Photo by Aidan Bliss (C’18)
By Frances Marion Givhan
On Wednesday, September 21, the Writing House reprised a beloved event: “Litter”-ature, that had people squirming from discomfort and laughing in awkward communion. The members of the Writing House requested that attendants bring a piece of badly written literature to read, which ended up including excerpts from fanfiction, poetry, and one particular shampoo bottle. A lone chair acted as the stage, while the comfy, open living room enveloped people in warm light from the fairy lights draped on the walls. Yours truly hosted the event, and the house members welcomed a mix of friends, new faces, and members from last year’s house.
“It was a raucous good time,” says Lawrence Rogers (C’20), “like Super Bowl Sunday, but every touchdown’s a sex joke and you’re rooting for both teams.” Due to the nature of the event, plenty of awkward and cringe-worthy moments permeated the generally friendly atmosphere. At least the shared experience of horrible literature brought students together. “I like that it appealed to a wide variety of students of different academic backgrounds,” says house co-director Sara Kachelman (C’17). While most of the readings came from internet sites and unknown sources, Kachelman read an excerpt from Joseph Andrews, a novel by Henry Fielding. The selection she chose described a lascivious chambermaid and proved that some insults have existed for longer than we thought.
Kachelman’s personal favorite reading of the night came from Kasey Marshall (C’18), who went up to the stage area and pulled a shampoo bottle out of her backpack. She proceeded to read the tiny font that covered most of the bottle. “It was like philosophy and cliché and slam poetry and hair care combined,” says Erin Conway (C’18). Kachelman described the writing on the shampoo bottle as “inspiration or propaganda related… It defines the diversity of mediums in which literature is published.”
Other note-worthy pieces included Conway’s favorite reading, where Aidan Bliss (C’18) found very dramatic dragon fanfiction. “It was trying to be elevated, and you could tell it came from a sincere place,” says Conway. “The grammar mistakes also made it very funny.” Attendees also read a story about Ed Muskie foiling an attack by Charles Manson, a poem about preppy boys and ankles, and a Bob’s Burgers story about Tina Belcher touching butts.
The Writing House members felt proud of the event and enjoyed the people that it brought together for the evening. “The atmosphere of the night was a little awkward, a little timid, but overall open and friendly,” says Conway. “I’m really pumped to be in a position to create a place in the community where people can come chill and have fun.”
Colin Harper (C’17), co-director of the Writing House, captured the bare essence of the event in a few short sentences: “People came. They read stuff. Some of it was good. People left.”
“Sh*t was lit,” says member Balazs Bolosi (C’19).