Publication Date


Degree Type

Creative Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



Date of Closing Conversation


First Committee Member

Chantel Acevedo

Second Committee Member

Jaswinder Bolina

Third Committee Member

Michael Nye


Toward Cardboard is about a father and son's investigation into the disappearance of Grace Koertig, ex-wife and mother, respectively. The father neglected his family after years of pursuing his career as a productivity guru. He became so successful that he developed a cult following literally. The cult calls themselves The Producers. The father himself, James Koertig, was previously referred to as the Peddler of Productivity Porn. James receives a letter implicating him and the cult in her disappearance, and he begins his own investigation into what really happened to his ex-wife. Meanwhile, his less than amicable separation with his wife sends St. Louis detectives to his new one-bedroom as soon as she’s reported missing. Only, something seems off about these detectives. Afraid that the letter will land him in jail, he withholds it from the police. Instead, he elicits the help of his son, Thomas, and father, Pawpaw. To recruit his son, he has to overcome years of absent parenthood, and to recruit his father, he has to overcome years of hostile ignorance. Thomas agrees to help, fearful of what might have happened to his mother. Having previously suffered from schizophreniform, a temporary form of schizophrenia, Thomas struggles to identify the right clues or avenues for investigation because of his paranoid and hallucinatory past, all the while conversing with one of his old delusions, Sarah. These three generations follow clue after clue, discovering a seedy underbelly in the Gateway to the West, full of underground cults, satanic ritual masses, black-hat hacker groups, and much more. The three will need to overcome their checkered pasts if they want any hope of saving Grace.


Fiction; Noir; Mystery; St. Louis

Annotated Bibliography.xlsx (43 kB)
Annotated Extracurricular Bibliography

How Metamodernism Might Make Poetry Relevant Again.docx (174 kB)
Critical Paper

Lampe Writing Sample.docx (115 kB)
Writing Sample

Self-Assessment.docx (116 kB)
Self Assessment

Permanent Embargo