Introducing: The Reptiles of Writer’s Den 2015-16

In case you don’t know us yet!

Various Board Dinosaurs:

Yara

“Yara Alshwairikh. 3rd year. Biology major. President: plan meetings and socials. I LOVE animals.” 

I would like to add that she particularly likes cats. Notice that the home page of our website has a picture of a cat. Ahhh. She once got a keyboard (like the piano-type, courtesy of Ari) that plays different cat mews. You should ask her about it sometime.

Shriya

Shriya is our Director of Volunteering and an aspiring teacher. As Director of Volunteering, Shriya is in charge of volunteer recruitment, curriculum planning and oversight, and communication with volunteering sites. She’s a fourth year Cognitive Science and Education student, currently working on her Honors Thesis in Psychology. In her (badly-utilized) spare time, Shriya knits, writes experimental poem-song combinations, watches cartoons, and applies to graduate schools.

Anna

Anna is the Executive Director of this operation, also known as the designated Paperwork Filler-Outer and Annasaurus Rex. She primarily (though that is not to suggest prolifically) writes fiction, though she has also dabbled in other forms, such as angsty teenage poetry in which phrases like “wholly incomplete” figure far more prominently than she is presently comfortable admitting. When she’s not writing, filling out paperwork, or attempting to claw herself out from underneath ever-growing piles of schoolwork, Anna enjoys food and referring to herself in the third person. (tl;dr I’m really weird, hi there!)

Amy

Amy is the noob External Director who’s just barely starting to get the hang of things. She’s a second year and needs to start figuring out what to do with her life. You can go to her if you want to put something up on the blog.

PS. Did you catch that pun? Board Dinosaurs? Bored… okay.

Site Lizards:

Ari

“Hi! My name’s Ari (but you can call me Ari). I’m a third year English, major, with a possible double major in Undecided. I’m the volunteering site leader for Columbus Middle School, and the unofficial resident cynic. I spend much of my free time writing…or planning things I will be writing…or thinking about things I want to write…okay, I don’t really spend a whole lot of my time writing. But I pretend to, and it’s the thought that counts!”

Joyce

Hey, I’m Joyce Anne Samson! I’m a second year Biochemistry major. I’m the site leader for afternoon Markham Middle school. When I’m not doing Writer’s-Den-y stuff, I like to take naps, and eat fruit, and dance. I write stuff too sometimes, mostly poetry. I like puns and dark chocolate.

And that’s about it! Shout out to Frankie, another site lizard, but I don’t have her number and she’s studying abroad this quarter. She’ll be with us soon.

Lastly, don’t be shy to talk to us! We’re all here for you, and we’re here to listen. Wow that got really deep. But yeah, we want you all to feel welcome here at Writer’s Den.

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“The Young God” by Ben Beretta

We have a poem submission by the talented Ben Beretta. Yay!

The young God

*

Would not Choose.

Other Way.

Head in Noose.

Love let Stray.

*

Born Beauty.

Tender Bod.

Sworn Duty.

Conscious Nod.

*

Man and Wife.

Lust his Name.

Mount of Strife.

Play his Game.

*

Nighttime King.

Deity.

Kiss like Sting.

Guillotine.

*

Gold and Meek.

Victims Awed.

All will Seek.

The Young God.

*

The young God

If you’d like your writing to be posted on the blog, email us at thewritersden@ucla.edu.

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A Lost Tortilla

Week 1 has arrived! To all our newcomers, welcome, and to all our returners, welcome back! What better way to start off a new year than with a blog post (we’re sure there are plenty of better ways, but that’ll be a secret between you, me, and however many people read this blog).

Partly to make up for the lack of a writing prompt last week, I present you a longer, more in-depth writing prompt, if you so wish to participate. *Fade to black*

It is a dark and stormy night in L.A. Actually, it’s not that stormy; the sky is offering hopes of rain in the form of steel-grey clouds. The smol people below await the first drop of water to quench the ever-present thirst that has prevailed since the beginning of The Drought. You are inside your bedroom, the lights dimmed so that the room is bathed in a warm glow. Wrapped in a blanket burrito, you’re sitting in front of your computer, the books that you’re supposed to be reading shoved to the edge of the desk, abandoned, but not lonely. A desk lamp, some food wrappers and other papers are littered about the workspace. Netflix has you wrapped around its finger, but it’s okay because you occasionally break free of its grip by watching some Vines or texting your friend back.

You glance out the window. It’s not quite raining, but it is freckling – water droplets as small as freckles. You jump and scramble back against your seat as you see something fly toward the glass and linger there. Hands covering your mouth, you slowly lean forward to gather a better look at whatever unidentified flying object had tried to gain entry into your bedroom. It was yellow and rather squishy. It was a banana.

Stupid college kids, you sigh and lean back in relief, while also eyeing the smashed fruit with distaste. As you ponder different ways of cleaning up the mess that didn’t involve a 20-foot ladder, a fire hose, Spiderman or a tiny helicopter, your cell phone rings. Your eyebrows knit together as you reach for the phone, wondering who would be calling at 2am. You don’t recognize the caller ID. Normally you wouldn’t answer the phone, but you decide to give it a shot and try messing with this person. You slide the call button to the right.

“Hello,” you greet solemnly, “this is A Missing Tortilla. Have you found my burrito?”

An indiscernible voice replies, “There is a car waiting for you outside your house. Get inside. You don’t want to ignore this.”

