By Anastasia Skliarova
It is no secret that Lawrence University encourages its students to create communities for themselves through organizations focused upon a kaleidoscope of interests. We have a variety of clubs devoted to several intramural sports, future career goals, social justice and even a club for those who love tea.
I was surprised, however, when I discovered Creative Writing Club. Given the presence of academic classes devoted to creative writing, I was curious as to how and why this group emerged. Interviews with the presidents of the Creative Writing Club, however, helped shed light on this intriguing, writing-intensive club.
According to co-president and junior Jamie DeMotts, the high demand for the creative writing classes leads to limited availability for new students and “the club serves as an inclusive environment for people to write and learn more about writing together.”
Creative Writing Club was originally formed by senior Elizabeth Graber and Sara Johnson ’14, both to get Lawrentians together for NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—and to provide a necessary outlet for the creative writers on this campus.
Co-president and junior Jess Morgan explained that she and DeMotts are working to build upon the club model established by the presidents before them.
“Previously, the club was centered mostly on write-ins where we all met and sat together and wrote for a while. While the club did do a few other things throughout the year, I thought there was a lot of room for growth,” she said.
“I really wanted to focus on running more workshops because I thought it would be a valuable way for students to improve their writing and editing skills,” Morgan elaborated. “Going into this year, we also wanted to take on more projects and find ways that we could collaborate with other group organizations on campus.”
When asked what draws DeMotts to creative writing, she responded, “I guess it’s a way to funnel all the ideas swirling around in my mind. I don’t realize how many threads of thought are trapped inside my brain until I get my pen out at the beginning of every meeting and see all the stories that have been hanging out. Also, since we’re all considered adults now, it’s a nice way to have a socially acceptable ‘playtime.’”
“Our imaginations don’t die when we turn 18, they can just get squashed by the weight of the Lawrence and life workload,” DeMotts added.
Morgan’s explanation of her connection to creative writing also touched upon the idea of traveling back to childhood.
“When writing creatively, and discussing ideas with others, I feel as though I tap into a childlike state. There have been times during our club ‘warm-up’ activities where someone will just start giggling about their idea,” she said.
Morgan also praised the potential for flexibility in creative writing, because “in a rigid academic setting where it’s easy to get stressed or you’re frequently having to meet the criteria or expectations of others, it’s fun to write about whatever you want.”
When asked about why creative writing should be encouraged on campus, DeMotts also mentioned the stresses of our environment and said, “People push themselves a ridiculous amount on this campus and it’s great to be able to hang out with a group of students allowing your mind to wander and dance for an hour a week. I see a strong link between writing and improving—as well as maintaining—mental health.”
Meetings take place at 5 p.m. on Sundays in the Arthur Vining Davis Room in the Warch Campus Center. Both DeMotts and Morgan encourage those interested in participating in Creative Writing Club to e-mail them for more information, or to check out the club’s Facebook page for meeting updates.