Tis the Season to Type: Chapbook Contest & Laura’s List

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Students, congratulations on being done with finals! Now it is time to enjoy your three weeks of freedom. Here are a couple of ideas about how to keep your minds turning and your fingers typing.

Chapbook Contest 2014 is underway. This is an excellent time to relax and write 10-20 pages of prose, poetry or a hybrid.

The Chapbook Champion will receive $100, have a small print run of your book and be the featured reader at the annual Script reading.

Deadline is Friday, February 7 at 5 p.m.

When submitting to the English front desk, please don’t put your name on the manuscript, rather attach name, major and contact info on a separate sheet. There is no entry fee and multiple entries are permitted.

This year’s guest judge will be Esther Lee, award-winning author and poet. For more information, contact Annie Stillar [astillar@whitworth.edu].

Laura’s List is still accepting submissions!

In celebration of over 35 years of Laura Bloxham’s Summer Reading List, Whitworth University’s Department of English invites contributions for a single-volume publication titled Laura’s List, forthcoming April 2014.

Submissions should be brief (100-250 words), and they should explore significant reading experiences with titles from Laura’s lists or from your own selections. To contribute, email submissions to lauraslist14@gmail.com.

Deadline is Wednesday, January 15.

For questions, contact Jessica Weber, Editor [jweber14@my.whitworth.edu], or Pamela Corpron Parker, Chair, Department of English [pamelaparker@whitworth.edu].

Happy Holidays!

EL Alum’ Update: Ned Hayes, ’90, and his novel Sinful Folk

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Doug Sugano first introduced me to Chaucer and to literature of the medieval period. Doug Sugano is in many ways directly responsible for the interest I have today in medieval literature and drama. In fact, I quote directly from Doug’s version of the “N-Town” dramas in my new novel Sinful Folk, as a way of acknowledging that influence and that debt. Doug’s passion for medieval drama has been a part of my writing life for the past twenty years, and I have continued to read Chaucer, write about medieval characters and find meaning in these ancient texts due to Doug’s early introduction.

Later, in the 1990s, I studied medieval literature under noted scholar Richard Emmerson. And as I read Chaucer, I came across a bit of history from the 14th century. Children died in a tragic house fire in a distant village. The families were in such agony that they took their dead children across England to the King’s throne to demand justice. The same night I read of this incident, I couldn’t sleep – I stayed up and wrote a rapid beginning to the story.

But then I put the story on a shelf for nearly ten years. Then, one day, as I was watching my children playing, I thought of the agony of child-loss, and the pain I would feel if one of my children was lost. I wondered how far a mother would go to protect her child’s memory.

So in 2007, I suddenly started writing the book again and my writing rapidly focused on one woman’s story. One mother loving her child. One tragedy. One relentless urge to find answers. I began to think deeply about children, mothers, families, and loyalty.

I picked my old pages back up and suddenly I was haunted by the character of Miriam/Mear – I almost felt that she was a ghost who wanted her story to be told, and I was impelled to tell the truth of her life.

By the time I finished the first draft, I was overwhelmed by the tenacity and perseverance of Mear – her life showed me what strength is hidden in the most unlikely heroines. She showed me how strong a woman can be. What power can be concealed in silence. Mear showed me the power of a mother’s love.

Ned Hayes currently lives in Olympia, WA, with his wife and two children. During his day job, he is a successful director of product teams at Intel, while writing novels in his spare time. Sinful Folk will be released January 2014 by Campanile Books and available in hardcover, as an e-book and as an unabridged audiobook.

EL Alum Updates: Dani (Dubois) Erickson and Katie Palmer on Holistic Living

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3 Tips on Living a Holistic Life

by Dani Erickson

Katie Palmer and I went through Whitworth together as fellow English majors with a mutual love of beauty. We bonded over the complicated grace of poetry, the intense yet gratifying allure of writing workshops, and the multifaceted satisfaction of a good cup of coffee.

