A intimate circle of Mills College writers sits in the dimly lit faculty lounge at a round wooden table manifesting their vision for the Writers Collective, a new club on campus formed this semester by senior and creative writing major Olivia Mertz.
The idea for the Writers Collective sprung from Mertz’ internship at The Place for Writers, a community on campus that produces programs and readings such as Works in Progress, the Contemporary Writers Series and interdisciplinary workshops. During Mertz’ time at The Place for Writers, she questioned the purpose of author readings and what is needed in a community.
“I am interested in pushing the boundaries of the reading by connecting with other writers in the curation process,” Mertz said. “There is a need for community space for creative writers to inspire each other and collaborate in new ways.”
Junior Lauren Theimann, an English major, joined the group for a supportive space for writers and is excited for her first semester in the club.
“What I think makes this group different is that we are going to be working towards producing a final project together,” Theimann said. “I am excited to see everyone’s different styles and how they come together.”
Mertz is very excited about what the group will bring to campus. She is looking forward to meeting and connecting with artists on the Mills campus and is excited to grow as a writer as she learns from her peers. Although there are
existing communities for writers on campus, Mertz believes the Writer’s Collective is different.
“I think it is important for us to connect with and support each other [in] working together to produce writing outside of the workshop environment,” Mertz said. “This group is different. We emphasize the evolution of our work as collaborative and we hope to meet off campus often as well as immerse ourselves in the Bay Area literary community as often as possible.”
Transfer student Amanda Meth, an English major, joined the group
because she loves to be in a supportive community of writers. She is also looking to explore other types of writing besides poetry.
“The prospect of a writing group has always appealed to me,” Meth said.
Mertz hopes that the semester will culminate with a reading composed of work that the group creates through the course of the current semester.
“We may find that cohesive threads and themes are emerging in our works as a result of writing together, and we will thus weave a reading that functions as a collaborative performance,” Mertz said.
Members of the group have shown interest in interdisciplinary work, such as collaborating with musicians, dancers and intermedia artists to produce a new sort of literary event that pushes the boundaries of a more standard literary reading.
“We want this to be a space for artists to join forces, share work and evolve together,” Mertz said.
Mertz is planning to explore readings in the Bay Area with the group using Bart and the AC Transit system to seek them out.
“There are so many talented individuals in this community—I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate,” Mertz said.
Meeting location and times are currently being sorted out. Email Mertz at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being involved.