The following thesis is a culmination of several key activities I have engaged in as a creative writer with a single focus: to create fiction that employs the perspectives, the voices, of persons at later stages of their lives, a population vulnerable to disease and, more insidious, loneliness. First, I discuss my experiences reviving the Western Kentucky student organization Companions of Respected Elders. C.O.R.E. allowed undergraduates to work with local residential centers (nursing homes) by engaging their residents in the collaborative act of creating stories from picture prompts and encouraging questions, following the training and paradigm of TimeSlipsTM. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, through C.O.R.E., I helped to create a writing workshop for the local seniors group Silver Streamers. Drawing from these experiences as well as personal relationships, my own fiction diverges from the literary traditions of elderly characters. The characters that came to life in my stories were queer elders, all female. While both the creative and literary worlds have wrestled with who can write in whose voice, these are the voices I hear as I create. As you read my stories, I hope you find real voices that are not cut-out representations of persons experiencing a disease or decrement, but, rather, vibrant, cerebral, struggling human beings.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Jessica Folk, M.F.A.
Creative Writing | Gerontology | Literature in English, North America
Fontes, Cameron, "Crafting Character: Exploring Elder Identity through Story" (2021). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 933.