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How Stories Heal

Writing our Way to Meaning and Wholeness in the Academy


Robert J. Nash and Sydnee Viray

It is time for academics to embrace the fact that nothing is more appealing to readers – especially to our students – than personal stories with meaning-making implications that can touch all lives. No matter the age or stage in life, the personal or collective identity, everyone deals with meaning-making issues that challenge them – and others – throughout their lifetimes. And everyone we know finds that when encouraged to write their stories in the academy, they find meaning, wholeness, and healing.
How Stories Heal illustrates the value of personal narrative writing. Referring to this type of writing as the «turn to the subjective I» or to «me-search research», this is a book about Scholarly Personal Narrative (SPN) writing, actually written in an SPN style. This book will satisfy a huge need in higher education and scholarship, particularly for students who are writing undergraduate and graduate theses and doctoral dissertations; and also for junior and senior faculty who are looking to construct alternative forms of scholarship for publication.
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Part 1: The Wisdom of Scholarly Personal Narrative Writing from the Head to the Heart…and Back Again


Part 1

The Wisdom of Scholarly Personal Narrative

Writing from the Head to the Heart…and Back Again

In the chapters that follow in Part I, Robert explains the whats, hows, and whys of Scholarly Personal Narrative Writing. Some of the chapters are more personal than others—by intention. Robert’s goal is two-sided: to illustrate the more technical principles and techniques of SPN writing by telling his own story and by drawing briefly on the stories of others. The wisdom of SPN lies in the recognition that writing from the head to the heart…and back again requires a unique set of technical skills that enable both the writer, and the reader, to arrive at the ultimate goals of self-understanding and self-transformation. These skills include a willingness to dig deeply in order to discover the truths that lie buried in our pasts and presents, an ability to thematize and universalize these insights for readers, and a profound, almost unyielding commitment to the belief that writing one’s way to healing, meaning, and wholeness is not only possible—it is necessary. All of this leads to wisdom. ← 1 | 2 → ← 2 | 3 →

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