Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. English Dept.


Susan Kenney


An introduction is at once a very easy and an extremely difficult thing to write. In the next few paragraphs, I attempt to discuss my work without justifying.. interpreting.. or dissecting it. Over the past eight months I have read, and for the first time found authors who inspired me and influenced my writing style. (For a complete list of works read, see the last page of this book.) Denis Johnson and Charlotte Perkins Gilman create characters one step beyond saneness; Ursula K. LeGuin turns ordinary situations into slightly fantastic events; J.D. Salinger paints the connections humans desperately try to make, makes normal people vulnerable, and presents last minute surprise endings. Susan Kenney writes with humor, irony, and pain, and creates a great closeness between reader and narrator. Tim O'Brien delivers disjointed and direct narration; Joseph Conrad tells entire stories in dialogue; Albert Camus leaves the reader probing far beyond the obvious. Piri Thomas teaches morals without being preachy or cliched; Jack Kerouac preserves culture and history; Ernest Hemingway uses simple text and all-telling dialogue to look at relationships, sports, and prejudice. James Boylan's short stories are quirky, ingenious, and frighteningly creative; Gloria Naylor interlocks stories that can stand on their own; John Knowles portrays tragedy in a near-celebratory way. Over the past eight months I have WTitten, and learned how to revise. Instead of doing two or three drafts, I've done five or six, often only to scrap whole sections or rearrange some more. At the end of my project, I leave behind various unfinished or unrevised works--for now. I have travelled the continuum from complete fiction to autobiographical sketches, mixing memories with daydreams and idle thoughts. I intended to write many short stories, and instead wrote a novella. I adopted other voices, and found my own. Over the past fOUI years I have lived and studied in an environment both receptive and restrictive. I have learned much about my friends and family, and even more about myself. I intended to write about non-college topics, things away from my everyday life, and instead came back to the scenes that surround me. Nothing I have written is uninfluenced, in some way, by my experiences at Colby College. All of these stories are about making connections. In doing my Senior Scholar project, I learned to meet deadlines and to push myself, to be devoted to one thing, to get lost in my work and to close out, for a while, the reality that interfered with my writing. I wrote about issues that seemed to mean nothing to me, and ones which were rather painful. Indeed, there were topics I never wanted to touch. But the past year has been the most challenging and productive one of my writing career so far, and the end result is well worth the struggle.


english literature, novella


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