Stories By Hope McPherson
Illustration By Stephanie Morgan Rogers
ALUMNI AUTHORS SHARE THEIR WORK
favorite genre is fiction, biography, travel, theology or something else, a
Seattle Pacific University graduate has likely published in that field.
Throughout the world, SPU alumni have written books that are at this moment
someone's hands, sitting on nightstands, or gracing bookshelves, coffee
and school desks. These books share a common thread: The authors care deeply
their subjects and want to share their creativity, knowledge and
others. Three years ago, Response introduced readers to five such
authors. Here you'll meet five more, and read excerpts from their work. From
new book of fiction for young adults to a ground-breaking study on fire,
authors have raised clear and diverse voices in print.
RAY BAKKE '65 believes in vivid word pictures. The executive
of International Urban Associates (IUA), Bakke refers to Jesus as an
migrant, an Asian-born baby who became a refugee in Africa.
speaks to his seminary students in
Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Manila, Philippines. It also
with inner-city audiences from the Northwest to Chicago where Bakke
and taught for 35 years before relocating to Bremerton, Washington, in 2000.
The author of three books, including the recent A Biblical Word for an
Urban World, Bakke has also
edited two other books and completed several hundred articles for
Word in Life Study Bible. He consults and speaks worldwide for IUA in
such as China, Egypt and the Netherlands. Soon he'll take his message closer
home: Bakke is the keynote speaker for the 2001 Seattle Pacific Alumni
at Casey Conference Center, August 17-19.
Via written and spoken words, Bakke strives to inspire others
ministry leaders — to engage in Christian urban mission from a global
From A Biblical Word for an Urban World
Board of International Ministries, 2000
When you move into Mexico City from the countryside, your heart beats
Not only that, but when you walk down the city street, you don't see things
would grab your attention in a rural town. (Have you ever been driving along
all of a sudden you ask yourself, "Did I stop at the stop sign?")
We are fearfully and wonderfully made, says Psalm 139. One of the ways we
been created is to routinize some of the basic tasks in life so they don't
any emotional energy. Otherwise we would hemorrhage emotionally every time
somebody new walked into our life. This is what social psychologists call
elevator syndrome." The more people you pack into an elevator, the less they
will communicate. Have you noticed that? Well, the Ford Foundation funded
studies on it!
The fact is that, when people are gathered into a city and we all live
and closer together, when we walk down the street, we don't even see one
We walk by signs and we don't see them. Our mind has this capacity to check
Of course, added to that phenomenon is the cocooning that occurs with people
walking around with headsets! So, we must understand that when we come into
city, we are not entering a place where a whole lot of rural people live
rural people. They have been transformed by life in the city, so our mission
methodology has to change to account for that change.
has a classroom the size of North America. Retired from teaching in
Goodman is now an author, speaker, consultant and researcher. Her calling?
create a world in which "every child can read."
Yet the written word frustrates many
Parents are frustrated, too, watching their children hunkered down over a
grimly sounding out each word. And good luck sounding out English, says
It brims with words such as "yacht," "hiccough" and "dough."
Rather than stumble, readers have another option with Reading Is More
Than Phonics! Goodman's well-received book, now in its third printing,
goes beyond the traditional use of phonics in teaching children to read.
Offering practical tips and strategies, she addresses parents who want to
help their children succeed as readers — and enjoy books for life.
"It's my mission," she says from her home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
From Reading Is More Than
Reading Wings, 1995
Read the following words. They are phonetically correct, but are spelled
differently from the way you have learned them. You will find this
challenging, but don't worry, so does everyone else!
Did you find it impossible, as I did, to read this list with certainty? If
feel frustrated, you may be experiencing the same emotions as your beginning
when he is asked to sound it out or read words from word lists.
Each word has a number of different possibilities, doesn't it? For instance,
sc pronounced sk or s? Even if we could recall all the ways sounds are
in print we would still not know which to use.
Here is a story about baby robins. It contains the words you have just
to read from the list. If you have trouble with a word, look away from it
use your experience to think of what word would make sense.
"I am working vury hard," said the robin. "I am looking for sctraugh to
nest. I shall use some mould, too. I shall line it with sought grass. This
make a nice whoamb for my baby birds." So she made the nest in the old apple
In a phyue dauss there were three little eggs in the nest. Ceokn there whir
baby robins. They stretched their little pneocquez and cried, "Peep, peep,
Still rather difficult? But you were probably able to figure out some of the
and with a couple of re-readings you may be able to read the whole passage.
understanding of the subject helps to limit the possibilities.
inhabits both sides of the publishing world. A project editor for
in Seattle, Hosler began her editorial career while a student at SPU when
internships at book publisher Epicenter Press and Northwest Health
She is also an author. While at Epicenter
Press, Hosler wrote a book detailing historic Northwest hotels, including
Lake Crescent Lodge in Port Angeles, Hotel Planter in La Conner and Roche
Harbor's Hotel de Haro.
That book about the Northwest's past played a role in her writing about the
"I've always had a lot of interest in writing fiction," she says. "Grand
was good experience for me, helping me to describe things in a colorful
The experience is already paying off. Hosler's sci-fi book-in-progress, A
Circle, about a Seattle private detective circa 2100, reached the second
round of a national first-novel competition.
