Trickster: Tales of Mischief from Around the World, by Amy Higgins

Learning that I some day had to write a senior thesis was by far the scariest moment of my freshman year. Just thinking about devoting an entire semester to an academic paper was torture; I couldn’t imagine how bad writing it would be. Thankfully, the Honors College is merciful, and the senior Honors thesis can be about anything. Since I’m a creative writing major, I decided to write a story, and then left the details for future Amy to take care of.

Eventually, I decided on a collection of short stories based on folktales. Each of the stories highlights a trickster character that appears in more than one culture. For example, in Mesoamerican myth, the character Coyote is always hungry, often trying to trick others into giving him a meal, or becoming one. In Native American tales, Coyote is a culture hero who fights monsters and uses his tricks to help others. My story, “Coyote Waters the World,” combines these two personalities. Coyote only wants a quick meal, but he ends up doing a great service for humanity. The other three stories are written in the same manner, and with the hope that they will encourage readers to strike out in search of their own connections between folktales and the cultures they originate from.

I asked Professor Elizabeth Dalton to watch over me as I wrote this collection, and I absolutely must pause and heap as much praise upon her as I can. Beth has been beyond fabulous, a wonderful mix of teacher and therapist who kept me sane at some critical moments in the semester. At the same time, she encouraged me to push my boundaries by doing something like, I don’t know, suggesting that I do a reading of my work this Wednesday, February 23rd, at 4:00 p.m. in RB 361. I hope to see you there!

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