Diversity Monologues: What is a community?

Robinson Teaching Theatre was filled with tears, laughter and applause March 31 as students shared personal monologues on how they come to know community. The Diversity Monologues were established by the Director of Diversity Initiatives and Social Justice Michael Benitez Jr. at Dickinson College. The monologues were created in order to showcase the talents of students while calling attention to issues of diversity and social justice, according to speakoutnow.org. Benitez is currently the dean of diversity and inclusion and the chief officer diversity at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

The monologues began with an introduction from President Beck Taylor. Taylor referred to Whitworth’s mission statement which states, “The University’s mission is to provide its diverse student body an education of the mind and the heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.” To be Christian means to be radically inclusive. To be Christian means to see ourselves as a part of a larger tapestry of human creation, Taylor said.

Coordinator for Diversity, Equity & Inclusive Ministries Stephanie Nobles-Beans prayed with the audience and for the students who shared their monologues before introducing David Garcia, assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Garcia thanked some of the forty individuals who played a role in putting the event together.

Benitez introduced the students sharing their monologues and provided commentary on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in between student performances. Benitez also shared some of his own poetry.

Senior Marianne Sfeir was the first student to share her monologue, “Tired: Reflection of a Lebanese-American.” Sfeir is from Beirut, Lebanon which has suffered from the ramifications of a religious civil war, she said.

“Politics, religion, war,” Sfeir said “These three words were the axis of my world. They told me who I was and who I am and who I am is Lebanese.”

Junior Emily Thorpe thinks diversity is about more than people’s race or ethnicity, which is a factor of diversity, but it is also about people’s experiences.

“No two people have the same story and no two people see the world in the same way,” Thorpe said. “So I think that’s what diversity means to me.”

Sfeir said that she’s tired of the sectarianism in Lebanon, which divides people who hate and use that hate in the name of God. She’s tired of the division that is created by the language of people, Sfeir. She came to the United States hoping to find something different. But she was disappointed, Sfeir said.

“In China they created this great wall,” Sfeir said. “In America this great wall is called 'eamana' for which the English translation is blindness.”

Blindness is a system that glorifies winners and losers, Sfeir said. It is calling others too sensitive when you have not taken the time to listen, Sfeir said.

“Community is when a human being looks into the eyes of another human being and doesn’t stop at the divisions created by politics, religion, war,” Sfeir said. “But with humility acknowledges their blindness and says, ‘please teach me more’.”

Freshman Olyvia Salter shared her monologue “The Art of Storytelling” about the elders of her family as well as the individuals who helped motivate her goals and dreams which include artists, writers and family members.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants. A foster child and militaristic man are my parents. A bipolar published poet is my aunt and a recovered addict is my grandmother,” Salter said. “I am a product of survival.”

Her habitat does not shape who she is but it creates knowledge and understanding, Salter said. She wants to use that knowledge to conform hearts and use her education, love, respect and creativity to reconstruct society, she said. She loves to converse with the older generation and the stories they tell, which may fall on their last set of ears, Salter said.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants. A believer and a war veteran are my parents. A social activist is my aunt. A caregiver is my grandmother,” Salter said. “I am a product of survival.”

The best part about the monologues was hearing from each individual, Thorpe said.

“It is so incredible that even though everyone was given the same prompt, each performance was completely different than the one before it.”

Literary Live Action Clue

A quarter after 7 p.m. last Friday night, about 20 students pulled out their magnifying glasses and detective hats and started searching for clues around the halls of Westminster. Westminster Round hosted the event, and brought the board game to life.  Before the event, Westminster Round members hid cards with names of literary characters, places and weapons around the rooms of Westminster.

Teams of students had seven minutes in each of the eight  rooms to find the cards. Teams could also re-hide cards once they found them and come up with their own team names.

“I’m pretty proud of the one I put in the hand sanitizer dispenser,” junior Lydia Pierson said, a member of the winning team.

Senior Vanessa Henzler said she liked the event because it’s fun to search, find and hide things.

“In elementary school, I was playing hide and seek with my brother and babysitter, and I hid in a shirt rack, behind the shirts,” Henzler said. “I knew at that moment, 'I’m pretty good at this.'”

