Inside Lusher's Creative Writing CA Program

03 Dec

Random writing in a journal photo courtesy of

By Sadie O'Neill

Creative writing is exactly what it sounds like: a piece of writing with a creative twist. Whether it’s poetry, short stories, or creative nonfiction, students in Lusher’s creative writing certificate of artistry program read and write many types of writing. But what is the class actually like? 

“I would describe the Creative Writing CA as the best CA in the world, --four years of unbridled imagination, intellectual adventure, and artistic comradery. More formally, it is a four-year course of study designed to establish a supportive community of writers and to foster the artistic and intellectual growth of each writer in that community,” says Dr. Allison Campbell, the teacher and Chair of Creative Writing.  With great passion, Dr. Campbell loves teaching her students about the joys of writing. 

“My favorite part of the class is probably studio time. We get to write from some really interesting prompts,” says Olivia Martinez, a Level 1 student in the program.

Studio time is a designated time for the students to write from a prompt given by the teacher. They are always different and relate to the overall lesson for the day.

“When I give a writing prompt, I tell students they can write on the prompt, write on something else they need to write on, or stare out the window, into space. Staring into space is a necessary void in fomentation that allows for the creation of art,” says Dr. Campbell. 

Relating to studio time, Dr. Campbell has a quote by Mary Rueffle on her classroom door that says, “Wasted time cannot be filled, or changed into another habit; it is a necessary void in fomentation.” On this, Dr. Campbell says, “We waste time in a way that few other classes do, I think, but the time is actually never wasted.” She believes that students need to be able to bask in the ideas and experiences they learn before they can create. There has to be a time of processing, which is what lets the mind generate ideas.

Along with writing, Creative Writing students also have to do a good deal of reading. They read many different works from both famed and lesser-known authors. This is because it is necessary for writers to read examples of what they are learning to write. Different examples teach different skills, and different skills are necessary for writers developing their own style.

Recently, the Level 1 students read the novel Sula by Toni Morrison. The novel, which takes place in the ‘60s, is about the friendship of two girls named Nel and Sula. Although they come from very different families, they grew up together in the Bottom, a poor town of mostly African-American residents. 

One technique writing students learned from this novel is how Morrison writes her descriptions. In multiple instances, she writes in an almost happy way, although she is describing very horrid events. The effect is to make the reader feel like nothing happened, and it takes a moment to realize that something bad happened.  The result is different--and brilliant.

Overall, any student interested in choosing the path of Creative Writing should take the leap, according to Dr. Campbell, “because their lives will be better for the rest of their lives.”

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