The Sam Houston Writing Center isn’t just a place to get advice on academic papers or homework anymore. Starting on Sunday, April 20, the Writing Center will host an after-hours open reading program called Writing @ the Center.
“We started this because we really think there’s a desire out there for writers to have their work heard,” Dana Allen, a writing consultant at the Writing Center, said. “We know that there are a lot of people who like to write and enjoy writing, and so we opened this up so that people could put their words out there in an informal setting.”
The idea came from a conference that several Writing Center consultants attended in March.
“We came back and felt very inspired to try and bring something like that to Sam,” Allen said.
“There are so many facets to writing,” said Kris Gottlieb, a writing consultant. “You have the academic writing that is most concentrated on at the writing center, but then you have this whole other side, this creative side, and people feel like they don’t have an outlet for that.”
Writers are welcome to bring any work to share, whether it is fiction or nonfiction. There will be a time limit on longer pieces, but any writing is welcome.
“People can bring in part of a poem they’ve written, they can bring in part of a personal memoir, something nonfiction,” Allen said. “They can read parts of it and see what people’s reactions are to it.”
According to Allen and Gottlieb, Writing @ the Center is an informal, encouraging place for students to share their writing. Although there are other groups on campus that encourage creative writing, like the Poets’ Lounge and the Writers Forum, this is something that the Writing Center has not done in a while.
“It’s a chance to share yourself with others,” said Gottlieb. “Writing is sharing yourself.”
Allen and Gottlieb said that the ultimate goals of the program are bringing more students into the Writing Center and showing them that it isn’t just a place for academia, or for English majors.
“We get a lot of people from a lot of different departments in the writing center, but a lot of people associate the writing center with English,” Allen said. “We want to let everybody know that anybody who’s interested in words and putting words together would be welcome in this kind of forum. Maybe it’ll get new people into the Writing Center, and maybe it’ll help us bring together that community of writers.”
Allen and Gottlieb believe that the Writing @ the Center program will help students learn more about the Writing Center in a relaxed, informal fashion.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Writing Center because it helps to bring people in and let them see that we have resources available to help them with their schoolwork,” Allen said, “but at the same time it changes the focus somewhat of our center from kind of a grade-oriented place to a place where creativity and self-expression come into play.”
Writing @ the Center will be held in the Writing Center, Farrington 111, on April 20 at 8 p.m. There will be refreshments and door prizes. The Writing Center plans to host another Writing @ the Center on May 4 at 8 p.m., and they hope to continue the program next semester. For more information, students can e-mail the Writing Center at HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com or call them at 936.294.3680.