By Leah Clark
Students walked from class with empty bellies. Pangs of hunger brought them to the TreeTop Café, but some of Brookhaven College’s poets soothed their hunger at the Windmill Writer’s Club’s performance April 10.
English professor Jason Carney introduced the after- noon’s performers, Ashley Balcazar and Antoine Votaw, Brookhaven students and leaders of the Windmill Writer’s Club.
Both students took turns reciting their favorite personal pieces. Both Votaw and Balcazar’s first pieces were about writer’s block.
While Balcazar was charismatic and bubbly in her presentation, Votaw was stoic and serious. The stark contrast in the two performers kept the audience engaged and intrigued, as many commented after the show.
The performance served not only as entertainment for the Brookhaven students’ lunch break, but also as an advertisement for a opportunity available to the student body.
The Windmill Writer’s Club meets the first and third Fridays, along with the second Thursday, of the month. “The whole club is for anyone with a passion or interest in writing to develop their skill and meet other like-minded people,” Votaw said. He also added that in recent months, the club has doubled in size, and Balcazar has hopes of further growth.
The club leaders are also in charge of the Moulin Review, a literary journal that receives submissions from writers internationally.
During club meetings, members are able to review submissions.
This exposes members to varied styles of writing and allows them to improve their own writing by comparing and contrasting writing they enjoyed with pieces that are not as nuanced.
“To me, that’s what this club is about, just experimenting with new writing styles and finding outside sources that you want to bring in and incorporate into your own style,” Votaw said.
Both Votaw and Balcazar said everyone can benefit from improved writing skills. Votaw has an associate degree in science and was on the path to nursing school when life threw him a curveball. During this semester, Votaw rediscovered his passion for writing. Through poetry and literary expression, he was able to refocus.
It has helped him in every aspect of his life, Votaw said. Votaw plans on studying psychology at University of North Texas, but foresees writing as an ongoing part of his life and career.
Balcazar is a double major student seeking a bachelor’s in English and French and has received a scholarship from El Centro College for her work. As a child, she said, she read the dictionary for fun and by the fifth grade, had finished her first novella.
“Writing has helped me with my academics more than I’ll probably ever fully appreciate. Being able to express yourself and communicate effectively is a necessity throughout life,” Balcazar said. “On a personal level, writing has been invaluable. I’ve only started sharing my work relatively recently; beforehand, it was just cathartic. It helped me deal with everything life threw my way.”
The club is currently seeking new faces and other artistic minds. “The more students that are involved, the more we’ll all learn from one another. Brookhaven has so many talented writers, and it’s crazy to think about the creative out- put that could be achieved if we all got in a room together,” Balcazar said.
Those who are interested in developing their communication skills, overcoming fear of public speaking, or expanding their knowledge of the literary works and workmanship can contact the leaders at [email protected]