Nov 25th, 2019, 05:12 PM

Creative Writing Society

By Melissa Gomez
During a meeting, students listened carefully to what others had to say. Image Credit: Caden Armstrong
Coming Together and Writing as a Community

Writing is not only a hobby but a passion and way for individuals to express themselves. Writing can come in many forms from creative writing to poetry, and there are multiple categories and genres of writing, examples being fiction or biography. Most importantly, however, writing can make people feel included in society and give people a voice. 

Here at AUP, Samira Safarzadeh, a senior majoring in creative writing, wanted to find a place outside the classroom where she could write and find a way to share her ideas with other writers. “It is my last semester at AUP and I felt that there was no sense of community in the creative writing department. We would talk in class but nowhere else. I felt there needed to be a community to get together, talk about writing, and have a safe environment to do so. In class, we have workshops and it’s scary because we have to critique our work which can be intimidating. But I wanted to create a safe environment to discuss writing, books, and different genres. And just to have fun and learn.” 

Creative Writing Society. Image Credit: Caden Armstrong  

The Creative Writing Society has been renewed by Samira and they meet every week to discuss writing, poetry, and book authors. Leo Tow, Vice President of the Creative Writing Society, was part of the society in the past, claiming the meetings were good but they weren't as consistent which caused low attendance. However, the clubs goal was to be consistent and have different activities.

Throughout the semester, they've not only discussed writing but held poetry nights, a young adult book night to discuss YA fiction and writers such as J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan, and a site writing activity at the museum, where members would look to art for inspiration. "Poetry night was great. We had a really good turn out," Leo recalls about the different events. "Character night was also fun seeing people dressed up as their favorite characters. The sight writing event was also exciting, even though only a few people showed up due to the weather. We got together at the Musée d'Orsay and it was a blast. It was a good event."

Discussions within the Creative Writing Society vary. Some days there will be debates on what makes a good character stand out or why a villain is sometimes liked more than the good protagonist. There are also important discussions on diversity and LGBTQ representation in books. Other days, writers read out the work that they've been working on. Discussions on other ways of writing such as fanfiction have also made an appearance. 

Students reading other students work while on a museum visit. Image Credit: Caden Armstrong 

Oscar Hartzog, a junior double majoring in philosophy and creative writing, attends the club regularly and participates in the activities. "I like the energy in the room. Everyone is not only very excited about creative writing and to make each other better writers but they are also very passionate about books and movies." Club members often bring up their favorite books, creating exciting conversation about authors, character development, and book fandoms and ships. "It goes together nicely into a very energetic lively discussion that doesn't need to be structured, but more of good social bonding. It makes me think more about literature and movies and my own work. The organizers have it pretty put together and are very passionate!" 

Sam Miller, a current sophomore majoring in gender, sexuality, and society, also adds their opinion on the club and how it has helped them develop as a writer. "We've been mainly having conversations about topics and genres. I think that the community and discussions we've had have been very stimulating for me and it makes me want to write. It opens my eyes to other perspectives in literature and also makes me more conscious of how and what I'm writing."

Samira is very happy with the club overall, feeling she really did create a sense of community here at AUP for writers and book fans alike. "I enjoy the community that I have created. I wouldn’t take the credit for all of it. I started to feel like I belonged somewhere, and I hope everyone else feels that way." Leo himself is an active writer and is very passionate about his writing. He often reads his poetry and writing during the club meetings. Outside of the club, Leo continues to write, focusing not only on fiction but journalism as well. He explains how the Creative Writing Society has helped him as a writer. "The Creative Writing Society helped me share my writing and it's helped me think about writing from another person's perspective. It's very powerful and interesting because I love hearing different people's processes and styles and it helps me as a reader, writer, and editor down the line."

A presentation discussing cancel culture. Image Credit: Caden Armstrong 

Creative Writing Society will continue to meet next semester with new topics of discussions and activities in store. Of course, no spoilers to what the club has in store next semester, but anyone can join. It's a good, safe group of people who all share one common goal: to write and create exciting worlds for readers. As Samira stated nicely, "Our daily lives are boring. I wanted to create this world that is exciting and through books, you live other people’s lives, and if you don’t read books you have one life. I like the different perspectives and I like how you can be represented in a book. Our world is limited, and I want to create something that has a purpose. I want my readers to feel something from my writing."