Snakes, Thieves, and Liars

Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Mary Troy


John Dalton


Glen Irwin


Snakes, Thieves, and Liars is a work of connected short stories following the larger than life personal journeys of Avery Colt. As Avery Colt matures from a child into a teenager, several ethical and emotional dilemmas confront him. In each dilemma, captured in his hyperbolic but sincere voice, Avery has the chance to learn and grow, or ignore and stagnate, just like any other protagonist in a coming of age story. But what separates Avery from the long tradition of coming of age heroes is his ability to misunderstand and his willingness to embrace failure. Family and friends in his life present him with their versions of success, be it snatching a key to a better life through academics and staying vigilant for skeletal Gate-keepers, mastering card games and clapping gambling bugs into diamond dust, or slaying a few possums with a hanger and a steady hand. Although Avery is eager to reach for these offered versions of success, he finds himself happy all the same to discard those versions of success to seek out his own happiness; happiness that stems from small glimpses of the truth that converges at singular moments through interactions with broken and beautiful people surviving in a broken and beautiful world. Slivers of truth in hand, Avery works slowly and surely to grown into the man he wants to be.

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