Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The creative non-fiction genre, in particular memoir and travel writing, is in a state of constant evolution. Furthermore, as we progress further into postmodern times, writing (both fiction and non-fiction, as well as poetry and drama) becomes more and more confessional and fragmented. These two facts make it difficult to classify the following memoir. It is both travel narrative and memoir on the body, but perhaps none of the traditional writers in either of these camps would claim my piece. Nevertheless, I call it a body memoir, and under essay it should be filed. In three sections (plus an introduction and afterward), "The Underground House: A Body Memoir" follows the preparation for and attempt of a long trip into the Middle East and Africa. The preparation involves the excavation of breast tumors. Post trip, the piece turns to the beginnings of the memoir's persona, in a rural county south of Louisville, Kentucky. The trip itself is played out in an Arabian airport and the capitol of Egypt. The piece draws no conclusions as to the forming of identity (including the neurotic, gender, or philosophical identities of a young woman in early twenty-first century United States of America), though these becomings are certainly taken as the primary subject of the piece. Conclusions are far less important than beginnings, which occur again and again as the piece continues to start afresh - in location, in water, and in reflection.


Creative Writing | English Language and Literature