Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Clint McCown

Second Advisor

Katy Resch

Third Advisor

Ross Collin


In 2010, fourteen year-olds Miles and Sam meet at summer camp, and in their two week stay, they spend it falling for each other. They create a bond more special than Miles could ever imagine, sweeping from place to place throughout camp. So after Sam drowns one night in the lake, Miles experiences a sense of despair that tears him apart—figuratively and literally. How does one overcome the death of a boy they once loved? That is a question Miles tries to answer almost a decade later—by returning to the place where it all happened.

Miles Towards Paradise and Death uses a road trip to explore themes such as community, poverty, race, sexuality, and the longstanding effects of grief. All of this equates to Miles taking himself and two drifters, Zoe and Wyatt, along with their pit bull, Skip, on an adventure he could only imagine—whether it’s for better or for worse is something very much up for debate. These are the first seven chapters of that adventure.


© 2022 Justin Tafios Wafawanaka

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Saturday, March 09, 2222

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