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Passing lane & other stories

Abstract The process of growing into ourselves is one that we navigate through interactions with other people and, in turn, through interactions with the self. We learn from how the world refracts back to us and lodges deep within. This can be a bewildering experience as we attempt to discover who we are, trying to filter the continuous feedback thrown our way without losing ourselves. We build an absolute sense of self from the inside out. Despite the damage inflicted along the way, we seek to share and be understood. This collection of stories intersplices experiences of what it is to be female - curious, observant, open, angry, lover of life, artist, idealist. It takes us on a journey forward and back through time, in the way our flickering minds and memories work to seek sense-making of the past from an ever-changing position in the now. As our lived experiences accumulate, time’s gift is that we can see with clarity what was hidden from view at the time. Inspired by the idea of the arc from innocence to enlightenment we all traverse, I sought to allow fragments of female experience to explore themselves on the page. What happens when the unexpected happens? How do we reconcile fantasy with reality? How do we cope when expected to contort ourselves for others? Can we know ourselves entirely? Womens’ lives are frequently fragmented and interrupted. We are always seeking to juggle the necessities of ordinary life, accept compromises, suppress or follow desires. I wanted to explore the lived reality of this fragmentation in the approach I took to these pieces of writing and how despite this, somehow, we still manage to hold on and savour life. Some of the stories are of traditional length, whereas others are shorter and more splintered. My goal was to capture the sense of how moments flicker by in our lives yet so many of them are poignant and extraordinary, gone in a flash and not always held on to. The voices in these pieces are a female chorus, one woman on many different days, having many different epiphanies, or many women on a single day all experiencing life simultaneously. They are female harmonics seeking to make sense of the world.  The stories are narrated by unnamed female narrators, ranging in age from four to 49. They are in first person ‘I’ or third person ‘she’ with two narratives in second person ‘you’ to express a different energy. I sought to draw the collection together using this approach with the hope that it allows the reader intimately inside the world of the narrator. From vulnerable and tender to sardonic and impatient, these female personae are honest and raw, funny and insightful. The plural She who speaks here seeks to understand how life shapes a person.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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