Rotholz, James M. 1951–
ROTHOLZ, James M. 1951–
PERSONAL: Born September 25, 1951, in Colorado Springs, CO; son of Max B. (a bank president) and Mary Louise (Kirkpatrick) Rotholz; married Louise Penniman (a certified public accountant), 1979; children: Abigail Michal, Jesse. Ethnicity: "Scots-Irish/German Jew." Education: Attended University of Texas, 1969–71; Gordon College, B.A., 1977; Washington State University, M.A. (cultural anthropology), 1992, Ph.D. (cultural anthropology), 1995. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, camping, travel, culture study.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Haworth Press, Inc., 21 East Broad St., Hazleton, PA 18201. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Consortium of North American Christian Colleges, post-earthquake reconstruction volunteer in Guatemala, 1976; World Concern, relief and development worker in Somalia, 1981–82; United Mission to Nepal, water systems coordinator, 1984–85; Food for the Hungry International, country director for Ethiopia, 1989–91; Washington State University, assistant professor of anthropology, 1996; writer, 1996–.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Christianity, and Culture: Between God and an Illness, Haworth Press (Hazleton, PA), 2002.
Contributor to books, including Stricken: Voices from the Hidden Epidemic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, edited by Peggy Munson, Haworth Press (Hazleton, PA), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including CFIDS Chronicle, Practicing Anthropology, and Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Walking the Spirit: Embracing Life as a Spiritual Journey.
SIDELIGHTS: James M. Rotholz told CA: "I have wondered many times exactly what motivates me to write, in that writing is such a vexing affair for me. Simply put, my language skills are ill suited to the task of providing adequate form to the wide array of inspiring thoughts that run swirling through my head. Certainly a complete inventory of motivational impulses runs deeper than I can peer with the conscious mind. Yet lurking somewhere in the thick of things lies an inescapable compulsion to communicate to others some truth regarding life, and to do it in such a way as to offer a fresh and, hopefully, illuminating perspective. To reach for such a lofty goal, I attempt to combine a personal and experiential approach along with a cultural and religious perspective. Those are the perspectives that have shaped my world view and continue to give rise to whatever uniqueness my writing may represent.
"I first seriously took up writing in response to a chronic illness. I needed to wrestle with the life-changing issues involved, and to form some kind of coherent framework around which to build my then-shattered life. It worked … to a degree. But the framework remains unfinished, and the writing goes on. Life, unlike words on a page, never completely succumbs to neatly arranged units, and I, as every other sentient being, must continually renegotiate who, what, and where I am in the greater scheme of things. That fact, and the permanent tensions that exists between lived experience and the formal theories that attempt to explain it, means that the final word on any topic will never be written. Yet the unexplained challenges of life are precisely what motivate me to continue writing. It is an ongoing quest to probe, understand, and inspire. The more I do of it, the more forcefully I realize just how inadequate I am to the task. It's not that my literary inadequacies are so overwhelming a problem, but that the inestimable riches of life are far too extensive and too sublime to allow me to do more than shine a dim light on a vast and wondrous landscape that beckons human exploration.
"I have never read that much. It's an unfortunate habit I retain from my youth, reinforced by poor health and a dimming wit. Yet, most likely for that very reason I have drawn tremendous inspiration from those notable works I have encountered; namely, the Russian masters Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, the incomparable Europeans Blake, Pascal, and Kierkegaard, and the American literary giants Whitman, Thoreau, and Twain. More contemporary authors who have greatly influenced and inspired me are Malcolm Muggeridge, Henri Nouwen, Edward O. Wilson, and Annie Dillard. Each has been remarkably successful in doing what I can only feebly aspire to—capturing in words something of the brilliance of life that perpetually flashes all about."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, July, 2003, Jule Klotter, review of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Christianity, and Culture: Between God and an Illness, p. 26.