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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Creative Writing majors come out for pie and prose

Published: November 9, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

A smugly self-deluding lover ranting in her diary. A hypochondriac EMT obsessing over diseases. These are a few of the characters introduced in Monday's Pie and Prose event orchestrated by the Creative Writing Undergraduate Degree Representatives, Kendra Fortmeyer '08 and Jessica Corozza '08.

Three Brandeis students read at the event: Cat Kearns 09, Michi Chu 08 and Josh Gondelman, an alumnus of Brandeis. Each presented a different piece of prose to an assembled crowd of around 45 students. Many of the guests were friends of the authors and organizers, and others just wanted a slice of the pie. Although quite a few alumni showed up, staff and faculty were notably absent from the gathering at the International Student Center Lounge in East Quad.

Creative writing is one of the smaller majors at Brandeis according to the UDRs, there are only nine in total. Fortmeyer and Corozza are trying to get people to be excited about writing and about the major and the classes, most of which are small, personal workshops of ten to fourteen people sharing prose, poetry and any other form of writing.

Pie and Prose is part of this endeavor. It was inspired by Melanie Braverman, said Corozza, referring to the author of several tomes of poetry who teaches a course entitled The Autobiographical Imagination, in which students write and share pieces based on their lives and pasts. We wanted to have more interesting events that people would come to.

Its really easy to hole up…we wanted to encourage people to come out of their shells, added Fortmeyer. The two are trying to make writing seem more fun and entertaining in addition to the latest event, they have plastered Rabb steps with a poetry collage a laborious task quickly undone by torrential downpours. They also posted pieces of a serial story around the campus days before Fallfest, most of which were quickly taken down by the administration.

We put it up around Admissions, said Fortmeyer ruefully. It probably wasn't supposed to be posted where it was.`

They are also trying to start a program which encourages people to submit to campus publications like Laurel Moon and The Hoot by sending out candygrams to any submitters.

Nevertheless, the size of the gathering on Monday surprised its organizers, most of whom were not creative writing majors.

This just goes to show, you can do anything that you want to do, said Chu shortly before she presented.

Corozza also stressed the low-key aspect of the writing program: It's like an outlet;

if you have stress, if you want to read good books that aren't literary, want to actually have discussions in a class about things that are interesting.

A Brandeis alumna now studying at Boston University Law School, Emily Spreiser '07, said that writing is what Keeps me sane….it's against the ten law school commandments, all of which are thou shalt not be creative.

Editor's note: Daniel Pereira is a Creative Writing major.