Creative Writing in the Community

In this required course for creative writing majors offered for the first time in the spring of 2003, students meet with their writing partners for a minimum of five visits (one hour each) to become acquainted and to eventually explore a significant moment or event in that person s life. This semester, students read The Soul of a Citizen, and the directors of involved agencies gave presentations on their respective agencies and client population. In February of this year, through funding by Lilly Endowment, Paul Loeb came to campus to give a lecture, conduct a faculty workshop, and visit the class. Students also read literature (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama) that focuses on some of the issues inherent in the particular situations of the chosen agencies. The cross-disciplinary aspect of the course touches upon psychology, history (of the city of Muncie and its relationship with the particular population engaged), sociology, social work, linguistics, women s issues, socio-political matters, etc. This course is designed for writers to practice the techniques of characterization, point-of-view, setting, & conflict so that in fiction or nonfiction, prose takes on new meaning, intensity, and originality in their rendering of their writing partner s story. Community-based education offers the opportunity for the students to share their skills as creative writers (as they hone the techniques) with citizens in the community. As the students develop as writers, they also develop a broader perspective of the complex ways through which individuals cope with their situations and environments. This semester, students are matched with writing partners from Hillcroft Services, Inc. (group home residents with mental challenges), Big Brothers Big Sisters (clients and volunteers) and Heritage Retirement Village (residents). The end product of the published collection of these works and the release reception for all involved in the effort will be the capstone of the course.

Ball State University - IN, Indiana
Contact Person: Barbara Bogue Dept. of English,
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