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Me and the Suicides: A Novella

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In my experience as a reader, depictions of depression or suicidal ideation in fiction are most often conveyed through social realism or otherwise realistically grounded writing. This makes sense given the subject matter, as one would intuitively think to depict

In my experience as a reader, depictions of depression or suicidal ideation in fiction are most often conveyed through social realism or otherwise realistically grounded writing. This makes sense given the subject matter, as one would intuitively think to depict mental or emotional trauma in a very sobering way, but I felt that one could merge the topic with a more absurdist, magical realist-inspired style while staying reverent to the emotional experience. I also find that stories that approach their subtext too seriously can stray very easily into plain didacticism, as opposed to a work that tries to entertain first. I concluded that conveying the experience of isolation and depression through metaphor would be the most emotionally rewarding or enlightening experience for the reader. The central premise of the story is, to me, a metaphor; a young man isolated from society, and haunted by past experiences, who comes to be literally haunted by ghosts with similar experiences. From that starting point I wanted to explore the perspectives of several of the ghosts in a multiple-protagonist format, structuring the present-day storyline around the flashbacks of three of the ghosts. I wanted each of the ghosts' backstories to present a kind of variation on the larger cultural "depression narrative", with some of them perhaps being more recognizable cultural symbols (such as Kryz in the role of the traumatized former soldier), but all being shown in specific, idiosyncratic ways. The content of each ghost's storyline came, again, from thinking of ways to metaphorically represent their particular emotional issues; Sarah, for example, literally has no shadow in a world of people with shadows, while Kryz's job on a film set full of artifice may mirror the artificiality that he sees in everyday interaction. These flashbacks making up the bulk of the narrative puts the ostensible lead character, Officer, in a backseat-narrator position a la Nick in The Great Gatsby, with the ghosts' experiences also working to inform his emotional status. I feel that the form of a work of fiction should reflect the nature of its content in some way, and given that my subject matter is mental illness, it made sense to me to arrange the various stories in a fragmented fashion, taking inspiration from authors like Thomas Pynchon and Irvine Welsh, as well as the non-fiction book A Brief Introduction to Madness. Finally, I wanted to convey a sense of absurdity in the events of the story, again taking influence from these authors. In my experience and observation, depression and mania are often responses to a world that makes little sense, from people unable to cope with the reality around them. I feel this goes hand-in-hand with an absurdist view of the world, and hopefully the unrealistic details of these stories, and the way character treat them as normal, should convey a sense of bafflement for the reader.

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2017-12

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Paraprosdokian: A Short Story Collection

Description

Paraprosdokian is a collection of stories about all different types of lives in Phoenix, AZ. There are several stories that work together, involving lonely teenagers at punk house shows, while the rest standalone: the eclectic interactions of a waiter at

Paraprosdokian is a collection of stories about all different types of lives in Phoenix, AZ. There are several stories that work together, involving lonely teenagers at punk house shows, while the rest standalone: the eclectic interactions of a waiter at a 24-hour diner, a blind fair ride operator with a propensity for accidental murder, a hapless son of a clumsy dental assistant, a literary scholar stuck in an addiction to both Kafka and pornography, a kid who learns that writing is not a formula, and a high school death that nobody cares about. Some pieces unfold parts of 21st century culture that have been knotted in ambivalence, like how men raised on pornography reconcile with intimacy, while others are as simple as trying to encapsulate the experience of growing up in what is often perceived as an artless suburbia. The project aims at mixing prose with photography to create, as Ben Lerner describes it, “a constellation of language and image”—a complete artistic product. Using the work of a local Arizona photographer, the collection complicates a reader’s elementary notion of a “picture book” by forcing the reader to view photographs beyond exposition or symbolism. The title of the collection comes from a term used in comedic rhetoric that refers to a figure of speech in which the latter part of a statement or phrase reorients one’s understanding of the whole. Under this definition, the collection seeks to amend its author and reader’s orientation to Phoenix in a quest for empathy, giving pathetic characters a chance to speak without ever sacrificing a touch of humorous joy.

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2018-05

Elektralite: A Novella

Description

Elektralite: A Novella is a creative project that documents the life and happenings of Lana Elektra, a young multi-million dollar heiress living in New York City. In the novella, Lana has found herself a little restless as a result of

Elektralite: A Novella is a creative project that documents the life and happenings of Lana Elektra, a young multi-million dollar heiress living in New York City. In the novella, Lana has found herself a little restless as a result of having so much money and time on her hands. Through trying to keep herself occupied, Lana meets a boy named Connor who attends college in the city. The two develop a dysfunctional relationship concerning emotions, money, and power. Connor begins to get incredibly comfortable with Lana's lifestyle, particularly the drug culture, while Lana begins to question her identity and the life created for her on account of her wealth and status. Both are forced to evaluate what they want in their lives and what lengths they are willing to go to in order to get it. Themes tackled within the novella include wealth, greed, identity, the nature of love, and the American Dream. Lana and Connor represent two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the American Dream, as one who was literally born in to the Dream and another who is working towards the Dream and desperately craves it. The characterization of Connor also comments on the nature of the American college system, and the debt that students accumulate in pursuit of an education. The novella is roughly 114 pages in length and has 8 chapters. The story is told in 3rd person perspective, mostly focusing on Lana but also spending some time on Connor's perspective as well.

