After school on a typical Wednesday, as most Huntley students are rushing home to escape from hours of writing and reading assignments, room 215 is alive with activity and chatter. In Karen Bula’s English classroom, the lights are dim and the atmosphere is mellow as Huntley’s Literary Club begins their meeting.
The club’s main members, seniors Dessa Leonard and Cassandra Wachowski, have been spending their Wednesdays in this writer’s paradise since the club was founded last year by Alex Rivera. Though the club only officially meets every other week, the girls usually meet every Wednesday to hone their writing skills and talk about the latest books they’ve read.
The club also offers an encouraging, supportive environment to share their ideas and write new pieces.
“It’s just really a fun place to come, even if you just like talking about reading, writing, and literature. If you have trouble finishing a story or starting a story, you can come and ask for advice and everyone’s always really nice about it, and we’re really sincere, so we’re not going to come and make fun of you for a story you’re writing,” said Leonard.
To improve their writing, the girls also use practice prompts to encourage them to write new stories. Leonard has a prompt generator on her phone, which provides the first sentence of a story, and then Leonard and Wachowski alternate writing each sentence, creating a unique story that combines both of their creative perspectives.
Additionally, each member is welcome to bring in material that they’ve written to be critiqued or to talk about new ideas.
“I have all sorts of fun ideas in my head that I want to share, and writing is one way I do that,” said Wachowski.
Bouncing ideas off of their peers is one remedy for a challenge that both writers face, which is difficulty in finishing a story. Writer’s block is also a common frustration for members of the club.
“I am a terrible finisher. I’m the kind of person who can sit down and write the first half of a story and then never finish it,” said Leonard.
Leonard and Wachowski often discuss their favorite authors with Bula, and they also talk about how awesome it would be to travel to Chicago and meet authors on book tours. Another discussion topic is how to increase student interest in literary pursuits.
One future plan to increase awareness of the club and encourage other students with passions for literature to join is a possible writing contest. Leonard and Wachowski tried to organize a writing contest last year as well, but unfortunately ran out of time to plan it before the school year ended.
“We’re definitely open to new members coming in because that’d be more fun,” said Leonard.
For those interested in joining the club, the next meeting will be on Feb. 5 in room 215, and meetings usually last from right after school to either 3:00 or 3:30.