For writers, a blinking insertion point on a blank Word document can be a (sometimes daunting) invitation to creativity, catharsis and expression. But as the poet John Donne said, “No man is an island,” and writers often thrive when surrounded and supported by a creative community.
The Inkwell is the University’s literary magazine that is entirely student-run, from the earliest stages of the writing process all the way through publication. Now under new direction, the magazine has big plans to draw more publicity to the writing community on campus and increase readership over the course of the year.
Most notably, The Inkwell will be holding competitions for the best submissions. Faculty in the English department will judge the entries. Although the prizes have not yet been established concretely, this semester’s Editor-in-Chief Maria Mazzaro ’14 is currently in negotiations to have the winning pieces included in the publications of published faculty members.
The Inkwell will also have a greater online presence in the coming semester. The group has set up a new Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/9v4qqst), which students can visit to get information about the publication and give feedback. A website outside of Facebook is also in development and will be running tentatively by the end of the semester.
Mazzaro also hopes to change the format of The Inkwell’s meetings. “These will work practically like writing workshops,” Mazzaro said. “We’ll have prompts and write for a bit, and then we’ll talk about them and have feedback. People are also welcomed to bring in other work for feedback as well.”
“That initial fear [of sharing your work] goes away pretty quickly, and you see what a privilege it is to read the work of other writers,” said Professor Sonya Huber, The Inkwell’s faculty advisor. “Like any other extreme sport, you do it for the adrenaline rush and to dare yourself, to see if you can handle it. And then when you do, you’re psyched.”
The reason behind the changes taking place in The Inkwell is to bring a new life to the publication. Mazzaro said, “The Inkwell is re-vamping the old magazine into something that’s more fresh and fun for everyone.” Her goal is to make the organization “a place where students and fellow writers can create freely and openly.”
How will The Inkwell achieve this goal? “The Inkwell will instill aspiring writers with the tools they need for successful literary pieces: friendly faces to listen, the thoughts to provoke great words and an agent to begin their published careers,” Mazzaro said. “It’s fun, it’s light, it’s as much or as little commitment as you want it to be and it’s a place for you and your writing to shine!”
The Inkwell will produce three themed publications this semester, accepting all kinds of pieces: from poems to prose and fiction to nonfiction. And for those feeling less than inspired lately, The Inkwell might just be the catalyst to help push beyond that writer’s block.
Members will also have the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience in the process of assembling and publishing a magazine, even becoming eligible for positions as editors or assistant editors.
Although many students who take part in The Inkwell are English majors or minors, Mazzaro and other members of the publication would like to draw the attention of students from all disciplines.
“As a teacher of creative writing, I know that there are creative students in every field,” said Huber.
Interested students in all class years — from freshmen to seniors — are encouraged to attend the first meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. in BCC 110. Mazzaro stressed that The Inkwell is always looking for new students with new ideas to improve the magazine and, even more broadly, the creative community on campus.
For questions about The Inkwell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To submit original work for publication, students can visit http://theinkwell.submittable.com/submit.