Susquehannock High’s Creative Writing Club off to great start

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.

 

About Matt Eyer

Assistant Features Editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Read my (mostly ancient Greece-related) books reviews at Book Buzz. Follow me on Twitter @mjeyer.
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