Meet and Greet on September 19th at 2:00 with Afton native, Cynthia Gustavson. From constrictive roots, Cynthia has blossomed to make expression her life’s work. As an award-winning author, she’s penned over a dozen soul-enriching titles, spanning children’s literature, poetry, and therapy. She’s also an outspoken public policy advocate, innovative educator, an academic with many accreditations, and a devoted social worker and therapist. But in all her work, never has she put forth something as raw and bold as Between Tahlequah and Tulsa (Blooming Twig, 2014).
The prose in Between Tahlequah and Tulsa combines her time-honored flair for evoking pastoral scenery with a newfound muscular emotionality and a brave declarative voice. Unapologetically, she addresses Native American rights, spirituality, blunt political discourse, and the new frontier dream of 1960s. Cynthia also digs deep and courageously revisits poignant childhood memories. A stunning example of this vigorous vulnerability is halfway through the long poem that makes up this book, where she comes to grips with her father’s passing. Here she writes: Dad said in his business voice / we’d meet misfortune head on / that we’d get stronger from this / that growing up was learning how to tough out the bad times / but three months later when he died, my thirteen year old mind didn’t feel tough and I could still smell the burned rafters of my home.
For Cynthia, Between Tahlequah and Tulsa represents a watershed moment in her professional career and her personal growth. “I wrote exactly what I felt, I held nothing back,” she says. “This a culmination where I am now.”
Also by Gustavson and her husband, developmental pediatrician Dr. Edward E. Gustavson MD, and her son Dr. Kent Gustavson PhD: Bully! The Big Book About Bullies and the Bullied. With whimsical drawings throughout and writing prompts on nearly every page, this is an easy-to-use book that is a must-have for every classroom from elementary school on through high school, and for discussion groups everywhere. Great for parents, teachers, mentors, and most importantly, great for children and teenagers.