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Publication Date

Spring 2016

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Cathleen A. Miller


California, fandom, fangirl, Georgia, West

Subject Areas

Creative writing


Fangirl Stays West is a memoir that demonstrates how I learned my life lessons from books, music, and, most frequently, television. Framed within the last year, beginning with my father’s incarceration, I begin to relive my childhood through by escaping my own reality as I did when I was a child—through the worlds of my favorite television shows, music, and books. In the end, I discover that neither my father, nor any of the other people I try to recast as the protagonist—real or fantasy—in my own story, is a “hero.” In the end, I am, without guilt, able to hold the lead role in my own manuscript and let others take more passive roles.

Initially, entering the fantasy worlds is treated like a game—something fun to occupy my time. The boundaries between these worlds become more blurred as time goes on. Soon, these characters become my companions in my daily life, breaking the earlier boundary that the worlds do not coexist. At the climax, I reveal to my readers how I discover these images were actually manifestations of myself, ultimately allowing me to become my own hero, allowing these television characters and pseudo-realities to return to their original designated function of entertainment.