All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Kerry Madden-Lunsford

Advisory Committee Members

James Braziel

Jaci Wells

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


Insulation and Paper reflects on my childhood and teenage years as a dreamy, adventure-seeking teenager who faced the harsh realities of living through an EF-4 tornado. This piece explores the ups and downs of being homeschooled, the scars of unprocessed trauma, complex family bonds, and growing up being Catholic and homeschooled. The story starts on April 26, 2011, the night before a deadly tornado outbreak, where I was writing on a story titled, Atallas. The first few chapters demonstrate how obsessed I was with fantasy, dance, storms, and adventure, being stuck at home with only a few friends. As the story continues, an EF-4 tornado demolishes much of my hometown. While it barely missed our house, but the tornado tore down multiple trees around my house, trees that had come to represent my childhood. I’m left picking up the pieces, slowly realizing these trees symbolized a sort of death to my childhood. However, after the tornado, I let go of a childhood crush, started making serious friends, gained confidence in my awkwardness, and even met my future husband. This first part explores up to the day after the tornado. Readers will get to know most of the main characters through this section and understand the setup for the more extensive exploration of self later in the memoir.



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