Although Henzler’s team didn’t win, the “Sneaky Sleuths” was one of the teams to find the most clues. The team “Mystery Machine” guessed two out of three of the right answers.

This was the fourth annual Literary Live Action Clue, said senior Katie Cunningham, Westminster Round president. There have been small refinements made to the game over the years, like designing and printing nicer clue cards and allowing all teams to move the cards in the rooms. Theming the rooms was also not part of the original game.

Each classroom had an image projected on the screen and music playing that fit a certain theme. One room had the character and music from “The Shining,” while another was decorated as the Room of Requirement from “Harry Potter.”

Cunningham and the rest of the Westminster Round team came up with the names for the characters, weapons and rooms.

“We had one meeting where we just hung out in a classroom [to come up with the names]; everyone just shouts stuff out and we vote on what we want to use,” Cunningham said. “It only took about 30 minutes.”

One character card featured “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan,” the first line of the novel “Ulysses,” which is the focus of a class many English majors are currently taking.

“It’s fun because the stuff that we use is kind of reflective of what people are reading in the department that year,” Cunningham said. “In English we have a lot of events that happen every year, but they’re also fresh because different people are reading different books.”

Students got familiar with the department building as well as the reading list.

“Checking out the computers, the white board, creates a relationship with the space and department and breaks down boundaries,” Cunningham said. “I think when you come back to school [after the event] it makes you feel more comfortable with the spaces.”

The writer's life

Junior Josh Tuttle, an English major on the writing and literature tracks and computer science minor, has been passionate about writing from a young age. After learning the alphabet as a child, Tuttle used to type on his family's old typewriter. “I have always wanted to be a writer; the problem was when you’re a little kid, the challenge of being a writer isn’t necessarily the writing, it’s having something to say,” Tuttle said. “I didn’t have anything to say, because I hadn’t had the right experiences to have anything to say.”

Tuttle has come a long way since his typewriter days and over time has found many things to say. “Eventually I got older, and you both get more life experiences, and with practice, you get more facility with language and writing, and mental stamina,” Tuttle said.

Last year, Tuttle won the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts essay contest and will have one of his short stories published in an anthology entitled “Songs of My Selfie,” a collection of 17 short stories by millennial fiction writers.

“I had always wanted to get a short story published and I hadn’t been able to yet, so that was why I was so excited to hear that it was going to be published," Tuttle said.

Tuttle’s soon-to-be published short story is a fictional work; however, that may not be the writing style he continues to pursue.

“I feel a bit unmoored right now,” Tuttle said. “I sort of stumbled upon creative non-fiction, and I think that will probably end up being more of my thing. That does make me a little sad, because I really wanted to be a fiction writer, but I've discovered that I like creative non-fiction more.”

Before coming to Whitworth, Tuttle served in the army for two and a half years, where he worked as an Abrams crewman and a Stryker Mobile Gun System crewman.

“I picked up a book when I was in the Army called "Reading Like a Writer," by a woman named Francine Pros,” Tuttle said. “I picked it up and it sounded interesting, because I had always wanted to be a writer. The book was fantastic, and that was the first time that I ever really felt like I could see the path forward.”

After the Army, Tuttle attended De Anza community college (CA), where his writing professor, Charles Gray, reminded him of how much he enjoyed being in an English class environment.

“I loved the environment so much,” Tuttle said. “Without that experience, I really don’t think that I would have had the necessary insight to want to come to a place like Whitworth, where I would be in a good place to explore that side of things, so I owe a lot to him.”

After attending De Anza, Tuttle eventually transferred to Whitworth, where he was drawn to the English department.

“I came to Whitworth to be a computer science major, because I wanted to work for Microsoft,” Tuttle said. “I also wanted to explore the writing side [of myself], and I figured my opportunity to do that would be better served at a liberal arts university than some state school. And I was right. Our writing program, on the creative writing side, is just fantastic.”

There has been no single person of inspiration for Tuttle, but rather a whole department of support.