Beyond that, we both found inspiration in the creativity of lifestyle blogs. And, at the same time, we also had a similar feeling of dissatisfaction in the depth of those blogs. They seemed to be so focused on superficial things: the next great sweater, the perfect hostess gift. We love these things, but we also crave more.

 So, we came together to create our own website — She’s Charming — where women in particular can be inspired to be better people while also getting a daily dose of all things beautiful. We share the latest trends in fashion and decor, our favorite eats and travels, but most importantly, we challenge women to work on their inner-selves and on their career.

Our platform is based on living a holistic life, and we personally try to follow a few tips as we pursue this goal. Take a look, and if our principles ring true with you, head on over to shes-charming.com for more.

1. Invest locally.

Community is arguably the most important part of life, so if you don’t invest in those around you, you’ll never see the importance. Cultivate a solid foundation wherever you are, so you can have the support and confidence to develop all areas of your life. Learn from each other, challenge each other, and grow together.

2. Explore the world.

Just as important as our local community is engaging with new and foreign things. As Katie wrote in one of our recent posts, seeing and experiencing new things informs how we look at the world. She writes, “The reason I travel is for that moment when you return home and your ordinary world looks slightly different.” We fully believe exploring outside of the ordinary is essential to living holistically for this very reason. Chase after opinions and ways of life that are different from you own — there’s always something new to learn.

3. Constantly work to improve yourself.

There are few things more satisfying than conquering the task before you. Maybe it’s a goal you’ve set, a long-term project you finally finished, or simply a bad habit you kicked once and for all. Be competitive with yourself to inspire growth. While it’s important to focus on one thing and hone your craft, it’s also crucial to pursue a balance of all areas of life in order to lead a holistic one. Improve your skills, improve your goals, improve your relationships and in doing so, improve yourself.

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Dani graduated with an English degree from Whitworth this past year, and now lives in Seattle and works at Nordstrom as a product copywriter. She enjoys that fast-paced urban environment, the awe-inspiring views that Seattle has to offer, and passing exactly six coffee shops on her five-block walk to work.

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Katie, a recent graduate from Whitworth University with an English degree, now works for People to People Ambassador Programs promoting travel for young students. She lives in Spokane, Wash., where she enjoys sampling the local coffee shops and is constantly dreaming of her next adventurous getaway.

All images are from here.

Festivity-Packed Friday

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Don’t miss This Whitworth Life put on by our very own Nicole Sheets and her EL 347 Creative Nonfiction Writing! This storytelling event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, in the HUB’s Multipurpose Room. 

Nine members from various facets of the Whitworth community, including the legendary Leonard Oakland, will read five to eight minute stories about a defining moment in their lives. Following each story, a panel of faculty members will provide commentary.

“My hope is that this storytelling event will add to Whitworth’s already robust sense of community,” Nicole Sheets says. “All of the storytellers have some connection to Whitworth; our cast represents students, faculty, facilities services, campus security, program assistants, administrators, coaches and trustees.”

Story readers will include:

  • Casey Armstrong, Whitworth custodian
  • Joel Diaz, senior sociology major and Whitworth security officer
  • Austin Foglesong, freshman English major
  • Mackenna Kuehl, senior English major
  • Leonard Oakland, Whitworth professor of English
  • Ken Roberts, member of the Whitworth Board of Trustees
  • Toby Schwarz, Whitworth professor of kinesiology and athletic coach
  • Annie Stillar, program assistant for Whitworth English department
  • Kathy Storm, associate provost for Whitworth faculty development

“Stories remind us that everyone’s a complex person, that we’re all storehouses of experience,” Nicole says. “Plus, stories are fun.”

The faculty panel will be comprised of Casey Andrews, Whitworth associate professor of English; Suzette McGonigal, Whitworth counselor; and Raja S. Tanas, Whitworth professor of sociology.

Then, head over to Westminster Round’s Christmas Party at 7 p.m., 10713 N. Nelson for food, conversation, holiday story-time, and a photo booth. Carpooling will be available in the HUB around 6:45, after This Whitworth Life.