Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Degree Name

Creative Writing (Nonfiction)

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Judy Blunt

Committee Co-chair

Christopher Dombrowski

Commitee Members

Bridget Clarke


Mother, Superior, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nonfiction, Northwoods


University of Montana

Subject Categories



Prologue /The Lake Within

I am a fisherman. Every time I raise my arm to cast, I’m searching for an answer.

What is a lake?

I throw my lure at the lilies of my childhood, the sunken log of my crib. With every cast I hope the truth will follow it back, this little piece of me I offer to the mystery.

My earliest memories are at the bus stop, where a shroud of mist swirled about me and I listed side-to-side, six-AM eyes drooping while I waited for that big yellow ship to bust through the fog and open its doors before me. I was never a good sleeper, rarely felt awake, and when the bus would barrel along the shore of Long Lake, I’d rest my head against the foggy window and pondered how the water could sit so utterly still, yet churn the mist as if the fact the lake existed made reality tremble. I thought there must be something beneath the surface that shifted the air upon its waking, like my dad when he’d start the coffee pot with a hiss of steam, or the eruption of old truck engines across our village of fifty people or so, or a swirl of smoke bursting from the nighttime’s remnant coals when I’d open up the woodstove and feed it the day’s first log, as I’d been taught to do if I wanted to stay warm.

Included in

Nonfiction Commons



© Copyright 2022 Brandon R. Hansen