About

  Gabrielle Pullen, MFA, GCFP    Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing

Gabrielle Pullen, MFA, GCFP

Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing

 

It all started in 1590...

Her forthcoming novel is set in a little town called North Berwick, Scotland, in the year 1590. Titled, The Witches of East Lothian, it explores how three women, just living the lives they were given, became targets for the strange human need to find scapegoats to appease the hysteria of religious fervor and economic insecurity...in much the same way our current era seems to be culminating in a similar atmosphere.  

Gabrielle was born in Berkley, California and raised in Rorschach, which is in the German part of Switzerland. In that place, at the age of nine, she rebelled against being required to learn German by learning what she wanted to lear: French. At that age, however, she did not realize she was only adding to the mix. The experience, however, helped her understand the mechanics of language and communication at a deeper level.. This joint study of French and German continued until Gabrielle returned to the United States at the age of nineteen to go to college.

She eventually got her degree in French Literature from U.N.L.V. To make the culture shock even more pronounced, she gravitated towards the work she had been doing to put herself through school: bodywork specializing in enhancing the athletic performance of horse and rider teams in competition. During that time, before the advent of the internet, when there was still money to be made as a freelance magazine writer, she spent 10 years writing for national publications and smaller, more specialized publications including The Horse, Anvil Magazine, and Iron Works Magazine. Additionally, she spent two years recording, editing and writing interviews for the Feldenkrais Guild® publication, Sensibility, about the nature of embodied learning. The intention of this three year project was to document the experiences of first generation practitioners who trained directly under Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. She has also been a blogger, specializing in writing about the Feldenkrais Method® with respect to it’s larger implications on the nature of reality, perception and identity.

It was not until the death of her 25 year old daughter that she jumped horses in mid-stream, turning to the writing of fiction, which she had enjoyed as a child, as a means of making meaning out of a life turned unexpectedly in the direction of devastating personal loss. To provide a structure for herself, and a new life, she went back to get an advanced degree. She enrolled in the Pan-European Master of Fine Arts Degree in Fiction at Cedar Crest College which required travel to Dublin, Barcelona and Vienna to do the intensive summer portions of her graduate coursework. 

Halfway through, it became obvious to her that she needed to create a way to continue writing fiction. This is how she came to enroll in the graduate-level Certification in Teaching Rhetoric and Composition at MNSU, Mankato. The additional Certification in teaching English as a Second Language seemed entirely congruent, given that she had spent nine years living abroad as a child learning French and German. She completed the TEFL Certification in October, 2016 and completed her graduate coursework as a Composition Instructor in 2017.

Her joint focus on language arts, somatics and learning has drawn her interest to a very specialized area of academic writing: the overlap between narrative, creative writing and logic. This is because she has had intensive experience in teaching standardized tests, which are based on the western logic of Aristotle and Cicero. Yet, her background in the healing arts made it clear that this is just one take on logic. Conversant in the logic of the east from twenty years of studying and treating clients with acupressure, Gabrielle also studied and practiced using the Kosha system of Vedic Philosophy with clients. To gain mastery in using eastern maps of the human body and human consciousness, she trained with with such notable experts as Richard Miller, PhD., as a Level II iRest Meditation instructor. This required years of self-awareness to participate. Such alternative forms of counseling are also based on pattern-recognition, which has given rise to her interest in teaching students to use critical thinking as a means of regaining resilience. 

Gabrielle writes fiction for the fulfillment that self-expression provides. She writes about the pedagogy of teaching writing and the craft of fiction to further her own understanding. She writes about the overlap between narrative and how we make sense of experience to find ways to take writing instruction to another level. She teaches Feldenkrais to help people, and horses, find that place of calm abiding that the senses recognize as comfort, inspiration and the internal freedom of wellbeing.

A new project in the works is a series of online courses to help students transition to college. This initiation into higher level critical thinking is an offering that provides the kind of literacy initiative that allows students to become independent thinkers and experience the fulfillment of being in charge of their own learning. The mechanics involves support in preparing for standardized tests such as the SAT, the ACT and the GRE, as well as the TOEFL exam. The philosophy, however, of providing learning resources that lead people to become independent learners, so that life continues to improve as we age, is in complete alignment with the fundamental principles of the Feldenkrais Method. For these online learning resources, visit:

www.focusandlearn.com

For focus, of course, is everything...

Additionally, she is working on an academic paper which posits that narrative offers a structure for learning critical thinking every bit as powerful and valid as the western logic espoused by the standardized tests and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). She will be presenting this paper at the Creative Writing Studies Organization Conference in October, 2018.