The Friendship of Phantoms: How Literature Kept Me from Loneliness

May 29th, 2014 § 0

Since I was a young child, I have carried a knife by its blade. No matter how many times I prayed, no matter how many times I dug into my heart trying to pick out the blade, the feeling would not go away. Hell remained within me as if I were Satan from Paradise Lost wandering the earth, except instead of seeking revenge, I sought a way to assuage the pain.

I don’t know why I gravitated towards novels. Maybe it was because when I had a character to cling to, I was never truly alone. The library was where I first found friends. Books are quiet, orderly, accepting creatures, and, for a while, I could forget about the knife I carried.

But the mere act of reading is not enough to save oneself from loneliness. As I grew older, I found that the old stories of talking animals, knights and dragons had begun to lose their luster. I needed a story that would touch me deep within my bones and understand my pain.

My first gothic novel was The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Within its pages, I discovered a character who understood what it was to be alone. The Phantom was a character with a kindred spirit, someone I could look towards whenever I thought I was alone in my suffering. I had finally found a friend who understood. The realization that there were authors who had created characters I could sympathize with gave me hope. I no longer had to carry the knife blade alone.

Now in my final year of college, I am finally starting to let the blade go. The knife is slowly dissolving in the camaraderie I have found in my closest friends. But even though I now have friends of flesh and blood, I will always have a special affection for the fictional friends of my childhood—the Raskolnikovs, the Frankensteins and Phantoms who taught me that no one, not even someone who feels like Satan from Paradise Lost, is truly alone.

–Jay Payne, Senior English major

Professor Kimberly Segall Publishes New Book

May 28th, 2014 § 0


Alumni Profile: Lauren Rogers

May 27th, 2014 § 0

Lauren Rogers is currently a grad student in SPU’s School of Business and Economics, having graduated last June from SPU with a Bachelors degree in English.  She chose English as her undergraduate major because it was a subject she enjoyed, having always been passionate about stories and writing.  As an English major, Lauren particularly appreciated the English department faculty, claiming that it is “better than [that at] any university anywhere,” though she also said she might be biased.
Upon graduating, Lauren decided she wanted to go into business but needed to figure out how to mesh that desire with her passion for writing, relationship building, and creativity.  Now Lauren realizes she wasn’t alone, since “many English majors do not understand how to effectively apply their skills in business.”  SPU’s MA program in sustainable business practices has helped her identify where to go next, which is a career in digital marketing.
For Lauren, degrees in English and business are a great combination because a student comes out of the two programs not merely a skilled communicator, but one with the technical skills for many positions in business.  To prepare for life after her next graduation, Lauren is currently serving as a marketing intern at Zulily.  The business program has helped Lauren apply the skills from her English degree to the business world.

Dr. Jennifer Maier’s New Book of Poetry

May 22nd, 2014 § 0


Senior Profile: Ashley Boucher

May 22nd, 2014 § 0

Ashley Boucher, from Beaverton, Oregon, is majoring in creative writing, focusing in non-fiction, and minoring in French. Though it took her a while to find her major, she settled on English because she always got good grades in this area (improving her graduate school options) and had always enjoyed English and literature.  Ashley says she is minoring in French because “Je suis francais and I love the culture and language.”

Since her time at Seattle Pacific University, her favorite classes have been Elements of Narrative with Dr. VanZanten because it is a chance to get into the “nitty-gritty”  of story-telling and Shakespeare with Dr. Reinsma because of the emotion and–“what else?–tension” created by the plays.

Outside school, you will probably find Ashley dancing, which she has been doing since she was 12.  For her, Ashley says, dancing “is a release, like writing can be, and I definitely could not live without it.”  Her dream job would be as traveling yoga instructor, writing about yoga retreats, and later editing either a fashion or a dance magazine, so she plans to move back to Portland  for the first step in that direction: training to be a yoga instructor.

Her advice to students, “It is important to balance being a student with being a person, which is surprisingly easy to do.”  She also recommends taking advanced grammar and to study abroad as many times as possible.  “Now is the time to go.  So GO!”


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