Bluebirds and Faith, Elephant Wisdom, and Poetic Christian Discourse may now be found on Christian Publishers’ website. See below for links!
Bluebirds and Faith is a poetry collection that celebrates God’s gift of eternal grace by finding joy, humility, and comfort in our surroundings. Inspired by the death of a beloved father, Grant shares her journey of sorrow and healing in a world that seems so incredibly far away from heaven. Finding mercy in the wings of a bluebird, Grant discovers that the separation between heaven and earth may not be as vast as we think. Poetry, one of the world’s most treasured artistic expressions, is the vessel used to explore faith in a world stricken with fear and sin. Free verse and Haiku poetic forms are spread heavily throughout. Grant hopes sharing her spiritual evolution will bring solace and peace to others at a time in their life when they feel no one else is listening. He always listens. God bless.
Elephant Wisdom is a poetry collection that explores topics equivalent to “the elephant in the middle of the room.” In other words, through a variety of poetic forms, utilizing a combination of free-verse, narrative, and rhythmic components, the poems encourage readers to broaden their minds and consider connections between science and religion while introducing the paradox of collective consciousness and universal forces. Unfortunately, loss is a topic that humanity has difficulty addressing with their friends and loved ones, leaving a significant lack of support for those who have or are currently experiencing grief. Elephant Wisdom addresses this gap of communal support through taboo themes such as infant death.
Poetic Christian Discourse, Vol. 1, is an inspirational poetry collection that offers readers a sense of hope, acknowledging the idea that humanity is not, never has been, and never will be perfect. The collection embraces Christian living, inviting readers to apply concepts from the Bible in their everyday lives while highlighting how elements of scientific discovery further provide evidential support of a divine creator. The past year and a half have been uniquely challenging and isolating for many, and it is during these times that people begin to look for meaning and purpose in their lives. Poetic Christian Discourse encourages readers to accept the human nature of sinning; it fosters the idea that we are not alone. Tomorrow is a new day, and by embracing our universal faults, we may find hope through unity and faith.
Writing, like life, is a series of events and experiences that lead the writer to traverse different paths. Often times, this exploratory process remains in the shadows, out of sight, and unbeknownst to each writer. As participants in our communities and disciplines, many times, we don’t recognize how our perspectives change over time as a result of our life experiences. In other words, we write what we know. However, sometimes, when we write, we don’t realize what we know. An excellent way to learn more about oneself, quite frankly, is to journal. By writing daily about your thoughts, feelings, experiences, and fears, you will begin to notice trends and realize how much you didn’t know about yourself. For more information on how to get started journaling, The Writing Cooperative has a great article that will help you begin an adventure to self awareness.
There are inherent biases in our voices, and those biases contribute to each writer’s message. Tony Scott so adeptly put this concept into perspective, “Writers are not separate from their writing, and they don’t just quickly and seamlessly adapt to new situations. Rather, writers are socialized, changed, through their writing in new environments, and these changes can have deep implications” (49). This concept reminds me of how varied each person’s childhood may be. From the conditions of each individual household, to what types of opportunities and events in which the child is exposed, to the dynamics of the community in which they were raised, no two people will share the exact same experience growing up. This, in itself, creates diversity amongst the masses. We all bring to the table different observations and understandings. Therefore, our writing not only shapes our identities and ideologies, but our identities and ideologies shape our writing.
By the process of being immersed into specific learning disciplines, otherwise known as discourse communities, or being exposed to conventions associated with these disciplines, writers naturally begin to think and associate their own beliefs within a similar theoretical framework as the discipline. For example, an undergraduate Psychology student is learning industry-specific vocabulary, methods of research, and styles of writing related to their specific field of study. After reading journal article after journal article and beginning to understand the process of research, unknowingly, the student will begin to write in a similar style to what they have been reading. The caveat is the student may be completely unaware of their change in writing style. This phenomenon is being studied to further our understanding of how discourse communities contribute to the student or individual developing institutional norms.
Ethnographic (scientific descriptions in regards to customs, norms, and differences among populations or groups of people) perspective is one type of consideration that research is pointing to as a means of identifying specific assumptions each discipline expects students to know before being exposed to the program. Freed and Broadhead’s article, College Composition and Communication, discusses and defines this concept further (163). The information gleaned from ethnographic research would be very helpful for trying to establish a platform for teaching creative writing within a specific community. Below is a short video which explains the value and processes of ethnographic research.
As with all technological advances, the composition of writing has changed over time. As Kathleen Blake Yancey points out, “Writers’ identities are, in part, a function of the time when they live: their histories, identities, and processes are situated in a given historical context” (52). The construct of teaching writing has also changed over time. As Yancey indicates, “Teachers have shifted from teaching writing through analysis of others’ texts to teaching writing through engaging students in composing itself.” Writing used to only encompass the written word, but through advances in the field of technology, writers can utilize images, videos, and sounds to convey a multimodal experience to the reader (53). The diversity of individual life experiences culminating into each writer’s individualistic style creates a paradoxical effect for teachers trying to educate others within the discipline. No two students share the same life experiences, which then begs the question, “Should the instruction of writing be uniform or tailored to the individual?”
Furthermore, as suggested by Andrea Lunsford, “Even when writing is private or meant for the writer alone, it is shaped by the writer’s earlier interactions with writing and with other people and with all the writer has read and learned” (54). A recent University of Florida study determined that what college students read directly affected their syntactic sophistication; those that primarily read journal articles and literary fiction, or general nonfiction displayed higher levels of sophistication (Douglas and Miller, 77). This adds to the level of complexity in how to teach a streamlined process (of writing) across a diversity of students. When it comes to writing, students will always draw upon previous knowledge of how to draft the text, organize the argument, or details of the subject in general (Lunsford, 55).
Douglas, Yellowlees, and Samantha Miller. “Syntactic Complexity of Reading Content Directly Impacts Complexity of Mature Students’ Writing.” www.sciedupress.com/journal/index.php/ijba/article/view/9481/5736
Freed, Richard C., and Glenn J Broadhead. “Discourse Communities, Sacred Texts, and Institutional Norms.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 38, no. 2, 1987, pp. 163. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/357716.
Lunsford, Andrea A. “Writing is Informed by Prior Experience.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition, edited by Adler-Kassner, Linda and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 54-55.
Scott, Tony. “Writing Enacts and Creates Identities and Ideologies.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition, edited by Adler-Kassner, Linda and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 49.
The Sweet Spot. “What is Ethnography and How Does it Work?” YouTube, uploaded 6 Dec. 2017, youtu.be/_c1SUHTG6B8.
Turner, Eric. “The Best Way to Learn From Yourself.” The Writing Cooperative, 22 July 2018, writingcooperative.com/the-best-way-to-learn-from-yourself-cc9713badd26. Accessed 13 Sept. 2019.
Vesalainen, Tero. Pixabay. 2019, pixabay.com/photos/thought-idea-innovation-imagination-2123970/
Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “Writers’ Histories, Processes, and Identities Vary.” Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition, edited by Adler-Kassner, Linda and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 52-53.