In celebration of getting the OK seal of approval from my MFA mentor, I thought I’d post the preface of my thesis collection of essays here!
I’m almost at a loss for where I’d like to begin, with respect to this collection and it’s (in all likelihood, woefully inadequate) preface. Almost. My thesis represents not just a two-year journey through a terrific graduate program with the intent to earn a degree at its conclusion, but a culmination of life events and a journey that spans from the highest heights of literal mountain tops to the lowest lows of human depression and anxiety. This collection of essays represents, I think, a fresh look at a critical five-year slice of my life that has unquestionably shaped me, not only as a writer, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as a human being—all of this being possible, of course, with a healthy dose of new insight and some refined storytelling capabilities I’ve evolved throughout my two year MFA experience.
Throughout the creation of this collection, I’ve kept in mind two particular goals for every single piece included: I wanted to make sure the essays are both a) engaging and b) entertaining. Maintaining fidelity to these goals was not always easy since they are, at their core, pieces of creative nonfiction filtered through the lens of my individual experience—my senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. These essays are reproduced how I personally saw and experienced them. The line between fiction and nonfiction, because of this human experience factor, is certainly a blurry one (as I discuss in my critical examination of Hunter S. Thompson toward the end of this collection). However, I think understanding the suppleness of the English language and how to make it work in telling a story is as important as the story itself.