The Center of the Known World

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Virginia Tech


All of the stories in The Center of the Known World are subtly linked by their connection to the Appalachian Mountains — more specifically the Allegheny Mountains — although not all of the stories take place physically in the mountains. They also are linked in that they explore the small changes and shifts that take place in the emotional landscape as we live our daily lives. There are no life or death situations that change characters' lives in the beat of a heart or the shot of a gun. Rather, these are people who deal with gradual shifts in power and understanding. They are people in search of connection and community. Some of them come to seemingly small realizations that change everything. Others battle flaws or demons that keep them from having the things they want most.

The first five stories are free-standing pieces. The next two stories — Grand Opening Special at the West End U-Store and A Fine Addiction — are connected by location and characters. I hope eventually there will be other stories in that series. The final part of my thesis — Skin Writing — is the first section of a novel in progress.



short story, Appalachia, Creative Writing, fiction