“Our professors are so supportive and so wonderful, after coming from places like the Army and De Anza College,” Tuttle said. “Just the personal relationships with these professors, I don’t think I could name anyone in [Whitworth’s] English department, that I haven’t had something like that with.”

“Songs of My Selfie,” the anthology featuring Tuttle’s short story, will be available in print by April 5.

 

Kailee Carneau Staff Writer

Contact Kailee at kcarneau17@my.whitworth.edu

Poetry and Pie: Students gathered for a night of pie and self-expression

The coffee shop opened to students and faculty ready to share stanzas and dessert on Nov. 13 . Students shared their work, with topics ranging from grandfathers to Italian plums to small moments that would be otherwise forgotten.

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On Friday evening students gathered in the Mind and Hearth to share their thoughts and ideas through poetry. Along with poetry, the event hosted by English department club Westminster Round featured blueberry, apple and pumpkin pie.

Senior Hannah Cobb has attended Poetry and Pie three times prior to this year, and has always enjoyed hearing what peers and faculty read, she said.

This year, she read her poetry aloud for the rst time at the event.

“[Reading] was terrifying," Cobb said. I had never done this before...this is me kind of forcing myself out of my comfort zone a little bit to share it.”

Cobb draws inspiration for her poems through moments she notices, she said. Poetry and Pie is a time for her not just to express her thoughts, but to hear everyone else’s, she said.

“I just love hearing what everyone else is thinking,” Cobb said. “I think poems are such an honest re ection of yourself and who you are and what’s going on in your brain.”

Some of the poets touched on serious subjects, but other works brought laughter to the coffee shop. One such poem by English professor Fred Johnson expressed a list of 10 situations a possum might find itself in, which had students chuckling all the way through.

The event also featured poet Cathy Bobb, wife of English professor Vic Bobb, who shared a handful of poems reflecting on tragedies in her life and on her family’s struggles with mental illness.

Freshman Ainsley Detwiler attended the event, and liked Cathy Bobb’s work for the background and depth that she put into her poetry, along with the eerie feeling Detwiler got after hearing some of the poems, Detwiler said. Cathy Bobb’s work also features a favorite, titled “The Politics of Pie,” where Cathy Bobb makes a pie for her family, but continuously eats it, making up excuses for each new helping.

Detwiler was also impressed by the unintimidating atmosphere the audience created.

“It was really relaxed...the people surrounding were very nonjudgmental, if anything they were really encouraging,” Detwiler said. “It was all around very welcoming and cozy and supportive.”

 

Meghan Foulk

Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Foulk at

meghanfoulk19@my.whitworth.edu

Influential poet B.H. Fairchild inspires students

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The audience listened with rapt attention as poetry filled the hall. The poet had each member hanging on for the next phrase, filling the space with the flow of his stanzas, spinning imagery and narrative.

B.H. Fairchild is an accomplished poet, and has won many awards such as the Beatrice Hawley Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, according to his Poetry Foundation profile.

Fairchild’s poetry reading was held on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Weyerhaeuser Hall. The performance drew in faculty, students and other members of the Spokane community. Some students were required to attend for various classes, and many were excited to hear the writer’s work.

“I had read a few B.H. Fairchild poems in high school and I really liked it,” freshman Jordan Seiersen said. “It was interesting hearing his poems out loud rather than reading them.”

The reading reinforced the importance of reading poems out loud. That was especially true for Fairchild’s poems because they are from personal experience, which gives his stories a deeper meaning and makes them applicable to the population. They are quite beautiful, Seiersen said.

English professor Thomas Caraway introduced Fairchild to the audience. A long-time fan of the poet’s work, Caraway loves how Fairchild brings in sound, metaphor, figurative language, as well as interesting narratives and characters, which makes him such a powerful writer, Caraway said.

“He’s able to combine all of the elements that make poetry so important,” Caraway said. “All these things kind of come together like at the end of a symphony where you’ve had all of these individual strings. You know, the choir part is good over here, and the strings are good over here, and the brass, every- thing, and with the end, the crescendo it all comes together. And that’s what his poetry does for me.”

