Recap: Creative Writing Coffeehouse


Whitney Xu

Writers confer at the Creative Writing Coffee House

The library was filled with donuts, coffee, and stories last Monday, which marked this year’s second coffeehouse hosted by Mrs. Holzer’s Creative Writing class. Students had been working diligently all semester to craft works worthy of sharing to a quaint crowd of peers and teachers. It was clear that they hoped their efforts would pay off, as a certain air of apprehension could be felt within the otherwise tranquil atmosphere.


Mrs. Holzer kicked off the afternoon with some thought-provoking statements regarding the nature of writing, using quotes from notable authors to enforce her point that creating a personal piece is difficult work, and that those who do are often unsatisfied with the results. This proved a worthy introduction to the theme of the coffeehouse: memoirs. A variety of this form of writing were to be shared, including list memoirs, earliest memories, and six-word memoirs. Once the stage was set, it was time for the sharing to commence.


The first pieces to grace the audience were the six-word memoirs- poignant truth-tellers testing one’s ability to deliver a powerful message in a succinct manner. There was barely any time to digest the weight of each student’s words as contributions popcorned around the room. This was the perfect way to begin the afternoon; the brevity of each work left listeners wanting more.


And more they received, as the time came to begin sharing earliest memories. At first, the dignified high schoolers seemed hesitant to expose such a tender aspect of their childhood, however the ice was eventually broken as the situation took on more of a comical tone. Among the highlights were the contributions of Michael Altrui, who recalled an infancy struggle to scale harsh crib walls, and Christian Watson, who delivered a mystifying account of an injured toe, omitting just enough detail to keep the audience thoroughly intrigued. Even amidst the lighthearted atmosphere created by discussion of early memories, an enlightening insight into what each contributor truly values could be drawn based on what was first registered in his/her brain at such a young age.


A more serious tone soon filled the library when students began to read their “list memoirs”- pieces involving the steady addition of detail in order to evoke a powerful emotional response. No one could help but be moved by Ciara Fagan’s list of fond times with a past friend, Alex Katz’s list of all she will miss about high school, or Aydin Bagley’s list of heartwarming descriptors of a significant other. Each of these narratives’ impact was not only held in the rhythmic flow of the language, but also in the bravery required by the authors to publically share such personal works.


Once the established categories had been exhausted, class members were called upon to read aloud their best composition completed during the Creative Writing course. This brought on a variety of interesting stories. Shaan Chaudhary shared a memorable hiking experience filled with many twists and turns, and Emily Pruzik turned the library into a stadium with a vivid account of a high-stakes soccer game. Amongst the diverse contributions, all walked away with a deeper understanding of their peers after hearing these impactful personal moments.


The disappointment was nearly tangible when the bell rang signifying the end of the period, and the end of the Creative Writing Coffeehouse. This hour filled with refreshing snacks and engaging stories was the perfect treat to break up the tedious school day, and MDO hopes to get the priveledge of attending another soon!