From Grand Old Hotels of Washington and
Epicenter Press, 1994
Usually, though, [John Stafford] McMillin concentrated on more important
governors, foreign dignitaries, wealthy businessmen interested in purchasing
The visitors stayed at Hotel de Haro, constructed in 1887 around a log
the Scurr brothers had built in 1881. (In an archway on the second floor,
can see the wood beams of the bunkhouse inside the hotel walls.) The ornate,
white-painted hotel had twenty-two rooms, a triple balcony, and a decorative
cupola. During his guests' stay, McMillin would treat them to outdoor salmon
barbecues, fashion shows, Christmas dinners, dances on floating barges, and
on his fifty-foot yacht.
McMillin's most honored guest was Theodore Roosevelt. The president came in
again in 1907, probably to thank McMillin for his lifelong support of the
Party; McMillin was so influential that he was almost elected U.S. senator.
you can stay in Room 2B, where Roosevelt stayed, and sleep in the wooden
bed that he used. A portrait of the president hangs over the staircase, and
lobby hotel register displays his signature.)
In spite of McMillin's wealth, power, and influential friends, his reign
last forever. In 1922, McMillin's oldest son, whom he had groomed to take
for him, died at age forty-two. Just one year later, a fire destroyed the
plant, the barrel factory, the offices, and the warehouse dock —
had to be rebuilt. McMillin lost hope in the future of the company and began
focus on constructing an elaborate family mausoleum.
as she recounts the uproar in a Seattle fourth grade class. Reading aloud
Carey's young readers' novel set in World War II, the teacher was
story's end. Knowing it was time for art class, she closed the book.
the students yelled in unison. "You can't stop now!"
The children's reaction, says Carey, was a
wonderful reward. Her story of a young girl whose father is missing in
Europe had come alive for the students.
In addition to writing fiction for youth, Carey also writes fantasy and
The first book of her new fantasy trilogy is currently with her publisher.
her book for youth about a boy who has a near-death experience, Wenny Has
(its working title), will be released by Atheneum Books this spring.
Yet Carey often leaves her manuscripts to work with other writers, including
future ones. A regular speaker at writers' conferences, she also teaches
workshops and visits classrooms, helping others fuel their own creative
From Molly's Fire
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000
Molly fought her way out of a heavy sleep. Something was wrong, terribly
Her eyes opened to the dark, and she remembered. A telegram had come. It
her dad was dead. She got out of bed, her body still slow and heavy from the
Dr. Richards had given her. She stepped into the hall. The house was quiet.
Downstairs, Molly rummaged through the dark closet till her fingers found a
wool collar. Her father's old coat. She slipped it on and lifted the sleeve
her nose. Sharp smells of seaweed and pipe tobacco filled her nostrils. She
tiptoed into the kitchen, picked up the telegram that lay on the table
the bread basket, and padded across the tile floor to the window.
Down the street a dog howled. Another joined in, then another. The sound
through Keenan town, out to the cliffs, down to the sea.
Molly folded the telegram into a tiny paper airplane and placed it in the
The match caught fire with one strike against the stone cutting board. Molly
touched the flame to the little yellow plane. The edges burned, slowly
the paper to a fine gray ash. She watched with deep satisfaction as bits of
drifted into the air like tiny, tattered moths.
DAVID STROHMAIER '89 had a connection with nine of the 14
killed on Colorado's Storm King Mountain in July 1994. The nine were
in Prineville, Oregon — as he once was. "Through my years at
SPU and my
years of school beyond that, I have worked as a wildland
he says from his home in Missoula, Montana, where he is writing his second
and is a public comment analyst for the U.S. Forest Service.
Fighting forest fires has been a summertime
job for Strohmaier since 1985. But following the Storm King tragedy he
considered fire's power anew and began writing The Seasons of Fire.
Having just completed a master's degree in the philosophy of religion at
University, Strohmaier explored the literary landscape of fire. Fire, he
had been written about either scientifically, in cultural studies or through
personal narratives. "I wanted to explore the philosophical nature and
connections of fire," he says. With The Seasons of Fire, he goes
beyond the typical approach and weaves together science, personal narratives
"If anything, fire has given me a sense of humility," he says. "I'd be well
to remember our tenuous hold on life, and that there is more to the world
meets the eye."
From The Seasons
of Fire: Reflections on Fire in the West
University of Nevada Press, 2001
Even a child knows that a fire can cook hot dogs and marshmallows or
them into hardened chunks of jet-black creosote. This is important, but it
not the whole story. Besides the value of fire's ability to transform
there is a value intrinsic to it in only the watching. I'm not even sure if
watching can rightly be called pleasure, though it is valued. The
that we witnessed as our campfire developed from a lazy smolder in juniper
and pine needles to the concentrated heat that would cause pockets of pitch
boil on chunks of gnarled and knotty limb wood evidenced something that wind
water are hard-pressed to do: proclaim a secret about the world — life is
Fire's window into reality provides a view into the potential of the world.
the growth rings of dried wood lies the ability to put forth heat and light,
to become brittle in its own pulsating glow, and, after giving up most of
weight and mass, to remain as a still-warm but cooling pile of ashy flakes
blackened charcoal bits. To see this, to feel and smell that this is a
part of the world < punctuating the drone of sameness with radical
satisfies a need to know about the world and dazzles us with a knowledge
is not what it sometimes seems.
Editor's Note: To order any of the alumni books
here, click on the book titles above the excerpts. Each book's title is linked to
a site where
you can order it online.
To be considered for inclusion in a future feature on alumni authors, send a
your published book, article or poem to Editor, Response,
Seattle Pacific University,
Seattle, Washington 98119.