Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

John Dalton, MFA


John Dalton

Mary Troy

Steve Schreiner


The following stories, “Cellar Doors,” “The Truth About Rockford,” and “Disreputable Uncles” are three stories from a collection of stories about four generations of women and their families, who face — and sometimes conquer — challenges that are all too common in our lives. They include the misery of being a sibling, and the terrifying power and overwhelming helplessness of being a parent, and the desperation that can latch on to us at any time in our lives. These stories ARE about the characters’ individual struggles, but they are also about unconscious lineage and how family traditions and community mores affect our unconscious responses (regardless of our ages) — many of which are a result our parents’ decisions and the mistakes that they have made. The main recurring characters are Birdie, Lottie, Ellie, and Mattie. The stories span several decades, and encounter the characters at various stages of their lives.