Arts & Culture

Write Your Fears Away-- Creative Writing at Furman

Paladin Ink meets every week to write, imagine, and find friendship.

Writers in the Paladin Ink gather in the Thoreau Cabin on Furman Lake (pictured here). Carly Marlys

Freshman year, a group of my friends and I took a walk around the Furman lake after sunset with flashlights and poetry books in tow. In the Thoreau cabin, a tiny writer’s retreat on the far side of the lake, we gathered together to read our favorite poems and create our own. This is a tradition of Paladin Ink, the student-run creative writing club on campus. 

This night of poetry is only once per semester, but Paladin Ink meets every week to write, imagine, and find friendship. Meetings usually consist of a little goofing around followed by a writing exercise and prompt. After that, the writers are welcome to share what they wrote to a kind and receptive audience. The club is designed to be a safe space to express your writing and share what you are thinking and feeling. Last year’s president and Furman alum Hailey Pierce said, “In Paladin Ink, the only hope is that you find an atmosphere that welcomes your creativity, that celebrates your work.” Every semester, students who want to find a place for their writing, imaginations, and personal experiences can find a listening ear for their words. 

For those who love writing, this organization can be an amazing place to practice without grades or deadlines. As both students and faculty will attest, Furman can be a high pressure environment, so a place where young writers can experiment with words and ideas is an invaluable asset. Current president Ellie Winters said that Paladin Ink “acts as a free space to spitball ideas, and others are always giving constructive feedback and advice.” While writing classes and workshops are also important, having an open space to learn, practice, and have fun can push aspiring writers forward and bring an element of community to the process. 

Although Paladin Ink is a creative writing club, you don’t have to be an aspiring author or poet to take advantage of what the organization has to offer. According to Pierce, “There are people in Paladin Ink who will find joy with you in whatever you do…even if you’re not a writer, but maybe need a mental break from studying in the lib, Paladin Ink welcomes anyone and everyone.” Amidst the stress of grades, transcripts, internships, and extracurricular responsibilities, the changes and uncertainty of this year has brought another layer of anxiety. As students, we all need an escape, a place that enjoys and validates what we have to say

All in all, Paladin Ink is a fun group with an important mission that is doing excellent creative work on campus. Ben Gamble, former Paladin Ink President and author of Dragons Suck, said, “I loved Paladin Ink because it was a weekly hour to spend with people who were imaginative and unafraid to take creative risks.” For writers, non-writers, and everyone in between, Paladin Ink is a much-needed creative space. Currently, they are meeting on Zoom so anyone is welcome to join. Bring your poetry, your journal, your half-formed ideas, and start writing.

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