Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

Les Standiford

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Debra Dean

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Bruce Harvey

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


memoir, personal essay, motherhood, mental illness

Date of Defense



Written in first person, NOTHING NORMAL HAPPENS TO ME is a memoir in essays that traces the narrator’s journey from self-destruction to creation. Part one encompasses the narrator’s lost years, after she breaks free from the tyranny of her mentally ill mother and goes to live on her own at 17. Part two provides context for those bad girl years, exploring her childhood when she identified with her histrionic mother. Part three comprises stories about the narrator’s years of awakening when she seeks out transcendence, faith, and a family of her own. The pieces vary tonally and stylistically as they attempt to trace the maturing voice of the narrator. Like SEEKING RAPTURE: SCENES FROM A WOMAN’S LIFE by Kathryn Harrison, this collection centers on a young girl, who without her mother’s love, struggles to love herself. It is both a cautionary tale and a story of redemption.



Included in

Nonfiction Commons



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

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