Art and Faith Perspective #2: Ann Peachman Stewart

When I was 17, I went on a retreat with a singing group I joined at church. People who know me laugh when I tell this story, because my singing is of the “joyful noise” variety. Filled with passion and not much talent, we sang in various churches, and this retreat started our second year. On that weekend, my entire life changed forever, and it had nothing to do with singing. I discovered a faith that has been my anchor ever since, and which has carried me through the most gut-wrenching of pain throughout my life. I started a friendship with Jesus.

My writing journey began in public school. I didn’t excel in sports, and we’ve already discussed my musical talent. I enjoyed biology, but all other sciences confused me, and all forms of math left me cold. But when this shy introvert picked up a pen, the words flowed. I loved to read, and I “got” Shakespeare and Bronte and the other authors we studied. When I wrote, my insecurities fell away and the thoughts inside me had free expression.

My muse went silent for many years. I published a few articles, journalled and wrote a poem or two, but it wasn’t until a later season of my life, when I dove into writing courses, that I fed the writer in me and felt her come alive. I published non-fiction articles, started a blog, discovered a love for writing contemporary fiction and finished my first novel.

The theme of my novel deals with a dysfunctional Christian family coping with Alzheimer’s. A mentor suggested I brand myself through my blog, by addressing issues faced by care partners, both family and professional. I’ve been doing this weekly for almost seven years. Topics ranging from forms of dementia to maintaining a sense of humour to handling Christmas to palliative care all cross the page as I reach out to those who are on the front lines. Faith isn’t usually a topic, but as I write with compassion and understanding to people facing challenges, my faith can’t be separated from what I am saying.

I find it difficult to separate my faith and my writing. My faith is who I am, and who I am is reflected in everything I write. I seldom use “Christian” language, as that isn’t necessarily my audience, and people can find it confusing. I sometimes write about faith issues, but usually from a personal perspective. When I am vulnerable about my struggles, people listen. They may not relate the the faith, but they connect to the struggle.

I believe readers are looking for authenticity in what is written, and when writing from a faith perspective, that’s key.

ANN PEACHMAN STEWART has worked at Christie Gardens for almost 20 years; the last five have been as an Advocate. She supports Care Partners who care for elders, as well as family members and the elders themselves. She’s passionate about loving her three grown children, their spouses and her three adorable granddaughters. She also loves knitting, Netflix, Greek yogurt and graveyards, in no particular order. You can find her here.