Seventeen Beats

Thumbnail Image




Williamson-Hopp, Cassandra

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Guelph


Seventeen Beats is a work of creative nonfiction that endeavours to explore the tension between chaos and control in the life of a girl as she grows into a young woman. The manuscript is structured like an anthology of memory—traumatic memory, emphatically: non-chronological puzzle pieces which, as they fit together, create a fuller, more vivid picture of this girl’s/woman’s life. The narrative details the idiosyncrasies and consequences posed by an eating disorder; men who leave their marks, both physical and mental; sexuality as a form of retaliation and reclamation. Seventeen Beats is the retelling of a life through a multitude of lenses: from the satirical to the uncomfortable, from the sensual to the enigmatic. Patterned after the body’s most vital organ, the work is separated into four sections, each representing a chamber of the heart. It is composed of seventeen chapters, symbolizing a girl’s heart rate on the precipice of failure: seventeen beats per minute.



creative nonfiction, chaos, control