Title

False Starts: A Collection of Stories

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English and Theatre

First Advisor

Nancy Jensen

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Abstract

The thesis project is a collection of short stories. Their loose thematic connection is that of the mental states of distress and illness like loneliness, frustration, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and hallucinations. Most of the stories follow a magically real or surreal tone. The stories focus on the interior lives of my characters and how they navigate the troubles of mental distress. The text destigmatizes mental illness while portraying it in real ways that aren’t sensationalized.

There are nine stories. The purpose is to explore the relation of an individual to their world when the individual is distressed by their mind. The distress acts like a lens through which they explore their world and either directly or indirectly try and solve their distress so that they can live a more fulfilling life. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they cause worse trouble for themselves. Some characters have successfully managed it for years and others are only more recently plagued by their mind or their relationship to the world.

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