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Can You See Me?: Stories to Fight Erasure

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There has been a recent push for queer fiction, especially in the young adult genre, whose focus is gay and lesbian relationships. This growth is much needed in terms of visibility and the furthering of acceptance, but there are still

There has been a recent push for queer fiction, especially in the young adult genre, whose focus is gay and lesbian relationships. This growth is much needed in terms of visibility and the furthering of acceptance, but there are still subjects within the LGBTQ+ community that need to be addressed, including bisexual, asexual, and non-binary erasure. There are many people who claim that these identities do not exist, are labels used as a stepping stone on one's journey to discovering that they are homosexual, or are invented excuses for overtly promiscuous or prudish behavior. The existence of negative stereotypes, particularly those of non-binary individuals, is largely due to a lack of visibility and respectful representation within media and popular culture. However, there is still a dearth of non-binary content in popular literature outside of young adult fiction. Can You See Me? aims to fill the gap in bisexual, asexual, and non-binary representation in adult literature. Each of the four stories that make up this collection deals with an aspect of gender and/or sexuality that has been erased, ignored, or denied visibility in American popular culture. The first story, "We'll Grow Lemon Trees," examines bisexual erasure through the lens of sociolinguistics. A bisexual Romanian woman emigrates to Los Angeles in 1989 and must navigate a new culture, learn new languages, and try to move on from her past life under a dictatorship where speaking up could mean imprisonment or death. The second story "Up, Down, All Around," is about a young genderqueer child and their parents dealing with microaggressions, examining gender norms, and exploring personal identity through imaginary scenarios, each involving an encounter with an unknown entity and a colander. The third story, "Aces High," follows two asexual characters from the day they're born to when they are 28 years old, as they find themselves in pop culture. The two endure identity crises, gender discrimination, erasure, individual obsessions, and prejudice as they learn to accept themselves and embrace who they are. In the fourth and final story, "Mile Marker 72," a gay Mexican man must hide in plain sight as he deals with the death of his partner and coming out to his best friend, whose brother is his partner's murderer.

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2018-05

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The Menagerie: A collection of short fiction

Description

This project consists of five short stories in varying genres, all leaning towards the fantastic. "Wood Devils" (Honorable Mention in the 2018 Swarthout Awards in Writing) attempts to explore the absurdity and pain in long-running family conflicts, as well as

This project consists of five short stories in varying genres, all leaning towards the fantastic. "Wood Devils" (Honorable Mention in the 2018 Swarthout Awards in Writing) attempts to explore the absurdity and pain in long-running family conflicts, as well as the sense of isolation that comes from living in hard-to-reach places. "The Green Man's Daughter" investigates the boundary between the fantastical and the everyday by using the Other as a viewpoint, and underscores the importance of speaking out in a confusing and sometimes frightening world. "Maleficis ex Machina" attempts to look at community violence, mishandled technology, and intergenerational conflict by taking the collision between the fantastic and suburban to an even greater degree than the previous piece. "Probation" sits at a crossroads between bureaucracy and corporatization, and looks at the benefits of finding a middle ground between Heaven and Hell. "For a Crown" dramatizes the only partially-successful attempt in history at stealing the crown jewels from the Tower of London, and Charles II's inexplicable pardoning of the thief. Although the stories do not intersect (shared names and an abundance of cats notwithstanding), they all focus on the barrier between the mundane and the extraordinary. Just how porous that boundary may be is, as always, uncertain.

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2018-05

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An ACME Analysis: What Wile E. Coyote Can Teach About Character Creation

Description

Drawing on existing scholarship as well as primary analytical materials, the research within this report demonstrates Wile E. Coyote's character is reliant on human connectivity and is evocative of the human condition, reflecting his disciplined and stylized design he possesses.

