Section: Arts

Seniors share creative writing projects in capstone reading

Seniors share creative writing projects in capstone reading

Fallon read from her capstone project. | COURTESY OF BRITTANY LIN

On Tuesday evening, Brandi Recital Hall filled with students, friends, teachers and mentors as the seniors from Professor Leong’s Fall 2023: ENGL 405: Senior Seminar in Creative Writing prepared to share excerpts of their respective capstone projects. The various readings included a section of an epic fantasy, poems, short stories, parts of a comic book, part of a screenplay, a personal manifesto and a passage from a chapbook. In order of appearance, the 13 seniors who read were Isa Bolton, Janein Brookes, Austin Brown, Ellie Fallon, Brooke Fowler, Isla Hamblett, Phoebe Houser, Emily Jetton, Lorien Kauffman, Isabel Keener, Caroline Keir, Devon Turner and Olivia Wieland. Over the course of two hours, including a 15-minute intermission, the audience laughed and listened attentively to the seniors’ words and stories.

Brookes’ excerpt from her long-form fiction piece “Eyes of the Lioness,” about religion, Rastafarianism and family, artfully combined religious motifs with modern-day struggles as the main character dealt with the violent death of her mother. The story featured potent imagery and incisive dialogue that quickly captivated the audience even as Brookes’ stopping point left them wanting more.

On a more comedic note, Fallon wrote and illustrated part of a comic book called “The Kitchen Sink Kids Go to School,” about a group of middle schoolers who form a band and get hired to play house parties and open for other bands, even as they are bullied by peers and joke in typical middle-school-boy fashion. Fallon’s punch lines landed with college students and middle schoolers alike, and her art style brought the story to life. The story landed particularly well at the reading as Fallon broke into different voices for the band members and their fans. The delightful one-liners included but were not limited to “mullet moron,” “we hotwired a golf cart at the country club” and “he didn’t like it when I let a raccoon in the trunk.” Fallon was inspired to write a comic book after taking ARTS 240: Writing Pictures and Drawing Words: The Art of Making Cartoons, Comics, Zines and Graphic Novels with Associate Professor of Art Craig Hill: “That [was] this really cool, interdisciplinary comics class, and then I spoke to [Leong] at the beginning of the year and I was like ‘I’m gonna do a comic book. Like, this is what I want to do,’ [and] he was just so supportive.”

Hamblett read a piece called “My Manifesto,” part of a three-piece collection titled “A Collection of Unrelated Points.” Both ludicrously funny and deeply relatable, Hamblett’s piece was about everything and nothing. “My Manifesto” featured many perfectly off-kilter and disjointed lines, such as: “I believe in mixing metals and sleeping in jewelry. I’m not sure if I believe in camping. I don’t believe in consulting.” As the piece went on, Hamblett’s statements coalesced into a guide for the principles one should live by; she concluded: “It feels like someone loves you when they’re right about you. It feels like the sun for the radio to be right about me. One thing the radio would love about me is, I believe in telling people that you love them, even if they’re only getting up to use the bathroom.” Just as “My Manifesto” tied all of Hamblett’s threads together, so too did the reading bring the seniors together to celebrate their capstones.

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