Exit slowly, pursued by bears



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Texas Tech University


TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY The Graduate School Lubbock, Texas


for the Degree of


Author’s Full Name: Jerome Wesley Stueart

Title of Dissertation: Exit Slowly, Pursued By Bears

Names of Committee Members: Jill Patterson, Co-Chairperson, Stephen Graham Jones, Co-Chairperson, Dennis Covington

Major: English (Creative Writing)

Date of Graduation: August 2005

Exit Slowly, Pursued by Bears is a collection of short stories about people in relationships that have gone a bit absurd and the emotions they practice to regain balance in their lives, not always successfully.
The stories are set in Missouri, California and Texas, as well as far northern landscapes in Canada.  Characters fight to influence their relationships, and in the process try to salvage their own personal myths of who they and others seem to be.  In these stories, a brash young college scientist comes to personal terms with evolution; a father tries to prevent his son from shooting local legendary lions; a woman discovers her husband’s infidelity on Halloween amid a time of roaming polar bears; a boy desperately wants to befriend, and become, a werewolf; a young man searches for his birthfather at an astronomy convention; a woman dates a bear on the internet; and a park ranger tries to keep his long distance relationship alive.  When faced with their absurdities, characters run to the myths and beliefs society and culture offers, or those that they’ve created, sometimes sacrificing reality for their own personal fantasy of how life should be, sometimes realizing the truth and moving on from there.  There are bears in three of the seven story, but “bears†can also mean those pressures to make hard decisions.  Running slowly characterizes the odd or confident, courageous or defiant response to that pressure. 
Two of these stories have been published: “Old Lions†in Redivider, and “Lemmings in the Third Year†in Tesseracts Nine.



Bears, North, Stories, Fiction, Animals