The Senior Thesis (and my incredible experience therewith)

Since a young age, I have known one thing about myself: I love to tell stories. Throughout my life, I have told countless stories, from half-finished storybooks illustrated with my own terrible drawings, to shameless rehashes of my favorite books and movies. My life has been filled with scribblings and daydreams, attempts to take my imagination and transpose it on paper, in order to share it with those around me. Once I realized that you could not only tell stories in a professional setting, but that you could make a living doing something so amazing, I was infatuated with the idea of being a writer. Although the dream may have faded somewhat as reality has set in, my goal of one day getting published has not changed, nor has my love of the craft.

As such, when I came to Whitman and discovered that the English Major offered the option of a Creative Writing Thesis, I was ecstatic. Even though I was a freshman, I started planning my path to achieving that goal, going so far as to come up with a story premise and a complete plan for writing it. Now, in my senior year of college, I have had the opportunity to not only write a story, but to get credit for it, working with my advisor and the English Department to craft the best piece of writing that I possibly can (and no, my current Thesis is nowhere near my initial concept, as is often the case with writing of any sort).

So what exactly is my Thesis about? I would say “put simply,” but I’m not really sure there is such a thing as putting it simply. At its heart, my story, which is currently titled “Detritus,” is a horror story drawing from both contemporary issues and major Lovecraftian themes and concepts. It is an examination of the unknown, the way in which what we can’t know/don’t know is terrifying, and how ultimately this fear of the unknown can be applied to any and all interactions between individuals. This examination is carried out in a world some hundred years into our own future, at a point in time at which the rapid proliferation of social media has effectively made the private sphere a public thing, ultimately forcing the notion of the “I” to come into contact with the impossible to reconcile and unavoidable presence of the “Other,” the individual outside of the self who is ultimately unknowable in the truest, deepest sense of the word, thereby forcing the complete collapse of society in to a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Whew. As long as that sentence was, it still doesn’t seem to be doing my story justice. What was originally supposed to be a novella within the 30,000 word range, ended up riding the line of a short novel. My current draft is sitting at around 46,000 words, and is over 130 pages (double-spaced) long. This has ultimately been an incredible experience for me, and following the completion of the project as a thesis, I hope to find time to take the story a step further, lengthening it where I need to, before hopefully getting it published. All in all, it has been an amazing capstone project for my time at Whitman College, and an incredibly fulfilling experience all around.



— Kevin


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