Drawing on existing scholarship as well as primary analytical materials, the research within this report demonstrates Wile E. Coyote's character is reliant on human connectivity and is evocative of the human condition, reflecting his disciplined and stylized design he possesses. Comprised of literary, film/media, and rhetorical elements, this report illustrates how Wile E. is an individual whose character holds various influences that provide dimensionality to his existence. The research within this report is both primary and secondary through observational recordings about the cartoons Wile E. appears in and through thorough analysis of texts elaborating on the elements comprising Wile E.'s character. Primary research from the initial observational recordings provides direction for the secondary research after viewing multiple cartoons and films containing Wile E. Coyote in his Warner Brothers Studios appearances and noting unique moments in his cinematic career. The notes from this viewing of Wile E. in his natural "habitat" drive the secondary research to focus on specific aspects of Wile E.'s character through the analysis of supporting texts which ultimately leads to the findings within this report. Research in the fields of literature, film/media studies, and rhetoric shape the analysis of Wile E.'s character as this report studies the various components compiled within the cartoon coyote. As a multifaceted individual, Wile E. illustrates a complexity within a stylized character that allows viewers to connect to his plights and to identify with his struggles. Through his emulative form, Wile E. embodies vital elements of character creation that allow him to become a memorable and prominent character that resonates in viewers and artists. From Wile E. Coyote's example, future generations of story tellers, regardless of their medium, can learn how to create similarly iconic and timeless characters within their works. Such stories can then contribute significant additions to popular narrative and characterization.

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2018-05

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The Autobiography of a Mary Sue

Description

The Autobiography of a Mary Sue is the fictional autobiography of a fanfiction author, detailing her experiences in fandom and how they made her into her ‘more perfect’ aka more realized, modern self.

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Date Created
2019-05

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The Way Home

Description

The Way Home is a full-length young adult novel. The story is split between the perspectives of Theo and Ella, best friends from high school who are starting their freshman year in college. Neither is extremely excited about the start

The Way Home is a full-length young adult novel. The story is split between the perspectives of Theo and Ella, best friends from high school who are starting their freshman year in college. Neither is extremely excited about the start of the new phase of their lives; Theo struggles with severe anxiety and is just hoping to survive the four years; and dark memories in Ella's past don't seem to want to let her start over. A series of murders happening in town don't help their nerves at all, making it hard to focus on the "college experience." They were supposed to be there for each other... But then Ella goes missing, and Theo is left without a clue of where she went. While he searches for her desperately, she wakes up miles away from home, surrounded by strangers. In their efforts to find one another again, they instead find themselves presented with opportunities to study the impossible: magic. Things become stranger and stranger as murders, magic, police investigations, and ever-looming final exams begin to challenge Theo and Ella in ways they never expected. In writing this novel, I hoped to depict the transition from high school to college and the worries and wonders that come with it. The story is almost split directly in half, beginning with normal school life and shifting into the world of magic. The conflicts presented to the characters during the first half, such as grades, majors, and socializing, persist throughout the second half, but are also metaphorized once the characters begin studying magic. I chose to include a protagonist with an anxiety disorder because I believe mental disabilities are not represented enough in YA literature, though it is something that many high school and college students deal with. I wanted to create a character that could inform others and that students with similar mental disorders could relate to. Additional themes I deal with include newfound independence, individuality, growth, and friendship.

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Date Created
2017-12

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Promoting Diversity in Children's Literature Through Creative Writing

Description

In an effort to combat the lack of diversity in Children's Literature, this project displays a piece of literature titled Stories & Stages: A Tale of Two Sisters, in the form of a children's chapter book for a middle grade

In an effort to combat the lack of diversity in Children's Literature, this project displays a piece of literature titled Stories & Stages: A Tale of Two Sisters, in the form of a children's chapter book for a middle grade audience. Focusing on characters of a Hispanic background without relying on stereotypes or false characterizations, the novel works to inspire young minds and reflect a true representation of the world children are living in. This is done using research on different aspects of Children's Literature, including: the definition of children's literature, diversity, girlhood, and sibling relationships. This research provides the basis for the project, as does personal experience and background. Following the novel is a recording of the background research involved and a documentations of the creative process. Keywords: Children's Literature, Diversity

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Date Created
2017-12

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The Half-Open Pomegranate

Description

"The Half-Open Pomegranate" is a collection of four short stories based on Armenian characters balancing their cultural identity with their national identity in the Diaspora. The image of the half-open pomegranate is a symbol of what Armenia has become. The

