Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
David Bell (Director), Dale Rigby, Wes Berry
Department of English
Master of Arts
If I am anything, I am a Kentuckian, which means I appreciate a good storyteller. In my writing, I hope to bring back some dignity to the “lost cause” of the good values from a broken culture. While I am not quite “southern” enough to qualify as a writer of Southern Gothic fiction, I can relate to this brand of identity crisis in which someone wants to maintain an archaic mindset in a culture charging towards “progress.” As technology and corporate success take precedence over a genteel and pastoral soul, our collective competitiveness has crippled a quaint future of back porch comforts. Being well-read or holding open doors won’t pay for student loans, and there is no such thing as stars in our crowns anymore. For many regions of Kentucky, there is this conflict within the graying of small town communities. My region is one of these. As time marches on, the agrarian lifestyle itself becomes industrialized, and these old family farms, upon which small towns are built, are not self-sustaining. In my stories, I capture the perspectives of a rural community’s personalities. My Regionalism may be dated, but then so are the small town values. With these short stories, I hope to create a collection of characters whose backgrounds may be singular but whose messages are universal. My stories are about the universal fear of loneliness. Perry and White, the cameo characters, pop up throughout because they epitomize this with their irrational companionship. “The Ancient Art of Smile-Making,” “A Well Meaning Marionette,” “The Peacock Cloister,” and “In the Garden, Swallowing Pearls” are essentially about this innate need for company. “Murdered in a Good Dress” and “Myrtle Slog” illustrate the homesickness experienced by those who divorce themselves from closeness of the rural community. Sometimes we call “friendship” kitschy and cliché. And why is that? I made Perry and White’s bond a bit absurd because it is almost ridiculous that there could be a person in the wild world who would sacrifice themselves.
Creative Writing | Fiction
Garrett, Elizabeth Ann, "The Ancient Art of Smile-Making" (2014). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 1366.