By Aaron Ortega
The Windmill Writer’s Club focus was to build a community of writers based on an informal setting where students, or students interested in creative writing, can come together and share each other’s work and learn more about the world of publishing.
Yet over the years since this workshop began, an unfortunate lack of participation, challenges to maintain the primary focus behind the club’s ideals, and maintaining membership (as of press time, about a dozen students had expressed interest this semester), have all collectively stood in the pathway to the club’s success.
Just a brief scroll through Moulin Review, an online literary arts journal that was spearheaded by former club member, Erin Marissa Russell will give one a glimpse into a colorful array of creative energy presented in various forms of art, poetry and creative writing.
And through this online publication, these works have reached a wider audience than just the campus student body. This is just one example of how this student-based club maintains the ideology of a workshop that is completely student-oriented and focused on sharing each other’s work.
At the workshop’s beginnings in 2008, the Windmill Writer’s Club began strong, enlisting a group of enthusiastic writers eager to share their work. Passionate creative writers were able to step outside of the traditional classroom environment, disregarding traditional constructs such as grammar and grades, and focusing more attention toward the different aspects of creative writing and getting feedback, as well as learning about the publication process. Jen Avitia, a former student, said she joined the club “wanting to see what other people were doing with their writing, and that really helped a lot.”
The club, along with Russell, then-president, eventually contributing to the creation the journal, Moulin Review. While not a requirement of the club, submissions were open to anyone who wanted to contribute. “The journal has potential to get students deeper into creative writing than they’ve ever been before,” said Aaron Clark, communications professor and club sponsor. “We are all really limited in our knowledge of writing…when I enter the world of publishing and I see there are so many other writers out there, and it’s clear what really good writing is, that other people want to read, and what isn’t, what is cliché, by becoming part of the journal, and editing and reading all of these submissions you see mediocre work and quality work. I think the journal is a real key aspect of the club.”
The publication started rather strongly with college funding and raised funding from the first two years generating the first two volumes in print and online forms.
However, further publications were limited due to lack of funding. The journal now continues to be an online-only publication, which can be found at www.moulinreview.wordpress.com.
Journal publication may be a positive addition to any student’s resume, but moreover, the journal’s editorial board membership is as well.
“Opportunities to be on the board at a functioning literary journal are not easy to come by and help prepare students to analyze literature in college courses or to enter the publishing field,” Russell said.
The works that are submitted to the journal are reviewed by the editorial board, and published alongside writers from around the world, including Pushcart Prize winners.
As a student club, the group’s very existence is based on the students’ desire to have the club. Ideas that have come to Clark’s mind to help spread the word involves more announcements and promotions, such as advertising on the Brookhaven website homepage, as well as other electronic sources. But ultimately, the club relies on student participation. Considering that Brookhaven consists of such a diverse student body with changing schedules, participation can be represented through online meetings or posting forums.
Clark said there is a new crop of eager students this semester. “I think what it’ll take is someone to see that the journal has some significance,” he said, “and that it can be a really neat thing that belongs to Brookhaven.”