Award Date

May 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Committee Member

Maile Chapman

Second Committee Member

Megan Becker-Leckrone

Third Committee Member

Anne Stevens

Fourth Committee Member

Danielle Roth-Johnson

Number of Pages



I began writing my thesis about my grandmother, who lived out the last few years of her life as a new age healer speaking in tongues and believing she was the channel for an ancient Lemurian shaman. We were not close until the very end of her life, and even then I felt far away from her. Not in the least because of her estrangement with the rest of my family. I tried and tried to write about her but always ran up against her mystery. She was not a woman many knew, and if you did know her, you knew only a version of her. I would also argue she was not a woman who knew herself very well. I found that I could not adequately write about her because she is still too unknown to me. My interest in her is rooted in some ways in our similarities. We are both impulsive, restless, anxious, and addicted to love. If I cannot write about my grandmother, the logical next step is to become known to myself. All of my writing is in service of better understanding the way I interact with the world. More often than not, I am scared and I am in love. I cannot remember a time in which I was unburdened by either intense emotion. I do not understand attachment that is not edged with fear, or completely enshrouded in it. I do not understand love that is not intense and transformative. These essays, which need significant tightening as well as a consistent throughline, seek to understand my fear as it is related to my desire to attach, and vice versa. I aim to do this through unpacking the implied violence of a neighbor and my desire to draw nearer to other people’s pain in order to quell my own, to find peace in unresolved feelings about my body, whether it be from a place of body dysmorphia or gender dysphoria, and most basically, to understand the role of visibility in love, and in particular, in queer love. I feel strongly we are due for an unabashed defense of romantic love, one that does not seek to place it above other forms of love, but acknowledges the obsession and fearful desire that often shapes it and to defend the longing for it anyways. I want my work to comment on the ways in which fear can be both a barrier and catalyst to empathy, as well as a deeper kind of love. I began this project in hopes of creating a series of linked personal narratives. Narratives that fit tightly together under a single organizing theme. This is not what I accomplished. Instead, my understanding of why I write and what I write about has expanded and now inhabits a more convoluted space, but one that I believe will narrow again, approaching something that offers a bit more concision and clarity of self. This manuscript attempts to blend personal narrative with light critical/literary theory in hopes of understanding my subject—intense attachment—through as many lenses as possible. The last three pieces I’ve included are an attempt at criticism, a way of understanding my own alienation through the work of writers I admire. I’m particularly interested in the ways that queer theory influences my work. I read a lot of queer theory. I live it daily, in my low theory ways. When things are toughest, I want to shirk subjectivity. I find it difficult to write personally and instead I want to reach into other people’s lives, other people’s obsessions. I’ve come to see the reviews I’ve written not as a detour to my personal work, but as a vehicle that allows me to draw closer to a center. When I think of the romantic love I’ve known, I cannot separate it from what I’ve learned reading Annie Ernaux. When I struggle to feel aligned with my body, I think of Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark. I had hoped to complete a first draft of a book manuscript during my time at UNLV. This is the prewriting of what I hope will someday become a book.


attachment; gender; loneliness; love; queer


Creative Writing

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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