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Rome Area Writers teams up with aspiring students during workshop

Jessica Wright


On Oct. 22, the Rome Area Writers (RAW) joined the Shorter community for a writer’s workshop on campus to discuss various students’ writings.

The workshop was an event that welcomed all interested writers to discuss their works with RAW, a group of published authors from the Rome area.

Courtney Clifton, senior English and liberal arts major, spear-headed this event for Shorter after she attended a Writer’s Forum hosted by RAW over the summer. After she returned from the Forum, she met with RAW’s leadership team in August to “present [her] idea for a workshop.”

Dr. Angela C. O’Neal, assistant professor of English and co-advisor for The Chimes, joined Clifton in the introductory meeting with RAW to get the main parts of the workshop planned. O’Neal said Clifton saw the opportunities and took advantage of the amenities RAW was willing to provide.

“Courtney saw an opportunity to work with some more experienced writers at RAW and for them to mentor some of the aspiring writers here,” said O’Neal, “as well as create a community of writers and share experiences, share advice, and help each other along.”

O’Neal said that RAW will have previously read the students’ submitted works so they can come to the workshop “prepared to give advice, talk through the pieces and give our writers ideas on how to make their writing stronger.”

Clifton is excited for Shorter students, as well as herself, to participate in “crafting their art together” with RAW.

“To receive advice about my own writing and to see the writing of other students in the school will be awesome,” Clifton exclaimed. “A workshop is a place where we can share our ideas freely, and anytime I get to do that, I’m excited.”

Clifton, however, said the workshop is not solely about reading each other’s work, but rather that Rome knows about Shorter’s creative writers and that hopefully a community can be formed through the workshop.

“Creating a community of writers is amazing,” Clifton said. “It’s through this community that we’ll grow and learn together.”

Clifton said The Chimes (Shorter’s student-published literary magazine) staff was very helpful with making the workshop a reality, “from presenting more ideas to helping with fliers.” O’Neal added that oftentimes the arts are not as visible or as prominent as most organizations, but she has seen a significant change recently in the distinction of The Chimes.

“I think The Chimes has really tried, especially over the past few years under Courtney’s leadership, to become more visible not only on campus but in the community as well,” said O’Neal.

Darlene Griffin, senior English major and a member of The Chimes, said she was excited for the chances presented at the workshop.

“It’s a neat opportunity for the Shorter community and writers in Rome to get together and learn from each other,” said Griffin.

Griffin sent in a snippet of what she is submitting for graduate school to get as many perspectives on it as possible.

“I’ve looked at it ten thousand times, so I don’t see anything anymore,” said Griffin. “So hearing other people’s perspectives about it and really listening to whatever advice they have will be very beneficial.”

Griffin added that everyone has different facets that they can contribute to and look for in writings, so she was looking forward to RAW giving her legitimate advice that she could use.

“I was really hoping for honest critique,” said Griffin. “I really wanted them to get in depth and have some really cool things to say about my work that I could use and that will help me before I submit to grad schools.”

O’Neal said their prayer is to use the workshop “to expand the role of creativity and writing and the arts around campus… and to ultimately glorify God through that process.”

She mentioned a quote from John Piper at the beginning of The Chimes, which summarizes their ultimate purpose: “One of the greatest duties of the Christian mind is imagination… It may be the hardest work of the human mind, and perhaps the most God-like.”