Date of Award
Campus Access Thesis
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
The short stories in this collection, entitled Bone Meal, are linked by location and character. Covering a span of nearly two decades, these stories glimpse the lives of Connecticut residents as they experience profound shifts in perception, witness the evolution and extinction of relationships, and suffer the raw and earnest moments that reveal meaning and significance in seemingly commonplace existences (and deaths). We meet these characters at threshold moments: People caught between classes struggle to get ahead or merely to stay afloat. Young men and women transition (by will or by force) into adulthood. Fathers and sons quest to find common ground and mutual respect. The American Family dynamic is revealed in all of its complicated splendor and woe.
I'm no historian. I'm not a travel blogger or a self-help guru. I'm a fiction writer. And my aim in composing these stories was to make my vision and experience of growing up in Connecticut come to life on every page, chiefly through character. Much like the actual people who (consciously and subconsciously) inspired their creation, my characters have their own genuine hopes and dreams, vices and demons, victories and failures, morals and values. I hope that by unearthing these characters' unique voices, motivations, fears and desires, I have tapped into universally emotional experiences and, as the writer John Gardner once said, "[Made] powerful affirmations of familiar truths."
My goal has always been to be the most technically proficient and meaningful storyteller I can be.
With Bone Meal, I humbly believe I'm one step closer to that end.
Vautour, Ryan Spellman, "Bone Meal" (2014). Graduate Masters Theses. 255.