Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Dale Rigby (Director), Dr. David LeNoir, Dr. Wes Berry

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Originally intended to be modeled after Eula Biss’s creative nonfiction essay “The Balloonists”—which tackles the subject of marriage via fragmented prose poems— “Gritting Teeth: A Memoir of Unhealthy Love” is a piece that has taken on a subject and form of its own. A memoirist like Vivian Gornick might not claim the writer’s piece, as it hesitates to offer a “story” in places. A memoirist like Sue William Silverman might not claim the piece, as it hesitates to be courageous at times. But this collage of song lyrics, research snippets, and even Craigslist postings works in conjunction with fragments from the writer’s two most “serious” romantic relationships, as well as fragments from her more recent romantic past, to create a piece that has given her an awareness of the unhealthy relationship behaviors she possesses, and with that, a tinge of hope for changing these behaviors in the future. To the woman who’s ever been obsessive about a boyfriend (or even a fling), the woman who’s married for ulterior motives, or the woman/man interested in peering into the recesses of a neurotic, obsessive, and generally warped female mind, the writer offers this memoir.


Creative Writing | Social Psychology