By Brady Achterberg
Susquehannock High School
Before I start, I should share my experience with the Call of Cthulhu club during its brief existence at my high school.
No after-school event – excepting Quiz Bowl – ever struck my curiosity at Susquehannock High. They were so far removed from what I’d consider interesting that I began to believe anything at the school must be dull as a requirement. My ambitious friend Tony proved me wrong when he navigated a school-based Call of Cthulhu club – the name refers to the pulp 1920s writer H.P. Lovecraft and the role-playing-game based on him – into the thrashing sea of reality. We met for an hour after every Wednesday.
The club quickly submerged – only four people showed up to the first meeting, and after a week, the school board shut the Call of Cthulhu club down, claiming it was too violent. This is the same school board that sponsors a field hockey team.
With this experience in mind, I was excited – but not too hopeful – when flyers started showing up advertising the Creative Writing Club around early October. It would meet for an hour after each Wednesday. High schools come with built-in shock absorbers – anything coming just from a few students or teachers tends to sublimate from lack of members or administrative action. And, we already have the Lit Mag. Expectations were not high from this cynical teenager.
I was blown away when I walked in Wednesday afternoon and found a group of twenty-plus people sitting at their desks and chatting. I had been expecting a turnout of five or six. My first thought was, “Is this the right classroom?”
It was, and my mood turned form surprise to total elation. Suddenly we had a stable, sizable group convening every Wednesday to do for free what my mom has paid hundreds of dollars for me to do for a few days a year: that is, critique people’s work and help people improve as writers. I was presenting myself at a feast of writing ability and creative advice for six hours a day for years and didn’t realize it. For some reason, I thought no-one else at my school aspired to be a creative writer. Well, I was proved wrong.
Our Creative Writing Club is still a bit too amorphous and unserious, and there are a lot of places it can go from here, but it’s a great place to be. I encourage every other school in the county to create one, even if no one looks interested. Many young writers are watching the flyers with triumphant eyes and closed lips.