Eckard, Paula G. 1950-

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ECKARD, Paula G. 1950-

PERSONAL:

Born October 14, 1950, in Charlotte, NC; daughter of Donald (a mathematician and inventor) and Dorothy (a registered nurse) Gallant; married Gregory Eckard (a manager), October 7, 1971; children: David, Justin, William. Education: University of North Carolina at Charlotte, B.S. (nursing), 1972, M.H.D.L., 1979, B.A. (English), 1987, M.A., 1989; University of South Carolina, Ph.D., 1999. Religion: "Presbyterian/Methodist."

ADDRESSES:

Office—American Studies Program, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC, registered nurse, 1972-73; Lamaze Association of Charlotte, Charlotte, childbirth educator, 1973-80; University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, lecturer, 1990-2002, director of American studies program, 2002—. Active in diabetes education, outreach, and advocacy; government relations representative and grassroots lobbyist for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

WRITINGS:

Maternal Body and Voice in Toni Morrison, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Lee Smith, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 2002.

Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Research on spirituality in contemporary southern and African-American women's fiction.

SIDELIGHTS:

Paula G. Eckard told CA: "Writing has been a lifelong passion. Injustice has always motivated me to write, even when I was a child. I like to challenge authority through my writing. I once wrote to Fidel Castro to tell him he was bad for the free world. He didn't write back. I kept writing, however, this time for other audiences and causes. Looking back, I realize my letter to Castro—a single, childhood act of writing—gave me confidence and a public voice, an activist voice I would use over and over.

"I also write to analyze human drama in literature and life. Writing helps me to understand the dynamics of a situation and the psyches, motivations, and stories of the people involved. I am still evolving as a writer. Every letter, speech, or essay that I write teaches me something new. My writing has changed over the years. It is probably leaner, more focused, but just as passionate.

"Writing is empowering to me. It is as necessary for life as the air I breathe. As a woman, nurse, teacher, scholar, and advocate, I find that writing allows me to have a voice and presence on many fronts. I write to make a difference.

"I am not afraid to write or to put my writing on the line for others to judge. The need for me to speak out, to have a voice, is far greater than any fear of failure or rejection I might have. At this stage of life, I don't have time or energy for such fears. I just write."