Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Mary Troy


John Dalton

Steve Schreiner


This thesis, titled “Terms and Conditions,” is a collection of five short stories. Although there is a mix of realist and speculative fiction, there are themes as well as other similarities that these stories share. All the characters in the following stories feel a lack of something that they desperately want, and in most cases that is love in the form of a parent, a sibling, or a friend. These characters not only uncover the harsher side of life in their search for a real connection, but they also reveal who they are as a person. Dr. Kruegler wants a chance save her sister, but she has to make a choice that questions her ethics. Kay also wants a chance to be reunited with her sister and thinks that opportunity presents itself at what she believes is a haunted drive-in. This obsession frightens her parents and prevents her from being able to move on from her sister’s death. These characters are faced with the fact that nothing is as it seems. For some of the characters, that means that those closest to them are not who they thought they were. Although very different characters, Jamie and Brad both struggle with their friendships because of the idealized vision they cling to of their best friends. In addition, Deidre has her own assumptions about her grandma, her parents, and her brother, but everything she’s believed about them is ripped out from under her. Overall, the stories in this collection explore the idea that when we go in search of what we want, we sometimes discover something about ourselves and our environment that’s harsher and darker than we ever expected. It’s the decisions we make when presented with these moments that make us who we are—fragile and flawed.

OCLC Number