Type of Document Thesis Author McDermott, Anne M. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04142006-181124 Title Memory Loss Degree Master of Fine Arts Department English, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Virgil Suarez Committee Chair Douglas Fowler Committee Member Elizabeth Stuckey-French Committee Member Keywords
- Rock/Heavy Metal Music
- 1980s Pop-Culture
- Death Of A Loved One
Date of Defense 2006-04-05 Availability unrestricted AbstractIn the wake of the current storm over what constitutes truth – non-fiction – and what is “made up” – fictional – my fascination with the flexibility of memory is suddenly more than a little apropos. Current literary events notwithstanding, I grew up under a dark veil of depression, which seemingly “erased” my childhood. It wasn’t until I delved into non-fictional/memoir writing that the memories came flooding back. What I’ve found is that much of the facts – dates, times, specific locations, who was there and who wasn’t, etc. – are not of the greatest value. At least, not to the author digging up her past. It’s the intangibles, the sensory remembrances, the feelings that bubble to the surface in the wake of the flood, that overtake the brain’s internal photo album and video camera and create altered, but nonetheless true, histories. This is why I prefaced the first half of my novel with two non-fiction pieces – one of more accessible memories, easily referenced and validated, the other a stream-of-consciousness piece that is precisely how my mind unleashes the three heinous years spent at my Catholic elementary school. Neither are precisely correct; both are true.
2003 proved to be a year of survival, one in which I played witness to life and loss up-close and personal. I’d never been so close to death before –three deaths and one “fatal” accident survived – it overwhelmed my senses and left me feeling selfish, stupid and wrong. To lose focus on those who were either dying or struggling to live before my eyes, hand-in-hand – distracted by the television, a song in my head, when I could eat, wanting to leave and never come back – I couldn’t understand how my mind would allow for such diversion. The random nature of our psyche, despite what’s going on around us, was an issue I couldn’t release, and so it came out in the form of Records, the first half of my novel.
Mind, matter, truth, imaginations, hopes and how we keep them all – how our memories hold. Or don’t. Trying to authenticate that which is long gone, or losing our grip on those last moments, images, scents, sounds that serve as our last reminders, our last recollections – this is the best of what my mind could render.
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