Like Water, Like Clouds

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Virginia Tech

This collection of short fiction explores femininity – a difficult term, in and of itself, because it implies that to be a woman is to be feminine in the traditional sense, or feminist in the revolutionary sense – rarely do the connotations allow for much in between. But I choose this term over “womanhood," for example, because it is more difficult, and culturally loaded, and conflicted, and even offensive. In truth, these stories attempt to portray the multi-faceted nature of how we see the feminine. They hope to convey the most fragile and complicated net of relationships, with men and with women, with mothers and fathers and children and lovers and enemies, each of whom make their own demands about what sort of femininity they require. Considering all this, I tend to think that there is no such thing as the much-talked-about “strong woman" in real life, not completely. She is constantly being pushed into corners where she is weak, or careless, or cruel–secretly unsure of who she is expected and ought to be. The result is a female psyche that is always shifting and disintegrating and dissolving, becoming someone or something else, like the characters in these eight stories. The modern woman is no sure thing. She is in flux and changing shape. And really, it is for those of us who watch to decide if it is for better, or for worse.

fiction, short stories, creative writing