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Carbunckle's Flight and a reflective essay on the creative process

Best, Gillian E. (2011) Carbunckle's Flight and a reflective essay on the creative process. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis consists of two parts: a creative work, and an introduction to the novel itself that reflects on my own creative process. The creative work is a novel, Carbunckle’s Flight, and follows the dissolution of the Carbunckle family. Charlie Carbunckle is an avid pigeon fancier who has a strained relationship with everyone in his family, from wife Liz, to children Beth and Seamus. He is unaware that each time he chooses his pigeons over his family, he drives them further and further away. Seamus is accused of killing one of Charlie's pigeons, and Charlie demands punishment. Liz instructs Seamus to help build the new pigeon loft. Though initially upset about being forced into manual labour, Seamus makes his punishment work for him: he and best friend Lloyd make a documentary film about pigeon racing. Initially, Charlie is thrilled, however, when Seamus and Lloyd start asking questions about culling, he turns cold. Meanwhile, Beth is having breeding dilemmas of her own. At the high school prom, she has a one-night stand with a fellow oddity on the hood of her boyfriend's car. This tryst could be over-looked except for the fact that Beth finds, several weeks later, she's pregnant. Amidst all these troubles, Liz, unable to cope, seeks refuge in the arms of her lover, Kenji. Nearly twenty years her junior, Kenji lets her escape into his world, where she can pretend her home life doesn't exist. When Charlie is diagnosed with Pigeon Fancier's lung he's convinced that he has nothing to live for. This is the beginning of the end for Liz. The last straw comes when Charlie refuses to attend the screening of Seamus' film because one of his pigeons - pigeons he's meant to give away - needs urgent medical attention. Seamus, furious that his father has once again chosen his flock over his son, takes matters into his own hands when they get home, and drowns his father's birds. The shock of violence scatters the Carbunckles: Liz moves out, Charlie retreats to his basement, Seamus spends more and more time alone and Beth is focused on her own growing problem. The choice to rally together is too difficult, too painful for all of them. In a last ditch attempt to make things right, Charlie drags his family with him to the World Homing Show in Blackpool, England, as he vows to say goodbye to pigeon racing forever. Though his heart's in the right place, Charlie still needs to come to terms with the distance his obsession puts between him and his family. The introduction reflects on the personal, creative journey I undertook: from the initial spark of inspiration, through several drafts, ending with the novel being accepted for representation by a literary agent. The first chapter focuses on the spark of inspiration and the way in which it was transformed into two talking pigeons. The second chapter discusses voice and dialogue and how those elements aided in characterization. Writing this novel was not without difficulties, and the third chapter considers issues concerning the plot. No writer can be said to exist outside the realm of influence, and in the fourth chapter I discuss novelists I see as having influenced my style. The Poomour chapter focuses on comedic elements within Carbunckle’s Flight and touches upon Rabelais and how to get a laugh out of Crohn’s disease. Chapter six is dedicated to process of writing a novel. Finally, there is a brief epilogue that serves as a bridge from Carbunckle’s Flight to the next novel.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: pigeon racing, creative writing, novel, author, dysfunctional family, Toronto
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Schmidt, Professor Michael
Date of Award: 2011
Embargo Date: 10 March 2014
Depositing User: Dr. Gillian Best
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2418
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:55
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2418

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