Fairchild read the poems “Language, Nonsense, Desire,” “The Limits of my Language: English 85B,” “The Deposition,” “Cigarettes,” “What He Said, What She Said” and other pieces from his book “The Blue Buick.”

Fairchild provided commentary on each poem before he read them to provide insight into his personal experiences. He explained the inspirations for each piece, ranging from a high school Spanish video to his days working as a young adult in his hometown.

Fairchild spoke of his days before poetry, and his revelation that days of “work, eat, sleep” were aimless. He wanted a purpose, which he found in literature, because there is always a point and a promise. Poetry fulfilled that purpose, and the influences of growing up in a blue-collar American society is evident, Fairchild said.

His work explores the area where he was born and the empty landscapes that accompany it, along with the lives of the working residents. Many times his poems include his own family and friends, according to his Poetry Foundation profile.

The audience didn’t stay silent throughout the performance. Many times the silence was broken by laughter, usually caused by Fairchild’s humorous anecdotes. Students often take too many literary classes, and could not accept a poem for what it was an enjoy it, Fairchild said.

The friendly atmosphere brought many poetry lovers and new enthusiasts together.

 

Meghan Foulk

Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Foulk at

meghanfoulk19@my.whitworth.edu

Local Spokane author with ties to Whitworth publishes his first novel for young adult readers

Melissa Voss Staff Writer

Guy L. Pace, a Spokane author whose wife graduated from Whitworth, published his first novel on Aug. 12. In this novel, Pace begs to answer the question, “Can youth and faith defeat evil?” Pace’s novel, titled "Sudden Mission," takes place in a dystopia setting and follows three teenage friends as they face a cunning enemy. The enemy they are up against is Satan.

"Sudden Mission" integrates Christian themes into a thrilling plot and relatable characters that appeal to a young adult audience.

“I wrote a book I would have wanted to read when I was 11, with lots of action and excitement,” Pace said. The novel’s protagonists, Paul, Amy and Joe, are called on to help restore reality after Satan–called “the Adversary” throughout the novel – throws the world into chaos. Throughout the course of the novel the friends are challenged by “everything from zombies to Samurai,” Pace wrote in the novel’s synopsis. Their biggest challenge, however, is staying strong in their faith through their numerous struggles.

Before retiring in 2011, Pace served in the Navy, worked as a journalist and spent 20 years working in higher education and information technology. After his retirement, Pace threw himself into a newfound passion.

“As a Christian, it felt like a natural flow,” Pace said, on why he decided to write a Christian -based novel. He believes that there are important spiritual values in keeping faith in every aspect of your life, a concept that played a key role in his novel.

For Pace, the writing process was unique. As a former journalist Pace said he was used to working under a deadline and therefore decided to write his novel in one month. For inspiration Pace turned to National Novel Writing Month, often referred to as NaNoWriMo, a non-profit and month long event that occurs every November. NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write a novel over the course of the month, a challenge that, in 2012, Guy Pace accepted.

“I’ve always been a hard worker,” Pace said. After setting up some preliminary character sketches and setting details, Pace began the writing process and had the first draft of his novel completed by the end of the month. Although he had put in time to plan beforehand, “the outline didn’t last long once the character took over,” Pace said. After work shopping the novel with friends and editors, as well as sending it around to many publishers specializing in Christian literature, Pace finally found a publisher in Vox Dei Publishing, an imprint of BookTrope Editions. Pace was able to work directly with the people at Vox Dei throughout every step of the publishing process. From editing to cover design, his approval and input was valued by the publishers. For that reason, he feels fortunate to have worked with BookTrope, he said.

“Traditional publishing often takes a couple of years to finally result in a finished product,” Pace said. “Working with agents and many layers of publishers would make the process less personalized.” "Sudden Mission" was released last month and Pace is very excited about the future of his novel. His hope for "Sudden Mission" is for it to get out for kids to read as a positive example of an action novel in a dystopian real-world setting, Pace said.

“I want to become a New York Times best-selling billionaire,” Pace said jokingly. However in the meantime, he is glad to have the book inspire young readers. The author is already working on the second installation to his book series, which he hopes will be released next spring. Pace will hold a book reading and signing at Indaba Coffee on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m.