Title

Like I Said

Date of Award

6-30-2016

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Art

First Advisor

James Barilla

Abstract

Like I Said is a collection of memoir essays spanning the author’s life from his earliest memories to the present day. Topics touched on include but are not limited to: the struggle of being raised as an undiagnosed sufferer of ADHD, the cultural/familial dynamics at work in rural southeast Missouri, the author’s trial with hitting puberty and finding religion in the same year, and the ongoing shifts in the Mossman family’s relational dynamics in the years since the author’s mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

Structurally, the text takes inspiration from the “lyric essay,” a subgenre of creative nonfiction that utilizes poetic language and associative juxtaposition to build a narrative and overall meaning. Like I Said should be considered a “book in mosaic”—a series of seemingly disparate, unassociated narrative essays connected as a “whole” via the author’s persistent experimentation with form, repeated allusions to the art of storytelling and the infinite imaginative possibilities therein, and the progression of a narrative arc of the author/narrator and the member’s of his family that becomes apparent when working one’s way through the text. As mentioned, from essay to essay the text contains a wide variety of forms available to writers in the genre of creative nonfiction, including “speculative nonfiction,” “fabulist nonfiction,” “lyric essay,” and many other “hybrid” forms of the genre which blend elements of fiction and poetry to tell a story based in fact. This play with form and structure is informed by the author’s poetic assertion that the writing of memoir, being primarily informed by the author’s fractured, disorganized, and elusive memory should embrace and even mimic these elements of the source of each story’s creation that might otherwise seem to invalidate the form or premise of “nonfiction.” Through telling the story of a single man’s life through a variety of storytelling modes, voices, and perspectives, Like I Said makes the implicit argument that the ongoing competition between memory and imagination at battle in the minds of authors of creative nonfiction should help more than hinder the craft of creatively telling true stories.

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Fine Arts Commons

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