Lives We Tell Ourselves

Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Mary Troy, Professor


Dalton, John

Irwin, Glenn


Why does fiction exist? Are stories told in order to pass on knowledge, an evolutionary implement, a--one time my friend ate that berry and then he died so you shouldn't eat that same berry--survival tool? If so, then when did stories transcend function? And, most importantly, why? This collection of fictional stories reflects my obsession with these questions. Fiction is, in many ways, the art of manipulation--my stories are a construct, as ephemeral as the ideas that spawned their creation, practically no more valuable than the paper you now hold in your hands. My job as a writer is to convince you that there are rapists, victims, daughters, sons, killers, lovers, and liars out there, living, moving, breathing in the very air we let out. My job is to convince you that the paper you hold in your hands is worth more than you can imagine, heavier too, bearing the combined weight of men and women you've never met, the heft of foreign lands, the burden of hopeful futures, the ballast of woeful pasts. Because that is, I believe, why fiction exists: to manipulate you until you see something that isn't, maybe wasn't ever, there--a truth too real to be told outright.

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