Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Mary Swander


The first part of The Distance Is More Than An Ocean takes readers on a coming&ndashof&ndashage journey to Poland. I recall my childhood attending the American School and struggling with language as an American&ndashPole. On a visit to my family&rsquos house in Warsaw, my adult perspective confronts my childhood memory as I consider the historical rebuilding of Old Town after its destruction during World War II. With my father, I visit Auschwitz and then recount my grandmother&rsquos story of surviving the camps. While in Krakow, we visit my mother&rsquos friend who taught her Polish. On a bike ride through the countryside of the old capital, I swap languages with that woman's son. I leave Poland with my father, both of us reconnected to the country of our blood.

The second part of The Distance Is More Than An Ocean reorients readers in a dislocating move to America. When our parents attempt to quietly settle in a suburb of Orlando, Florida, my brother and I wildly adventure throughout the city. We splash into backyard pools, cheer for Christian weight lifting teams, fight in public, reject communion, and participate in Pentecostal spiritual gifts. When I contemplate other places, noise totters back to silence. In West Virginia, I survive a freak truck slide down a mountain. I cut ties with an elementary school crush who walked past the Virginia Tech killer the day of the massacre. In Colorado, at a summer Christian youth retreat, my brother and I drift apart as twin sisters tug at our attention and I come down with whooping cough. My faith dries up as I suffer from extreme sweating that isn't cured with prayer, but is healed with aluminum&ndashbased medicine that could cause memory loss. Finally, at Chautauqua, I yield to the whisper of God rippling through a Quaker meeting


Copyright Owner

Chris Wiewiora



File Format


File Size

147 pages