Kori Frazier Morgan wasn’t raised with a Christian background. Her parents wanted her to explore her faith on her own when she was ready. She was very anti-God during her teens and into college and had a good amount of anger towards God. But everything changed when she went to college. Morgan says:
When I got to college, I actually got to know people who followed Christ and had a relationship with Him and were really passionate about their faith. For the first time in my life, I started thinking there was something to it. I thought, “If God really is who I thought He was for all this time, why would they love Him so much?”They all talked about Jesus like He was a real person that they knew.
Morgan’s writing had a direct impact on her becoming a Christian. In the months leading up to her conversion, she was reading the Bible a lot for her research for a novel she was writing for her undergraduate senior project. And she was reading a lot of Flannery O’Connor at the same time. (O’Connor is Morgan’s all-time favorite writer and this was when she fell in love with O’Connor’s work.) About her conversion, Morgan says:
I have Flannery coming at me from one direction and the Bible and my research coming at me from another direction, and in the middle of all of that, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. It was a complicated thing where they said, “We know what this is, but we don’t know how to treat it.” I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and frustration and put in a position where they things I typically fall back on in terms of academic accomplishments and my identity as a published writer didn’t matter anymore because I was really sick.
What finally brought Morgan to a point of realizing she needed Jesus was the story of the woman and the issue of blood from Luke 8. Morgan identified with the woman who was in a situation where no one could help her, where she was in pain, there she may have had a lot of anger, but she knew Jesus was the way. She didn’t fully understand everything related to her illness and Jesus’s ability to heal her, but she did know all she had to do was grab his robe. After Morgan read this, she told God, “Alright, you’ve got me. I’m in. What do I have to do?”
Because Morgan’s faith was so influenced by what she was reading and writing and researching and her creative process from the beginning, all of that is still entwined for her today as a reader, creative writer, professional writer, and Christian.
Morgan’s writing practice in terms of time has been somewhat haphazard lately. She basically writes whenever she can. She’s trying to discipline herself to work that time in to er schedule more, and it usually ends up being on the weekends. She is writing a lot of flash fiction right now, which makes it easier because she can write drafts of stories pretty quickly. She says she tries to not think too hard about her writing. She has found this to be helpful for her professional writing and her creative writing. She says, “It’s best to get something down, put it aside, work on something else, then revisit it. You almost always get a clearer view of what you’re doing when you go back to something as opposed to trying to finish it all in one sitting.”
Morgan’s faith practice is primarily rooted in journaling. She prefers to pray through journaling and feels her strongest connection to the Lord when she’s writing down what she’s thinking and the prayers she wants to pray. She also likes having a record of things that have happened and enjoys being able to go back and see what God has done in her life and remember His faithfulness to her.
Because of her ability to discern God’s direction in her art, Morgan is able to sense when a project she’s passionate about is something God wants her to give her time and energy to. She believes a lot of Christians have a narrow view of what art is supposed to be. She has received pushback from Christians before about some her work because it wasn’t happy and about someone finding Jesus. Morgan prefers to write about real life. She says, “Real life is people getting hurt. Bad things happen to people. And people screw up and life gets messy. You know, maybe people become Christians as a result of those things, but it’s never the entire focus of the story. I think a real danger of happy stories with no suffering is that they don’t show the full power of who God is and how He changes people.”
Kori Frazier Morgan is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in fiction writing at West Virginia University. Her stories, essay, and poetry have appeared in literary publications such as SN Review, Prick of the Spindle, Switchback, Forge, Summerset Review, and Shenandoah's 50th anniversary issue paying tribute to Flannery O'Connor. She is also the author of Bone China Girls: A Poetic Account of a Female Crime, a collection of persona poetry centered around the 1965 murder of Sylvia Likens in Indianapolis. Kori lives in northeastern Ohio, where she works as a marketing copywriter and teaches a teen Bible study at her church. www.korifraziermorgan.com