Eidse, Faith 1955-
EIDSE, Faith 1955-
Born February 19, 1955, in Kahemba, Congo; daughter of Ben Friesen (a Bible translator) and Helen Wilma (a tropical medicine nurse; maiden name, Reimer) Eidse; married Philip Laurence Kuhns (a research physicist), December 23, 1979; children: Anthony Shane, Stefan Emmet Eidse. Ethnicity: "Dutch ancestry/Caucasian." Education: Eastern Mennonite University, B.A., 1979; Florida State University, Ph.D., 1999. Religion: Society of Friends (Quakers).
Home—5210 Pimlico Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32309. Office—Northwest Florida Water Management District, Havanna, FL 32333. Agent—Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, 80 5th Ave., Suite 1101, New York, NY 10011. E-mail—[email protected]
Carillon News, Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada, reporter and photographer, 1975-79; Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, reporter and photographer, 1980-84; Sun-Independent, Acton, MA, editor, 1985-86; Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, FL, community columnist, 1993-94; International Quarterly, managing editor, 1994; Florida State University, Tallahassee, instructor in creative writing and multicultural literature, 1999-2000; Northwest Florida Water Management District, Havanna, oral historian and public information specialist, 2000—. Judge of writing competitions; workshop presenter; guest on television and radio programs; gives readings from her works.
Modern Language Association of America, National Council of Teachers of English, Associated Writing Programs, Tallahassee Writers Association (vice president, 1994).
First place awards, Carillon, 1981, 1989, 1994; Virginia Press Association, first place award, 1982, for family and child reporting, and staff award, 1983, for coverage of Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations; Kingsbury Award, Florida State University, 1995.
(Editor, with Nina Sichel) Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing up Global, Nicholas Brealey Publishing (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.
Voices of the Apalachicola, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), in press.
Contributor to books, including Swaying: Essays on Intercultural Love, edited by Jesse Grearson and Lauren Smith, University of Iowa Press, 1995; Between Two Rivers: Stories from the Red Hills to the Gulf, edited by Susan Cerulean, Janissee Ray, and Laura Newton, Red Hills Writing Collaborative, 2005; and Growing Up Elsewhere, edited by Elaine Neil Orr and Deborah Wyrick, University of Iowa Press, in press. Contributor of essays, articles, short stories, poetry, and reviews to periodicals, including Carillon, Timbrel, Coloradoan, Penumbra, Boston Woman, Jouvert: Journal of Postcolonial Literature, and Rhubarb. Writings prior to 1995 appeared under the name Faith Kuhns.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
African Soil, a memoir of growing up Canadian in Congo; Occupied Territories, a work of fiction, completion expected in 2006.
Faith Eidse told CA: "My primary motivation for writing is to discover, to experience joy, and to examine life and live it consciously. 'The unexamined life is not worth living,' Plato or Socrates once said. Because I find life both vexing and rewarding, and because I don't want to lose sight of lessons learned and growth achieved, I must journal and chronicle and observe. Emotions and adventure collide and wrestle together in my writing; or, perhaps it's the chaos generated by these events, which I sort out.
"I started to write as a girl growing up in Africa, waiting for the single-engine Cesna to arrive with the mail pouch full of letters from cousins in Canada. Meanwhile, I had not sat still, but had raced with my village friends to the river where we dove from jungle vines into spring-fed rivers. We'd climb out of the ravine bearing water on our heads, swaying with the slosh a mile uphill, no hands. It was necessary, as we created our lives and identities in this way, to tell our cousins of our adventures in Africa and to read and absorb theirs in Canada. During grass fire season we hunted rats with long sticks; during caterpillar season we walked miles to the jungle for the yellow and black treats. I wanted to open the world to those who are closed to it. I wanted to explain Africa to Canadians and Canada to Africans, men to women, girls to boys: their hurts, sorrows, pain, and joy.
"It was this growing up across oceans, continents, and cultures that became my first impetus for writing. Over time I met others like me and realized that, though I'd written a memoir and a novel (both unpublished), it was not enough to tell my story. The project became a collection of twenty voices (including Isabel Allende, Pico Iyer, Pat Conroy, Sara Mansfield Taber, Carlos Fuentes) representing military, missionary, foreign service, educator, and business families across many nations and continents. Intercultural Press wrote us a contract and then urged us to further divide our book by major themes. When we had completed the work, the publisher's parent company, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, obtained it and increased the proposed print run ten-fold. It was more than we'd anticipated.
"In my writing I not only seek to observe, describe, and explain, I also seek to give others a voice. Together we discover and open regions of dialogue and understanding. Our lives and their meanings are enlarged and gratified by this process."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing up Global, p. 711.
Publishers Weekly, November 17, 2003, review of Un-rooted Childhoods, p. 55; January 26, 2004, review of Unrooted Childhoods, p. 182.