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Jack of all clubs: WORD - Creative Writing at ASU

Each week reporter Jeff Darge searches campus for a new club to join.

Writing is something most students cannot avoid. Whether it be through essays, finals or discussion on blackboard, students will, at least once in their college career, have to write. Some students take it beyond that, however, and write on their own time. For those students, writing isn't an academic necessity, it is an art. WORD - Creative Writing at ASU, is a group of those students.

When I arrived at the WORD's meeting, I noticed that this group was the smallest of any group I have covered. Five or so writers sat prepared for the meeting to begin. The club's president, actuarial science and accountancy sophomore Trevor Hutchins, led discussion on characterization. 

He began by showing an excerpt from Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." The club discussed Twain's way of describing the title character's looks, motives and beliefs in only a few sentences. Next, Hutchins showed an excerpt of his own writing. This is where things got a bit interesting.

WORD is a fusion between a class and a workshop. Sure, you can come, learn a bit about writing and after an hour leave, but that isn't exactly what the club seems to be about. The real meat and potatoes of the club comes from giving and receiving constructive criticism. Hutchins was not showing his work as an example of great characterization. Rather, he was looking to help his piece by offering it up to the club.

This can seem like a bit of a daunting task, and that's because it is. Writing, like all pieces of art, is a part of you. Just having someone see your work can seem like a huge task because in a lot of ways, it is leaving yourself vulnerable. 

There is a famous quote from former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, that goes "art is the window to man's soul." Letting people in can be scary, and a fast way to let people in is by showing them your art.

After Hutchin's piece, another member showed off her work. While the members of the club discussed the characterization in that piece, I began to look through my computer to hopefully find something I knew I would be comfortable showing the club.

Reading about my struggle to show my writing to a group of five might seem ironic considering that you're currently reading this article in a large-scale collegiate publication. Showing people my "newsy" writing is easy— it's my poetry that most people don't know about. 

I found a few pieces of mine, began to put them on display and hoped that the club would take me seriously. While they gave me wonderful criticisms, I began to wonder what I was so worried about. After all, this is creative writing club. Any creative writing is its bread and butter.

"We've been trying to basically have a creative place where people can come and write together and have a good time while at the same time learning from other people," Hutchins said.

As to my previous fear of showing off my creative writing, club vice president and integrative health sophomore Miquella Young said that fear is one thing that the club is constantly trying to assuage. 

"It's important to instill the values of creativity in other people — to know it's alright to be open to that side of yourself," Young said.

The club's secretary, English freshman Claudia Estrada, added that showing off your work doesn't necessarily single you out.

"You won't be the only one sharing, and I'm sure you'll enjoy hearing what other people have to share," Estrada said.

For those interested in doing a little creative writing of their own, WORD meets in LL106 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Check out its Facebook page in advance to find out the topic of the week's meeting.

Reach the reporter at or follow  @jeffdarge on Twitter.

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ManArt is the window to man's soul.
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Art is the window to man's soul.
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