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Date Created
2016-05

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(Re)memories of Slavery: An Examination of the Traumatic Past,Present, and Future Depicted in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Description

The application of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a lens through which one can analyze intergenerational trauma on an individual and communal level results in a blueprint towards a remedial process. The characters and their experiences in her novel are representative

The application of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a lens through which one can analyze intergenerational trauma on an individual and communal level results in a blueprint towards a remedial process. The characters and their experiences in her novel are representative of a myriad of ways in which trauma is manifested. I have broken down the concept of intergenerational trauma into the idea that it can be seen as the state where one is both simultaneously “falling” and “fallen” at the same time. Used here, the term “falling” refers to the consistent, individual trauma that one is experiencing. On the other hand, the term “fallen” refers to the trauma that a community as a whole has experienced and internalized. This framework that I establish based off of Beloved is a launching point for the conversation surrounding the topic of remedial actions in relation to intergenerational trauma that resulted from slavery. Using it as a basis of knowledge allows one to truly gather the weight of the situation regarding trauma postbellum. Considering the current climate surrounding any meaningful dialogue, knowledge is one of the most important aspects. Along with the concepts of “falling”/”fallen,” I also coined the term productive memory, which refers to the act of confrontation as well as the remembering of intergenerational trauma. The use of productive memory is imperative in addressing the prior ideas presented regarding intergenerational trauma and the possible pathways to move forward.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Relays: Short Fiction Anthology

Description

A collection of chronological, interconnected short stories following the lives and changes of a family throughout the 20th century, connected through the generations by unifying objects carried in from story to story.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Reasons to Stay Alive

Description

Reasons to Stay Alive is a short story that follows the protagonist, Corinne Larson, and her experiences with depression and anxiety as well as self-harm and suicidal ideations. It is meant to act as an antithesis to media that romanticizes

Reasons to Stay Alive is a short story that follows the protagonist, Corinne Larson, and her experiences with depression and anxiety as well as self-harm and suicidal ideations. It is meant to act as an antithesis to media that romanticizes suicide, such as the television show 13 Reasons Why (2017), and instead glorify growth and healing. Specifically, it focuses on the importance of social support in the healing process. The story is separated into three different formats: narrative, letter, and free-verse poetry. It is prefaced by a poem titled ‘death by suicide’ that discusses the stigma around suicide and the reason why the phrase ‘commit suicide’ was changed to ‘death by suicide’. The story then starts with a letter written by Corinne to her future self during a time she was really struggling with depression and self-harm and suicidal ideations. It is a plea with her future self to tell her everything will be alright. The rest of the story is broken into four parts, each about a specific and important person in Corinne’s life. Each part starts off as a first person narrative from Corinne’s point of view and is a memorable experience she had with each person and ends with a short letter addressed directly to each person. The letters are a chance for Corinne to tell each person how important they are to her, how they made an impact in her life, and how they gave her a reason to stay alive. Between each part is a poem that deals with different themes relating to depression or anxiety. The story ends with a letter written by Corinne to her future self that goes back and addresses the first letter. It gives past Corinne some words of advice and tells her that her reasons to stay alive are the important people in life as well as herself and the person she will become.

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Date Created
2021-12

Bearly Surviving

Description

Every year, Mr. Chapman takes a group of high school students on a bear-sighting trip called “Ex-bear-dition.” The story picks up at their arrival to Montana where the students learn about bears and quarrel with one another. When it’s time

Every year, Mr. Chapman takes a group of high school students on a bear-sighting trip called “Ex-bear-dition.” The story picks up at their arrival to Montana where the students learn about bears and quarrel with one another. When it’s time to take the long-anticipated, killer hike at Glacier National Park, the students find themselves in situations that require them to put their wilderness survival skills to the test. Peggy, one of the teaching assistants, and Nathan, one of the students, take a tumble in the snow, unable to return to the group. Mr. Chapman also finds himself incapable of hiking out, so the group must split again to go get help. Keller, the other teaching assistant, must lead a small assembly back to the trailhead, while Mr. Chapman’s remaining students, and Nathan and Peggy must weather their camps. This novella is a series of narratives and found materials.

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Date Created
2022-05

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The Unforgivable Promise

Description

Unbeknown to her, Lonnie is the key between two realities - a result of her family’s grief and feuding. When she finally discovers her vital role, she is forcefully placed on a path of finding - and fixing - the

Unbeknown to her, Lonnie is the key between two realities - a result of her family’s grief and feuding. When she finally discovers her vital role, she is forcefully placed on a path of finding - and fixing - the truth about her family and the two battling realities. Struggling with her mental health as she continues down this path, her understanding of good versus evil is challenged.

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Date Created
2021-12

As the Spider Spins her Web

Description

Uncle Dan is dead. He’s dead and Aunt Clara and Mike move across the country, leaving Jack and Jamie in their small Ohio town. Jamie spirals out of two relationships she thought would last forever, and Jack adventures across the

Uncle Dan is dead. He’s dead and Aunt Clara and Mike move across the country, leaving Jack and Jamie in their small Ohio town. Jamie spirals out of two relationships she thought would last forever, and Jack adventures across the country to bring back his cousin and return the family to a sense of normalcy. But the pair will soon realize that normal is relative and the truth is how you spin it, especially in the face of grief.

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Date Created
2022-05