"The Half-Open Pomegranate" is a collection of four short stories based on Armenian characters balancing their cultural identity with their national identity in the Diaspora. The image of the half-open pomegranate is a symbol of what Armenia has become. The pomegranate, which is the motherland, was ripped open during the Genocide of 1915. Her seeds have scattered all over the globe, sprouting new communities which are still thriving to this day. As William Saroyan once said, "For when two [Armenians] meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a new Armenia." The titles of my stories are the names of the protagonists, or "seeds" of the pomegranate. My first story, "Dr. Balian," is written about a thirty-something-year-old physician who struggles with doing what is best for herself, even if it means being the subject of hearsay. "Razmik" is a story about a teenage boy who copes with grief-related anxiety, and learns the importance of his place in the Diaspora. "Sarkis" is written from the perspective of a Vietnam veteran whose drunken perspective about regret and forgiveness touches lightly on the idea of reconciliation between the Armenians and the Turks. My last story "Noor" is written from the perspective of a young girl who struggles upholding the demands of her culture while pursuing her dream of becoming a pilot, an unconventional path for an Armenian female. Each of these stories embodies the strength of the Armenian people, who are more than just victims of Genocide. They are fruitful, resilient, and indestructible.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Playing the Changes: Four Stories of Music, Death, and the Unknown

Description

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned,

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned, may still be alive and hidden by estranged family? Generations may pass, and children may grow up, but the pain leaves marks that echo across time and the other borders we construct between our past and present. We may find strength on solitude, or prayer, or the words of a song written by someone else. In these four stories, spanning almost half a century, the marks of death and attempts to soothe or hide them are everywhere. Children on the cusp of adulthood grapple with the lives and the lies of their parents. Musicians examine the relationship of their music to the world. Legends and myths lurk in the shadows, tempting with false hope and rationalizing the unexplainable.
In “Playing the Changes,” we meet two men stranded in a small desert town in 1972, a time when their attraction to each other is still dangerous. Nile Walker is a jazz musician, running from a spurned lover and the law. Benji Garza is a once-devout Catholic, fixing cars and caring for his orphaned nephew, Hector. Walker and Garza’s affair will spin both lives and their heredity into sweeping tragedies that characters battle with lust and melody. Walker has a son he never meets, a drifter who finds connection with another lost soul at an airport in “La Petite Mort.” Hector is forced into early adulthood in “The Words,” when his ailing uncle’s health fails due to a mysterious disease not yet called AIDS. Later Tre—a young man struggling with the weight of his own lineage—meets him in “PHX.” These stories examine questions of death’s causes and its myriad effects, and offer this solution: Knowing that we cannot know everything, and living, loving, and singing anyway.

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Date Created
2016-05

Erosion: A Collection of Poems

Description

Erosion: A Collection of Poems consists of ten prose poems that explore the processing of trauma through a single lens. We follow the work’s main character as she navigates recovery following a medical trauma in Peru from which she ought

Erosion: A Collection of Poems consists of ten prose poems that explore the processing of trauma through a single lens. We follow the work’s main character as she navigates recovery following a medical trauma in Peru from which she ought to have died. The pieces challenge the readers to immerse themselves within her narrative to understand the isolation that trauma ushers in, as she struggles to know her own newfound aloneness.

While the poems illustrate the complexity of one’s experience with both PTSD and its stages of recovery (e.g., emergency, numbness, intrusive/repetitive, integration), they are anchored in the sensory, the concrete. Amidst the terror of the symptoms at the most basic, raw level, she attempts to reclaim selfhood, which involves wrestling with philosophical suicide, reconciling realities, numbness and the widening of a barrier, stunning intimacies, the craving to feel, and both the desire and the need to connect authentically without being able to satiate such inclinations.

Influenced by the works of Frank Bidart, Claudia Rankine, James Longenbach, and Carolyn Forché, the pieces rely heavily upon rhythm and spacing, imagery, and associative linkages throughout the work to craft a sense of physical, intellectual, and emotional movement within the space.

The collection focuses upon the narrative of one survivor of trauma, and though traumas may be experienced differently, and while PTSD may manifest itself in profoundly diverse ways, the pieces aim to capture the shared foundation of the experience — the isolation and the pure, unadulterated pain — in order to cast a universal veil onto the exploration, providing the audience with insight into one of trauma’s most important facets.

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Date Created
2016-05