Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Marcia Douglas

Second Advisor

Elisabeth Sheffield

Third Advisor

John-Michael Rivera

Abstract

When I joined the Creative Writing program at CU Boulder during the fall of 2007, the only end in my mind was to learn how to write, and to do it well. I wanted to tell a story and as simply as possible. Saying that I want or wanted to tell a story, the story, as simply as possible, is not to insinuate aversion to the more experimental forms of story telling. It is to reiterate my belief in the simplicity of the singular word that never misses its mark. Some might consider that- the conventional method of story telling, to be non-adventurous, non-experimental and they are right in their own way. But sometimes, often times, `the story' gets lost in the myriad of experimental fiction. I enjoy mixed media works of fiction- comic books, graphic novels, dialogues superimposed upon real life snapshots, the occasional tastefully placed illustration or space in between dense writings, which usher in fresh air, and more. Space is good, except when half the page is empty, which to me suggests laziness and not so much experimenting with space. What I don't like are glitters all over the page, on a page that says "Glitters" and has absolutely no relevance to the text. That is redundant. Good stories do not need to be superfluous. The word, language, is what I am looking for in a book, and on the page, not sparkles. Writing for me is a personal, intimate process. I like to know everything about my characters- the bright red mole beside the right nipple, sweat that smells like carp, pregnant bellies like cardamom pods. These are the details, some of them, that bring my characters to life. And as my characters live their lives, I transcribe it into language. Relationships are more real to me than anything else and that is what I strive to capture in my stories- the essence of relationships and the players caught in the complexities of their environment. My process starts with the singular word. I sleep and arise with it each morning. It lives with me and torments me till I sit down and write it on a piece of paper. Then it just lies there on that otherwise barren whiteness, lounging till I fill in the emptiness with meaning, giving it purpose. Sometimes it is just a word, other times a phrase or a sentence. I pick these up when I am least expecting them- in a can of red kidney beans, in a flash of magenta, the sparkly angel (sparkles do have some use), on the top of the Christmas tree, a tram ride, in burnt food, uneven tones of skin, old sepia toned photographs falling apart, peeling away at the edges, the simple task of peeling potatoes, salty onion tears mixed with a runny nose, and in the last crumble of the chocolate brownie. Some times the word gets lost. Often times they stay in the peripheries, while I weave the story on the empty sheet, that otherwise mocks.

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