Backwards Skate Only: a Collection of Short Fiction

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




I've heard, over and over, during both graduate and undergraduate degrees, Flannery Connor's proclamation, paraphrased differently each time, that if you lived a full childhood, you had enough material to write for the rest of your life. I admit I was, at first, skeptical. When I heard that statement, though, I was also inspired. Part of the beauty of being human is having language to put experience in words. From this, grows my interest and practice in autobiographical fiction. My thesis, titled "Backwards Skate Only," includes five short stories that take- at least in part-from my life. Writing this way allows me to take advantage of true emotion as it is felt, whether it be the witness I bore to one brief moment in a stranger's life, as in my story "Bamboo Kitchen," or a statement that a family member made which would alter my view of them, and life, forever, as happens in my story, "Where To." It is in this vein that I am most comfortable and free as a writer. While each one of these stories borrows from my life, they do vary in the means that they borrow. Sometimes I toy with characters I know, often it is the small-town setting I have lived in most of my life. Other times true life sneaks into my fiction in the most pivotal moments I have experience. What I have learned from this project is that writing autobiographical fiction helps to evoke emotion in my writing.

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