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.
Over the course of this semester, I have been quite amazed at how my “brain has stretched” for lack of a better way to describe the phenomenon. The threshold concepts we have been studying in regards to writing have changed my outlook on various aspects of composition; this week is no exception. I have always been interested in how the human brain processes information, hence why I chose the field of psychology for my undergraduate degree. The title of this week’s threshold concept is, “Writing is a Cognitive Activity.” According to Dylan Dryer, one of the premises of writing is, “… if writing is always a social and rhetorical act, it necessarily involves cognition” (71). Further research suggests that not only is writing a social and rhetorical act but, “neural processes essential to writing must be successfully coordinated across different areas of the brain; revision, even for seemingly uncomplicated ‘errors’ is cognitively quite complex” (73).
The human brain has a workspace known as working memory. This is where bits of information are processed and stored for easy access in cognitive events. As Dryer mentions, “… writing is cognitive not only because it draws on the full resources of our nervous system but because it actively influences our nervous system as well” (73). Have you ever stopped to wonder how the human brain facilitates the thought process a writer undergoes when composing? Below is a short video by Trace Dominguez that describes how your brain actually powers your thoughts.
Have you ever noticed that writing a paper, article, or even blog post is easier and more enjoyable when you have an emotional connection to the topic being discussed? Charles Bazerman and Howard Tinberg explain this paradigm, “The emotional engagement of scientific writers for their subject may entail careful attention to evidence and reasoning grounded in prior work in the field and understanding of the theory and methodological principles of the field; yet without a passion for the subject that turns a writer’s full mind and thought to the task of producing new words and ideas, little of value would get written” (74-75). As writers, we love to write about topics in which we have an emotional connection or issues that we find relatable. I know for myself, one of the most challenging forms of writing I have experienced was the standard five-paragraph theme essay in high school. Writing exactly five paragraphs on something of little interest to myself, was not enjoyable. However, the repetitive style that was required led to a familiar situation explained by Chris Anson, “repeated practice of the same mental task or activity can lead to what psychologists call automaticity or unconscious competence, the application of a process or the retrieval of information that doesn’t require conscious attention” (77).
Leigh Hancock, an English instructor for Columbia Gorge Community College, explains to her students how writing involves the full brain. With each hemisphere of the brain specializing in different aspects, they must work together for elements involved in writing to manifest.
Not only is writing a cognitive process, but it also involves metacognition. Metacognition is the process of “thinking” about mental processes! As Tinberg suggests, “Metacognition is not cognition. Performance, however thoughtful, is not the same as awareness of how that performance came to be” (75). One form of metacognition employed by writers is the technique known as reflection. The goal of reflection for a writer is to consider why they made rhetorical choices they chose. As Kara Taczak stated, “… writers who are more attuned to conscious reflection make deeper choices” (79). This process gives writers an opportunity to learn from their methods, identify meaning behind their chosen style of rhetoric, and adapt future writing based on the knowledge they glean from studying their own preferences. Put simply, metacognition is a valuable methodology each writer has the ability to utilize to become a better writer. Taking time to understand their stylistic decisions will help them identify areas for change or development.
Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle, editors. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Utah State University Press, 2016.
Altmann, Gerd. Pixabay. 2019, pixabay.com/illustrations/board-think-structure-solution-765310/.
Anson, Chris M. “Habituated Practice Can Lead to Entrenchment.” 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. 77-78.
Bazerman, Charles, and Howard Tinberg. “Writing is an Expression of Embodied Cognition.” 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. 74-75.
Dominguez, Trace. “This is How Your Brain Powers Your Thoughts.” YouTube, uploaded by Seeker, 9 April 2017, youtu.be/yxUkUaV2VPs.
Dryer, Dylan B. “Writing is (Also Always) A Cognitive Activity.” 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. 71-74.
Hancock, Leigh. “Whole Brain Writing.” YouTube, uploaded by Columbia Gorge Community College, 14 August 2014, youtu.be/uebN8sUvgsc.
“Reflective Writing.” Youtube, uploaded by SkillsTeamHullUni, 3 March 2014, youtu.be/QoI67VeE3ds.
Samuels, S. Jay, and Richard F. Flor. “The Importance of Automaticity for Developing Expertise in Reading.” Reading & Writing Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 2, 1997, pp. 107-121, doi:10.1080/1057356970130202.
Taczak, Kara. “Reflection is Critical for Writers’ Development.” 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. 78-79.
Tinberg, Howard. “Metacognition is Not Cognition.” 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. 75-76.
“What’s Metacognition — and Why Does it Matter?” YouTube, uploaded by Edutopia, 12 October 2018, youtu.be/QJWsIJQHUxM.