The thesis was titled Look Me in the Stars. Strange title, you say? Yeah, little bit. It actually derives from a line in Robert Frost's* poem "A Question":
A voice said, Look me in the starsThat poem has been on my mind for some time, and it sort of worked its own way into the title.
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Are not too much to pay for birth.
The thesis is a collection of short stories (seven of them, to be exact--no coincidence there) that all treat, with varying degrees of heavy-handedness, the plethora of delightful and crappy things that we all go through in life. Ok, it mostly revolves around the crappy stuff (hence the titular poem). The delightful stuff is boring anyway. Each story also incorporates some aspect of speculation or fantasy, as well; from time travel to the zombie apocalypse, it's all there. And, well, I'm kind of proud of it. Look, here it is:
In all its glory! Pretty cool, no?
For those interested, here are some stats:
Total word count: 38,461
Total page count: 133
Contents: 7 short stories ("Rewind," "The Reception," "On Redemption," "Chronosingularity," "In the Details," "Oneirology," and "Look me in the stars"), Critical Introduction, Abstract, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, and Title Page
Start date: This is a tough one. The first draft of the oldest short story in the collection dates back to 7 Feb 2009, and I suppose that is as good a start date as any.
End date: Final draft was submitted on 15 June 2012.
Overall, it was a really great process. Much more enjoyable than the whole Honors Thesis thing (which actually wasn't that bad for a critical thesis...but nowhere near this cool). And my defense was fantastic. I was lucky to have three pretty amazing professors ask some really interesting questions amd give some really helpful feedback...and it was actually kind of fun; a far cry from the purgatorial panel I had feared. I don't know many people who can say they genuinely enjoyed their thesis/dissertation defense, so I'm glad to be part of that elite group.
I'd give you a link to check out the entire document on BYU's Electronic Thesis and Dissertation website, but you can't find it there. You see, as an MFA student dealing with a creative work that might actually be a source of income (however modest) in the future, I don't have to release it to the public. So I didn't. Instead, I'm currently in the process of getting at least a couple of the stories from my thesis published in literary journals, magazines, etc. And, trust me, as soon as I find a home for any of these stories, you guys will be the first to know. Okay, maybe not the first. My wife will be the first. And actually my parents will be second. And then I'll have some other friends and family members I'll want to tell right away. So you guys are maybe five or six down on the list...but you'll get the news relatively soon :-). Priorities, you see. You understand.
Also, I think I'll paste the Abstract and the Acknowledgements sections in the next post, just so you can get some more specifics about the project...and because there were a whole lot of people who helped me out with the project, and they deserve all the thanks they can get.
In fact, I think I'll get on that right now.
* Robert Frost is one of my favorite all-time poets, by the way.