The Impetus is Forward Motion

Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

John Dufresne

First Advisor's Committee Title

committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Les Standiford

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Bruce Harvey

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member



Date of Defense



THE IMPETUS IS FORWARD MOTION is a book of personal essays about the author’s childhood, teenage years, and beginning of adult life. The essays explore the themes of relocation, family, pets, art, and education with a focus on revealing what it means to be female in the modern world. The essays serve as an emotional description of a coming-of-age period of a member of the boomerang generation.

The collection is more or less in reverse chronological order and begins with a recent account of a very long drive and ends with a familial truth that had remained a secret for a long time. The events and people in the essays are those who impacted the author’s life a great deal, in negative and positive ways.

Half of the essays are written as lyric essays, after John D’Agata and Anne Carson. The style of writing and subject matter for the other half of the essays was partially inspired by the straightforward, conversational tone of contemporary essay collections Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay and Not that Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham. In her essays, the author strives to not be like Sloane Crosley.



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