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To the outside world, Northern California might be trees, granola, hippies, rivers, snowboarders, environmentalists, farming, beaches, diverse wildlife, and wealth. Through a series of loosely interlocking fiction stories, this thesis explores the Northern California below the surface where people work as garbage collectors by day and attend community college by night, where teenage girls scam people in the park for free alcohol, where lovers spend their date night as part of a nude human-chain to protect an old growth redwood from being cut down, and where animal rights activists smoke cigarettes and seek love. Informed by personal experience and a breadth of Northern California writers from Gary Snyder to Ursula K. Le Guin, this thesis aims to contribute to the long tradition of understanding place through character driven storytelling.
Adviser: Jonis Agee