The eight leaves
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The creative dissertation The Eight Leaves is a deconstructed memoir, composed in a series of inter-connected lyric essays structured in a ring composition. The manuscript is an attempt to authenticate a fractured self, reconcile contradictory narratives and deal with the fallibility of memory. Lyric essays flexibility help create the loose associative nature of assembling self, while fragmentary vignettes and lacunae serve to remind the reader of the form's artifice in relation to reality. The ring composition, a form found in sapiential writing, is designed to provide a structure akin to a lifecycle, in one respect, but also to mimic the "monomyths" prevalent in many cultural tales of heroes. In The Eight Leaves the author takes us through parts of his life, and with several themes through it: his brother's death; his family; his recurring bad back; leaving notes for others to find; seeing people from his past. The manuscript moves seamlessly through all of these, as each theme weaves in and out, intermingled with each other. The main theme is the death of the author's brother, Kevin, He wants to know why his brother died so young - was it something from the past? Did his ghosts catch up with him? Could he have done something to prevent it? When younger, he always wanted to go where his brother was - calling after whenever he left the house. When older, he showed off for him by stealing for him. There are moments when he remembers his brother fondly and wondered if he could have helped him in some way.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.