Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: Drunk Dialing the Divine

We are still talking to Amber Koneval about her collection of poetry. She is a very busy young lady with lots of aspirations.  To recap: She is slated to graduate from Regis University,located in Colorado, in December of 2013 with a double major in English and Religious Studies through the Honors track. She currently has a 3.8 GPA. She comes from a larger, close knit family. This family ‘shamelessly’ promotes her writing.(her words)

What is your book about?
‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’ is a poetry collection that takes the reader through a bit of an overview of the beginning of my faith journey. For me, the biggest obstacle to a complete faith and trust in God has been my anger. Not that it's any kind of petty anger- this is anger about world injustices, anger about violence done to myself, my friends and my family, anger about sins committed in the name of the God I love. For a long time, I convinced myself that the best way to deal with this anger was to ignore it. Through poetic exploration of my own feelings, however, I came to realize that I needed to be honest with myself in order to be honest in my devotion to God; and I needed to be honest in my devotion to be able to be fully invested and connected with Him. So, in short, Drunk Dialing the Divine is an exploration through that anger to a place of peace and resolve, from which I could hope to continue to grow in my faith much more genuinely. My hope is that, by sharing this journey, I will be able to reach out to others who are similarly stuck in their own anger.

 My Review
Amber Koneval has written a collection of avant garde poetry. The poems are in the free-verse style.

Her style is unique to me. She goes deep with her thoughts with each of her poems speaking of God as she sees Him. Her choice of title speaks of the times a person will call out to God and not know why he or she does it. On the back cover, she writes: “Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending—instead finding a ray of hope in the maxim ‘Things are because God is.’”
The following is one of Ms. Koneval’s poems.

Sola Scriptura
It seems like, nowadays,
We take so much pride
In what we don’t know

As if it’s a point of pride
To leave the stars unnamed
To sail the seas with our eyes
Shut, and never touch the water
Because the ignorance
Is preferable
To the awesome knowledge
Of wonder.

Sitting smug, we major in
Not knowing
Filling books with anti-facts
And the statistics of
Harnessing the comforting warmth
Of blindness
To block the harsh glare of awe
Where dumbness would suffice. . .

Is that why we think we can contain
In a book? *

Disclaimer: Ms. Koneval contacted me through a professional network and asked if I would be willing to review her collection of poetry.  All she asked was that I give an honest impartial review. I purchased a copy of Drunk Dialing the Divine for myself.

·        Used with permission

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Meet Amber Koneval

Today and tomorrow we will have Amber Koneval with us. She has a very interesting story to tell us.

Amber, it’s nice of you to come here and visit with us. Please tell us about yourself.
Well, where to start? I'm a twenty-year old Catholic-Christian, one of the middle children in a family of six siblings (three older, two younger). I'm slated to graduate from Regis University in December of 2013 with a double major in English and Religious Studies through the Honors track. I currently have a 3.8 GPA. I write poetry under my birth name, and woman's fiction under an alias. I've worked as a nanny, a retail sales clerk, an administrative assistant, a youth mentor and a Sacristan. My dream growing up was to become a youth minister, something I still hope to achieve somewhere in the midst of the whirlwind that is my writing life. My favorite animals are snakes and cats.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since I was in middle school, but really didn't enjoy it until my freshman year of college. I also didn't take my own writing very seriously until the spring of 2012, when I had my first poem accepted by Time of Singing, a wonderful literary journal of Christian lit. That was kind of my personal 'test' for whether or not I could really make it into nationally distributed publication. Since I passed that, I've kind of taken off- since then, I've been published in more than twenty different journals online and in print with more than sixty-some poems (not including my collection).

In what genre do you write?
Under this name, I write poetry. For the most part, as well, I write Christian poetry. Even my 'secular' poetry tends to have religious imagery, due to the fact that my faith is such a huge part of my life and I tend to understand most things through the light of my religious tradition.

Do you have a ‘day job?’
I have several, actually. On top of being a student, I am also currently the editor for my university's online newspaper, a nanny to two wonderful little girls, and a Sacristan for our university's on-campus chapel. I also write fiction, so I'm also always working on novel projects. I like being busy.

What have you written before this? (Previous to Drunk Dialing the Divine.)
'Drunk Dialing the Divine' is my first full collection, but I've had plenty poems published singularly before its debut. I also used to write articles for my parish newsletter when I was in high school.

Do you write a blog? Please give us the address.
My blog is The Amber of the Moment I mostly talk about the processes I go through to become a better poet and person, as well as keeping readers updated on my latest acquisition notices or upcoming readings. I also host a couple of guest posts from other like-minded writers (mostly Christian writers or other modern poets).

Tell us about your family. (Married or single,)
At the moment, I am still finishing up college so I've not been thinking too deeply about settling down just yet. I live about forty-five minutes away from my parents and siblings, and I'm very close to my entire family. I have five nieces and nephews already as well (from two of my older siblings) that I love to death. My family is my biggest support when it comes to my writing career. No one would know my name if it wasn't for their shameless promotion of everything I do, and it really keeps me going when I'm feeling stressed or hopeless. I know not every writer is so lucky, and I'm extremely grateful to God for their love and encouragement.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Free Indeed

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,
‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth and the Truth will set you free.’’’ 
John 8:31-32
“’So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’”
John 8:36(NIV)

Jesus speaks to those Jews who profess their belief in Him. He tells them if they follow His teachings, they are truly His disciples.
When we in the 21st Century allow Jesus’ teachings to guide our lives, we also are truly His children and are free.
The Master tells those listeners they learn the truth and that truth will set them free. In verse 36 He confirms this thought. I visualize Jesus standing before the crowd and making his point by emphasizing the important words. It would look something like this: “So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
We have times when we wonder if we have the right thoughts and attitudes. It helps us to look at things with God’s eyes rather than ours. Whenever there is an issue in our lives we have to look at it as the LORD sees it.

When we do this we gain spiritual freedom.  


Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...