Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Amy Sonheim

Second Advisor

Dr. Johnny Wink

Third Advisor

Dr. Christopher Mortenson

Abstract

No history is far from static, not even mine. Some people may think history is stuck in the past, along with the lives that have come before, but if that were the case, there would be no point in studying or even recording history. If it is truly something that dwells only in the past, unmoving, then it would not affect anyone--but it does. As William Faulkner said, "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past."

It is the same with God. God is not confined to a certain time or place. He surrounds his sons and daughters and guides them throughout their lives. A relationship with God is neither static or passive. When I have my quiet time, I think about who He is, listen for His voice, and follow His commands. And I strive to serve Him in all aspects of my life because that is what He has called me to do. Even my academics are a way for me to respond to God, to worship him. He has put a desire to learn and write in me, so when I pursue these in order to bring Him glory, it pleases Him. For me, everything I do points back to God, and writing is how I relate to God. I think of it as my theology of writing--I listen to God, and then I write down my thoughts and prayers. I am dwelling, which means I am always listening and always responding.

A way to respond to God involves responding to histories outside of my own to see how He works in His creation. Take political and personal history, for example. Political history informs one that America was founded in 1776. My personal history tells one that I was born in 1996. Is one of these more truthful and influential than the other? No. They are equally true. These two histories, political and personal, also coexist with each other. The major events that occur in the world affect the personal experiences of the people living at that moment in time. And those personal experiences give one a glimpse into the reality of that time and place. I would not know very much about what my hometown of Blytheville, Arkansas, was like in the 1950s if it were not for my mom's parents, Clarence and Patsy Crosskno. They were both teenagers at this time, and Nana likes to talk about how they first met at the Kream Kastle drive-in. The restaurant is still there and open for business, but whenever I look at it now, I see it through my nana's eyes. I see the cheerful lights, the red and baby blue convertibles shiny from the rain. I see a young lady, eyes bright as she laughs the evening away with a tall, handsome man with reddish-brown hair.

But this is not all I see. My grandparents' experiences did not end in the 50s; history moved and so did they. The effects of the Vietnam War stretched all the way to their little town in Arkansas, and God called them to serve. From 1959 until the late 1960s, Nana worked as a clerk typist. During the 1970s, she cross-trained to the accounting field and worked in the finance department, where she did payroll for all the civilians employed on the Blytheville Air Force Base (about 350). Then she was promoted to the military pay section and was the first woman to be chief of that section. From 1959-1961, Papa was in the army. He got early out and served in the national guard for six months. He was stationed at the army post in Fort Meade, Maryland. When it was time for him to come home, he hitchhiked for a while until he could afford a used car.

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