“Before I am old
I shall have written him one
Poem maybe as cold
And passionate as the dawn.”
– The Fisherman, William Butler Yeats
A piece of creative writing, be it poetry, prose or drama, begins with a “lump in the throat” as Robert Frost so aptly describes. It is the capacity to experience this feeling of dissonance, of a satisfying discomfort, of an argument fully formed and ready to be birthed into the world that will receive it with the tremor of meaning that suffuses our lives with beauty. And this gift comes naturally to all of us – from the boy who finds the precision of constellations in lines of haikus, to the girl that stands motionlessly in a street to grasp the colours of the trees – we are oceans of stories and when they overflow, we express them in unique ways.
1. A medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power
2. An association of people for mutual aid of the pursuit of a common goal”
Writer’s Guild was founded more than 10 years ago as a student-interest group, involving published Singaporean writers such as Ms Koh Xin Tian, and as of 2014, has been a full-fledged CCA. Our name is not something that was borrowed from the medieval ages and that should have been left back there; It means family and it means craft. It points to the times when creative writing was (and still is) pursued seriously in the enjoyable company of like-minded peers, such as Ezra Pound’s Imagists or C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien’s Oxford Inklings.
CCA sessions are traditionally held on Mondays in a spacious classroom, and comprise of periods of lessons (on creative writing genres and techniques, conducted by seniors or our teacher-in-charge, Mr Ian Tan, who teaches literature), writing based on prompts, and peer critique. Here, writers of different interests and skill levels can interact, exchanging ideas and helping each other to improve in craft (while sharing tons of laughs in between).
However, members often venture around the campus or outside school as part of writing activities to draw inspiration for pieces. In 2014 we visited Orchard Road, the National Museum of Singapore, the Asians Civilisations Museum (to attend the China Mania exhibition) and the Singapore River area for writing excursions. On top of this, Writer’s Guild will be involved in major literary events in Singapore such as the Singapore Writer’s Festival and the Singapore International Storytelling Festival. We also plan to catch local plays as a club.
But sports CCAs win competitions, and arts CCAs put up performances. What does Writer’s Guild produce? Fret not, because Writer’s Guild undertakes two CCA projects.
Firstly, Writer’s Guild (in collaboration with CARA) runs an online magazine called CultuR, which can be found at http://cultur.ri.edu.sg. It is aimed at showcasing the artistic talents of Rafflesians, both past and present, and CCA members research, conduct interviews and then write articles about Rafflesians’ works.
Secondly, members contribute pieces to a Writer’s Guild anthology, a collection of members’ works, that is published in the middle of each successive year. The anthology is a fantastic opportunity to display members’ creative writing pieces to the rest of the student body, as well as acting as a tangible goal that members can work towards to.
Writer’s Guild is looking for members that are committed to creative writing, are independent learners capable of reading up and practising outside CCA sessions, enthusiastic and curious about exploring the world! We will be interviewing prospective members, and might like to take a look at some of your pieces- but do not worry about it! Our focus is on encouraging writing talent and we will try our best to let you in. Having no prior experience is no problem either- there will be introductory workshops to cater to your needs.
To make a prairie, Emily Dickinson spoke about requiring “One clover, and a bee,/ And revery.” If the clover and bees are few- then that is where imagination comes in: “The revery alone will do if bees are few”. Join us for the revelry!