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Incoming students participate in creative writing workshop

From July 6-11, six students participating in the university's "Chapter One" program traveled the region and explored Elon's campus in search of inspiration and creativity.


Sam Sienerth writing upon the rocks of the Haw River.

Mirrors, ribbons, a blanket fort, a tornado of baby dolls, an apothecary, swings, military fatigues, more baby dolls. These are hardly the sorts of things that creative writers typically turn to for inspiration. But for the six participants in Chapter One creative writing workshop, they were just the ticket. 

These objects and their spaces were part of a "writing playshop" that the group completed at the Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro. Chace Blackburn described the museum as "a haven for artists, writers - creatures of any kind. I drew much inspiration there."

The workshop took place from July 6-11, 2014, and is one of five First-Year Summer Experiences offered by New Student and Transition Programs. The workshop was developed and facilitated by Assistant Professor Jon Burr in the Department of English, and Negesti Kaudo, a rising senior who is a double major in English and psychology.

When the group wasn't exploring the depths of their imaginations at the Elsewhere Museum, it traveled to such locations as Glencoe Mill to practice their descriptive writing along the banks of the Haw River and the North Carolina Zoo for narration exercises involving elephants, puffins, and baby gorillas.  

The workshop did not focus on any one type of writing, and, instead, students practiced with a variety of styles, including fiction, poetry and non-fiction. This facet of the workshop was valuable for Melina Casados. "I learned a lot about different writing styles, and I'm really thankful for that," Casados said. "I was unsure about what type of writing I wanted to pursue prior to this program, but I am now more sure than ever."

In addition to their travels, each participant took part in a critique of their own writing where they gained valuable feedback, an experience that Sam Sienerth found to be particularly useful. "I think the best thing that we did was the workshops, where we critiqued each other's works," Sienerth said. 

Julia Sorensen echoed Sienerth. "Chapter One was packed with great activities that kept us interested wherever we looked," Sorensen said. "It was great to receive constructive feedback on my writing."

The program also sought to provide participants with a glimpse of college life and to familiarize them with Elon's campus and resources.

"I'm so glad I had this opportunity. I got to meet an awesome group of people and was able to grow as a writer, a person, and an Elon student during my time here," said Rebecca Murphy. 

Similarly to Murphy, Mikki Warszawski saw great value in how the program brought her together with individuals of similar interests. "It was a glimpse of the college experience and I would truly recommend it to anyone else," Warszawski said. "It allows you to meet pretty amazing people that you don't have to say goodbye to."

Jon Burr,
7/13/2014 6:15 PM