Line of flight : a journey into memoir : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Creative Writing, Massey University, New Zealand. EMBARGOED until 21 November 2025.

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Massey University
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This Master of Creative Writing thesis presents a memoir, Line of Flight (85%), and goes on to examine the issue of ethics in memoir in an accompanying critical component, A Line to Cross (15%). Line of Flight consists of 19 essays covering distinct episodes from my early childhood through to the recent past. Flight provides a tangible thread to the collection, from an early fascination with becoming airborne, but also from pursuing the many and varied directions in life. These stories range from challenges as a young woman in male dominated pursuits and workplaces, to extreme ‘near death experiences’ in various corners of the globe, and touches on relationships with those I was inspired by, loved, and lost. The collection is not consistently chronological, nor comprehensive, but instead follows a line of an evolving understanding of humanity and all that surrounds us; the cumulative result of experiences and relationships across 50 years of life. A Line to Cross is an exegesis which focuses on ethics. I compare two principal texts, The Mirror Book, by Charlotte Grimshaw, and Educated, by Tara Westover. This essay explores ‘the why’ or justification for writing these and other memoir, and ‘the how’, the tools or craft each memoirist employs to minimise or mitigate harm, particularly when writing about family. A Line to Cross refers to the metaphor of a line in the sand, the decision to cross into ethically challenging territory by revealing experiences that involve family or friends, episodes or commentary that they might prefer to remain buried. The critical accompaniment was a necessary and valued adjunct to the creative work. Ethics was a major consideration when justifying then crafting Line of Flight. The research and consideration greatly assisted in the approach and revision of some of the more confronting essays in my own work. It is important to note that the critical component, A Line to Cross, is simply an exploration. Ethics in memoir is a personal and subjective area of investigation. Just as any line in the sand can shift with the wind, there are more questions than answers.
Embargoed until 21 November 2025