A crowd gathered in the Alumni Room of Old Main this past Monday to hear senior creative writing majors Jenna Dercole, Nicole Thompson and Chloe Hagerman present their culminating works. With a mix of poetry and fiction humorous at times and moving at others, the audience greeted the first Writer’s Forum of the term with enthusiasm.
Dercole, who read first, recalled writing the same story over and over at the dining room table as a child. She noted the gradual change from said child to someone who, as described by Thompson, “writes because it’s beautiful…[she] writes because she wants to believe in the strength of her own words.” Thompson went on to describe how Dercole viewed writing as “something creative that can be navigated, evolved, and tailored,” which Dercole agreed to, adding that she was “really interested in juxtaposing two images” in her pieces.
Dercole read a few short poems and an excerpt from a longer work that began as a novel. Her pieces excelled at describing character’s personalities using small but important details that perfectly illustrated their larger selves.
After reading, Dercole remained at the microphone to introduce Thompson’s work, something she said “revolves around absences… [Thompson] leaves out just enough for the reader to feel those absences…and see lives reflected in her works.”
Thompson valued writing because it enabled her “to hold something in her hands that has risen out of her creative processes,” said Dercole. Thompson read pieces that proved her intense connections to her work, presenting several short poems and two short stories. One addressed tattoos and their role in defining self; another addressed memories growing up. Thompson also read a story that poignantly described the moment of departure from a railroad station and the process of leaving loved ones behind.
Hagerman then presented a piece that, in addition to being a story, was being reworked as a play. Describing herself as someone who “operates on a ‘laughter as life’ theory,” Hagerman’s piece took place in the waiting room of hell. Originally inspired by a documentary on the seven deadly sins, Hagerman departed from her usual longer works and wrote a short story about a man caught between hell and purgatory. Her story drew laughs from the audience as well as interest in an intriguing new concept.
The first Writer’s Forum of the term went off successfully and left the audience wanting more.
Writer’s Forums offer an opportunity for writers to present their most polished works to their peers. They are a requirement for all Creative Writing majors and take place every other Monday at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Room in Old Main.