Writing and Riding to Declare God’s Goodness
We all need words. It’s how we communicate. I’m doing this. You’re going there. We have lists and rules and social norms for accomplishing much of this needed communication. Much of the time, words alone are enough.
But often we have more than a simple need to convey what we’re doing or what we’re looking for. Sometimes we have an urgency to reveal how we’re feeling, at a level deeper than the surface. While the written word can achieve much, we’ve all experienced the inherent weaknesses. Do ALL CAPS mean we’re excited or angry? Do fewer words represent fewer feelings? It is impossible to convey emotion and ensure the hearer understands.
The Written Word Becomes the Spoken Word
Even the poem, for all its’ lyrical artistry, is limited to the understanding of the reader. Enter the poetry slam, a forensic competition where argument and advocacy skills are displayed. According to the American Forensic Association’s website, their goal is to train college students in “reasoned discourse in public life.” 1
Amaris Longenecker, a senior marketing major, finds great release in competing for Grace College’s forensics team. Writing slam poetry is a fantastic way to write out her emotions. Of course, it is much more than the written word, as slam poetry is not only spoken but performed. A quick search for slam poetry will find it is more than a performance, but a declaration of who people see themselves to be. Accept me. Reject me. Do what you want, but I will be heard.
Diverse viewpoints fill each poetry slam event. Noting that judges will critique based on whether they agree with you, Amaris discusses the challenges. “Competing as a Christian school is about raising awareness of a topic, seeking to find issues which can unite our audience rather than arguing for or against a polarizing issue. It’s our opportunity to shine like a light in a world so filled with darkness.”
Where does Amaris find the strength to immerse herself in this climate? Since gravitating toward writing in high school, she has been inspired by writers such as Jackie Hill-Perry. Knowing she and her teammates are surrounded by those who have a lot of misconceptions about Christians gives her purpose. Realizing those who choose to go to Christian colleges would be, by default, looked at with sideways glances, pushes her to represent Jesus to the best of her ability.
If you’re imagining someone sitting in a lonely dorm room, filling journal pages, then you will need to adjust your vision. Amaris loves to write as a source of communicating her emotions, but her life is not void of action. Admitting her dad may have been having an early mid-life crisis, she talks fondly of family bike rides, which now serve her well. The bike rides serve as both a release of endorphins and writing prompts. It is an activity-filled break which forces her into the habit of looking forward.
Grace Involves Going Out
As a part of the forensics team at Grace College, Amaris and her team, coached by Melanie Eller, recently competed in the Public Communication Speech and Debate League championships, held at Butler University. In fact, Grace won in their division, based on the number of entries. As a team, they also took a national title in Duo Improvisational Acting. Team members Sarah Turek placed third in Audition Monologue, Elizabeth Mattia placed third in Public Narrative, and Chloe Woods placed sixth in Audible Interpretation.
Evoking a response from the audience is the goal of slam poetry. This is what Grace is looking to develop in all its’ students. In slam poetry, this involves a lot of call and response, snapping of fingers and clapping of hands. In life, we look to communicate our views in a way that invites people to join us on a journey of discovery.
Transferring from another college to take advantage of Grace’s accelerated program, Amaris has found fulfillment in her internship program. She interns at DePuy Synthes in Warsaw, an orthpaedic company that affords many Grace students employment opportunities. Finding Grace was able to assist her in limiting the number of years she spent in college and connect her with employment opportunities, Amaris has never looked back.
If you would like to look at what Grace can offer you, including how all your credits can transfer, schedule a visit today. We would love to connect you with your passions and set your sights forward to your future!
1 Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/forensic-competition-827.html