On Becoming a Writer

I run a tutoring website (seahurstlearns.com) and have been an educator most of my life, but I was recently offered a job teaching Spanish at a prestigious high school and I declined it. Prior to that I was offered to be an adjunct at a local university. I declined that too. Even though my qualifications speak to education and standing up in the classroom teaching, my illness, and the medication it requires, make me stiff and I have lost the immediacy of my interactions with students. This is also known as the impact of antipsychotics.

I also struggle to structure things systematically. I am great situationally, but not in the top-down way needed for students to learn. I am relatively unpredictable and mercurial.

But before you think to yourself that maybe you shouldn’t give antipsychotics a try because they are so bad, consider this. I am living indoors, I am married, and I have found meaning, over the years, outside of the classroom.

Yes, it took a while to get there, because teaching and researching was all I had ever known, but thanks be to God – literally, God, thank you – while the gift of the classroom was taken from me, this also gave me something to write about as a mental health activist. More bluntly: I know without my medicine I would be homeless if not worse.

I have gotten a publishing deal with Wipf and Stock publishers to publish the book that started this website, Emergent Grace: Christian Persistence in the Face of Serious Mental Illness. I have changed the title to Emergent Grace: Christian Hope for Serious Mental Illness. The website is emergentgrace.com and it has information about the book and four meaningful endorsements. It will come out in 2023 and I just submitted the final for typesetting.

While I had made the first version free in the spirit of Wesley, it occurred to me that if I was in a serious car crash or something horrible, my website would expire and my blog disappear, and along with it, my book. So now it will be protected and offered through a publisher. It’s not free, and yet I have set up the book contract so that all royalties automatically go to two racial justice endowments at NNU and SPU. I still will not benefit, people of color at those schools will benefit, and hopefully persons with serious mental illness (SMI) and their loved ones will benefit the most.

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