Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20).
By Lucy Rudman
On the tables of Stirling’s Coffee House, there’s a stack of colorful paper, a jar of writing prompts, and a set of short instructions on the wall imploring its reader to grab a blank sheet and a prompt out of the cup and to write to their heart’s content.
The submissions can be poetry or works of pure fiction. They could be a rambling page, an epic rant, a lamentation on lost love, or a narration of the world around a person. Any and all responses count as participation in an ongoing community art project sponsored by the Writing House, titled “Let’s Write!”
The goal of the project was to crowdsource creativity through a multitude of colorful and intriguing prompts, from “If you woke up one day and saw you became instantly famous overnight, what would you do with your newfound fame?” to a simple “Write about a purple umbrella.”
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. from November 28-31, Stirling’s promised a free coffee for all who submitted.
“Crowdsourced art is the perfect opportunity for a community to come together and express itself in uniquely strange and beautiful ways,” assistant manager Amber Smith said regarding Stirling’s participation.
Smith, commenting on the imperfections of the paper and words, added, “Beauty is not a prerequisite of meaningful art.”
Writing especially can be an extremely private act. The gallery celebrated anonymity and deep expression, where an individual can express depth and private thoughts in the solidarity and company of others.
“Writing is such an incredibly intimate and personal process for me. An event like this shows that everyone can be in the same boat,” Jackson Harwell (C’22) said after participating in the gallery. “To share writing is to be vulnerable.”
The project was the brainchild of Lucy Wimmer (C’20), a Writing House resident and lover of public art. “The project is a way to make writing into something accessible and fun and not-stressful,” Wimmer explained.
And it is. Prompts are present on every table at one of the most popular places on campus, a place of gathering and relaxation. There are absolutely no guidelines, either. Participants are not required to write to a prompt, which are just there for inspiration.
“It’s important for people to know that you don’t have to be an English major or a ‘writer’ to write and have fun with it,” Wimmer said as she detailed the ultimate goal of the project. “Every single person has the ability and creativity to write and tell stories.”
Stories are already present on the wall, but submissions are open until the end of the semester.
So, just as the “Let’s Write!” flyers say around campus, come to Stirling’s, choose a prompt, write, and watch for that written work in the gallery!