To write is to write, write and rewrite, but no one should do it alone. Plattsburgh State’s Creative Writer’s Guild has created a safe space on campus for any student who enjoys expressing themselves through a love of the written word.
Freshman digital media production major Tyler Frenia is president of the Creative Writer’s Guild. Frenia said the club serves as an outlet for writers to share their work with very little judgment.
“We all know what it’s like to have a weird idea and try to get it in a better format, so we try to give those same ideas to other people,” Frenia said.
Junior communication sciences and disorders major and secretary of the club Alexandra Lewis said she enjoys the laid-back structure of the club.
“It doesn’t feel like a classroom,” Lewis said. “Because you think [about] writing, and you think school.”
Janelle Brassard, senior broadcast journalism and digital media production major, is the current vice president of the club. Brassard said she wants the Creative Writer’s Guild to be as relaxing as possible.
“We want our club to be an open space for people to just chill out at the end of a long day,” Brassard said. “We laugh a lot in our club.”
One of the club’s more better-known accomplishments was bringing 2014 International World Poetry Slam Champion and 2015 National Poetry Slam Champion Porsha O. to campus last April. Brassard was very happy with the event’s turnout and thinks inviting her was a good way to get the club’s name out there.
“That was a big deal for the club,” Brassard said. “It was definitely the biggest thing we’ve ever done. We brought Porsha O. on, she killed it, people loved her and she filled up Krinovitz, and that felt good for us.”
While the E-board is currently working on bringing another guest speaker to campus, they’ve done smaller-themed events in the past. They hosted blackout poetry nights, where old pages of books or newspapers are blacked-out with marker to create poems, and even wrote their own scary stories and shared their favorite horror-genre authors during Halloween.
“We’re trying to add a little flair onto our meetings more,” Brassard said.
The club has also dabbled in the realm of publishing and centered a couple of its meetings around the process to educate its members. They invited then-president of the LGBTQ Club Jessica Suphan, who had been published before, to present on the subject. Brassard said the presentation showed them what opportunities are out there for publishing your own work.
“If you’re writing for fun, you’re probably somebody who wants to get published,” Brassard said. “I didn’t know how easy it actually was.”
Lewis said she joined the Creative Writer’s Guild after finding the courage to read her own poetry during one of the club’s intersectional poetry nights.
“That’s what got me interested in the club,” Lewis said. “That was my first time sharing in front of people.”
For Frenia, he fell in love with the club from the beginning, saying he came to PSUC immediately with the intent of joining the Creative Writer’s Guild.
“I reached out to the previous president of the club long before I was a student here,” Frenia said. “As soon as I heard about it at orientation, I was like, ‘I am joining this club.’”
Brassard has been with the club for a year as vice president. She said the number of members and its attendance tends to fluctuate week-to-week with an average of five or six regulars each week.
“Sometimes we think we’re getting new people, and then they just kind of show up for one week, and we don’t see them again,” Brassard said.
Despite this, Frenia said the club still wants to focus on fostering a love of writing without the structure of a standard writing class that could scare some students away.
“A lot of people hear writing, and they think, ‘I’m gonna be writing essays all the time,’” Frenia said. “We want [members] to be writing, but we want it to be less like it’s forced writing.”
With a foundation of creative writing and chill vibes throughout the club, Brassard said the Creative Writer’s Guild is welcoming, inviting and seeking members. The club meets Thursdays at 8 p.m. in Meeting Room 6 of the Angell College Center.
“You don’t ever have to show up feeling like someone is going to judge you,” Brassard said. “It’s just an open environment to share your ideas.”