacks. Then she blindly stepped into the path of a Brooklyn man, whose wake destroyed her, renewed her, and relieved her of the blinding privilege of class. The underlying threads woven through these include a gritty spirituality, a pushing against classifications and identities, and buried histories unearthed. In disillusionment, through forced identities, and while defending against ongoing threats she is shaped into a creative yet practical ghost of sorts. In addition to these foundational stories and themes, the ritual of tea is a connecting consideration.
Some pieces highlight a childhood of drug use in the heartland of Iowa, and the Bible belt states of Kansas and Missouri. At times there is a return to Brooklyn, where a rape instigated for the purpose of restoring Sissy to her straight nature, instead conceived a son. Some of the works are re- envisioned art works that were destroyed or appropriated throughout her life. There are pieces that reexamine her relationship with her mother who died young and high.
It is strangely tragic and yet intends to retain a fairy dust lining. A humbled account of her truths, her motives and her flaws, is meant to inspire a fresh look at constructions and illusions, how we perpetuate them, how we survive them. And how sometimes we perpetuate them in order to survive.
blow; duct; elbow; kansas; piss; souls
Oak, Elee Maybelle, "It’s Not about Brooklyn" (2017). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 3021.