“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou might have never written more truthful words throughout her incredible existence, and if one were to read the collages of writer’s opinions that decorated the walls of Eastern Michigan University’s Day of Writing event at the Student Center, Oct. 30, they’d agree that her sentiment may be unanimous.
Occurring on the third floor of the Student Center, the event’s purpose was to foster and encourage writing by the over 20,000 men and women that make up EMU’s student body. Running from the midmorning to the early afternoon, the Day of Writing event was rife with panel discussions and activities that sought to put their message into practice. Among the activities was the chance for student writers to express their philosophies about their craft, with motivations and intentions covering the many methods of manuscript.
“It makes you think, and I think that was its purpose,” said Brooklyn McCammon, a University Writing Center Tutor who contributed her time and expertise to the organization of the event. The activity in question was titled “7 Chapters,” where students were asked to organize the most significant events of their life into chapter headings, as if they were penning their memoirs. Other activities endeavored to answer the most esoteric of questions regarding the art of writing - specifically, “What,” “Why,” and “How?”
The answers to these deceptively simple queries ranged from the terse and humorous to the unflinchingly honest.
As it pertained to the question of “Why,” respondents’ answers varied from the contradictory “Why Not,” to perhaps the most logical “To Get Paid,” to the more revealing “To Share My Feelings and Express Myself,” and “So You Know You Have A Purpose.”
An exhibit of particular interest was a compilation of responses to this question provided by a set of scribes in the midst of completing the eighth grade. Perhaps the answer of greatest significance was the reply in the largest of script in the center of the collage, which read “I have too much in my head to keep it there.”
For other writers, such as Graduate Student and Writing Instructor Charlotte Malkin, her reasoning for writing takes on a far more personal and cathartic relevance.
“I write so I can be done with certain parts of life. I like to make a book, so I have the ability to ‘close the cover’ on those parts of my life,” she said.
In addition to the activities and discussion panels made available to attendees, with each event patron afforded one free raffle ticket for a drawing that boasted prizes such as Amazon Kindles, EMU apparel, and gift cards for the Bookbound bookstore in Ann Arbor. Separate drawings were held for students and for faculty, in order to ensure all in attendance had a chance to walk out with a prize.
As the great Maya Angelou advised, retention of an individual’s story can be one of the most agonizing experiences for a writer. For those that attended the festivities that made up the Day of Writing, that agony was soothed if only for a chilly October afternoon.