Your Questions, Their Answers: Dr. Impson

10 years ago Triangle 0

by Anna Kat Thomas

Triangle photo by Anna Kat Thomas
Triangle photo by Anna Kat Thomas

Staff Writer

Dr. Beth Impson, professor of English at Bryan College, has been living in Dayton with her family for about 11 years. Recently you submitted your questions for Dr. Impson; here are your answers.

1. What challenges do you face as an English professor?

There are all kinds, of course… Most of the people in my discipline, in English today, teach that words don’t have any real meaning. They are much more concerned with agendas such as feminism, Marxism or whatever the thing is of the day than they are with the text itself. We are fighting to make the case that literature is important and secondly that literature has meaning, which means that we must learn to discern. We don’t just react to it; literature is to change us, not to confirm what we already are.

2. If you could take five books with you on a desert island (excluding the Bible) which would you choose?

Shoot me now—that’s not the title of a book! Five, only five? Okay, Annie Dillard’s “Holy the Firm”, Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited”, Mary Oliver’s “Collected Poems”, a Scott Cairns book of poetry and a collection of familiar essays.

3. Whose view of death do you prefer: Dylan Thomas or Emily Dickinson?

Haha..both! Emily Dickinson of course says that death is the ‘gentleman suitor’ and that there should be no fear…and there is an element of truth in that as Christians we don’t need to fear death…. Dylan Thomas says, ‘Rage, rage against the dying of the light,’ and there is an element of truth in that too. Death is not natural;death is not what we were made for—we were made to live eternally, and so to rage against that which sin has brought into the world is not a bad thing… We have a right to rage, to be afraid, but ultimately we need to have the peace of knowing that we are going to be with Christ.

4. What is your favorite thing about literature?

My favorite thing about literature is the way it can change your life if you will let it. When you come to literature with an open heart and an open mind and you hear what it has to say, it can move you in ways that nothing else can.

5. If you could say one thing to all the men on the Bryan College campus what would it be?

Learn how to lead in love –pure and simple. I would like to see our young men in Christ, for love of Christ and for love of their sisters in Christ, learning how to be leaders and what that looks like—in love and in Christ.

6. If you could encourage the women of Bryan to develop one character trait what would it be?

A spirit of service, and that doesn’t mean being subservient to others—a spirit of wanting to serve and lift up other people. Please notice this is not in the context of male/female relationships. I am saying, as women, learn to serve, nurture and lift up other people because that is the greatest calling that we have.

7. In your all-powerful wisdom of all things hypothetical, who would win: Gandalf or Dumbledore?

Gandalf—hands down. Not even a contest.

8. How did you meet your husband? And how did he propose?

I was a senior at the University of Kansas and I was working in the curriculum library. There was a woman working there named June who was a graduate student with my boss and we got to know each other and be friends—just a lovely woman. And she said one day, ‘If my son came up and offered to take us out to lunch would you go?’ and I said ‘I sense matchmaking, but sure!’ So he came up and we went out to Pizza Hut together and then he took me to the fireworks for Fourth of July and we got married the next January. Proposal: we were in the park one day and just talking and I had my guitar and we were singing and then he said the words ‘I love you’ to me and I said, ‘Listen, I decided some time ago I wouldn’t let anyone say that to me unless he intended to marry me.’ –and so he proposed.

9. What advice would you give to a young budding writer?

Read. Number one, read, and read everything you can get your hands on of the best literature. Just read, read and read more of the best literature that there is out there of every genre and every style. Just inhale literature. Then write and write and write and write. And be willing to be taught. Do not think because you want to be a writer and you enjoy writing that you can do it…You must accept editors and teachers.