You blink twice and pull the phone away from your ear, staring at it as if it had turned into a tiny Yoda. You stand up and push the curtains aside very slightly, so that anyone watching from below wouldn’t notice the motion. Sure enough, there’s a car parked beside the curb, its headlights on and its windshield wipers running despite the lack of substantial rain.

What do I do? I’m just a lost tortilla.

Inspired by
“The Mysterious Call” by 

Okay, so you get the point – maybe. Feel free to edit out all the oddness, but here’s the question: what happens next? You can write this as yourself, a character, A Lost Tortilla, or some other inanimate object. This prompt is free for you to explore. If you decide to write to this prompt, feel free to share it with us at thewritersden@ucla.edu, or let us know how it goes. And, you can always send us some of your own ideas for writing prompts to publish, to here or to our Facebook website. Happy writing!

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Welcome to The Writer’s Den 2015-2016!

Welcome to the 2015-2016 academic year! We hope you all had a fabulous summer 🙂

For those of you who just found us: welcome to the Writer’s Den! We’re really excited to meet everyone and make new friends. We have lots of cool things planned for Fall quarter and the whole year, so get excited! In addition to our weekly meetings and volunteering, we will host some super fun social events. The first event we have planned for the quarter is a trip to Santa Monica beach on October 1st, the Sunday after week 1. We will read, write, EAT, laugh and get to know each other better. It will be fun!

We also like to host fun (& sometimes strange) parties such as our Halloween murder mystery party! There’s murder, costumes and FOOD! It’s a party you don’t want to miss, so make sure to sign up for our mailing list to stay updated on all the details.

Check out our Event Calendar for a full overview of this quarter’s events and socials.

We are not having a meeting during 0 Week, BUT you can catch us at the Enormous Activities Fair on Tuesday, from 11am-3pm. Stop by and say hi, we’d love to meet you all 🙂
You can also find us at ServeFest on Saturday, September 26th from 6:30-9pm.

Questions? Concerns? Just want to say hello? Email us at thewritersden@ucla.edu, or swing by our first meeting on Tuesday, September 29 at 7pm in Ackerman 2402.

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Summer Experiments: Furniture For Taking Forty Winks

Okay so to explain the strange title, I literally had no idea what to name this post, so I went on thesaurus.com to search for synonyms for beds. And the first result came up with the definition “furniture for sleeping,” which made me laugh out loud because it just seemed so simple it was funny. And then I thought, hm, this title could use some alliteration. Once again, a thesaurus search somehow led me to a synonym for sleeping, i.e “taking forty winks.” I’ve really no clue why it’s forty. I mean, if I could wink forty times and get the equivalent of eight hours of sleep, that would be amazing.

Anyway. A couple weeks ago, we announced a new writing strategy for y’all to try out, which was to only write while in bed. Seems simple enough, but perhaps simple isn’t necessarily the best way to go about things. To explain, we had our lovely Director of Volunteering, Shriya, participate in this method. And let’s say I did too, because I’m currently writing this post while lying in bed. Productivity.

This is what Shriya had to say: “Lying down in bed seemed like a great idea, until I realized my body wanted to sleep much more than I wanted to write. I just kept falling asleep before I got anything more than a couple words down. And since I’m working on a song right now… I kept wanting to sit up so I could sing properly. All in all, I think I composed more in the shower than I did in bed.

Good idea, Shriya, perhaps that should be our next w- oh wait. It might be rather difficult to make that a writing strategy because… words… would get wet… Yeah.

I’ve written while in bed on multiple occasions, so I’ll explicate those past experiences. Sometimes I have way too many thoughts running through my head at night, and I get restless. So I’ll take out my phone and start writing, be it my thoughts and feelings or a story idea. Eventually, those thoughts begin to slow, and I would write until exhaustion overtakes me. I think that writing, especially at night right before you sleep, really helps you put an order to your thoughts so that you might fall asleep more peacefully or quickly as opposed to letting your mind wander. These entries could be about anything, from a recap of the day’s events, to whatever else is in your head at the moment. I also find that night time is when my thoughts flow more freely, unfiltered and unrestrained.

But, if you actually want to be productive, it may be better to sit up straight while writing. When you have a goal you intend to fulfill while writing, it may be better to be as awake as possible by not lying in bed. Basically, this strategy is particularly good for falling asleep and letting your words run one right after the other, without fear of your own limitations.

As usual, let us know at thewritersden@ucla.edu if you want to send in a writing strategy of your own. We will be your guinea pigs.  And leave a comment if you ever try these approaches out for yourself – maybe your experience is different than ours. We’ve got more strategies coming your way. So prepare yoselves, and happy writing!

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Summer Updates: The Good, The Bad, and The Bartender

It is nearly the end of second week of Summer Session C, which means we are on a due course toward midterms and flailing our fists in a panic. However, we’ve had a good first two meetings thus far! The first week, we totally got the room wrong so we’re sorry for the confusion. We are definitely in Ackerman for our summer meetings, for anyone who wants to join us, not Kerckhoff. I never knew there was a hallway just before reaching Campus Cuts, nor that said hall would lead to the Global Viewpoint Lounge. Shortcuts o:. We also had cookies, introduced ourselves, and dusted the cobwebs off of whatever writing project each individual needed to attend to.

At the second meeting, we had more cookies, courtesy of Ari Reider. We chose character roles for ourselves and verbally brainstormed an outline for a soap opera. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience to see how the character archetypes “The Other Woman,” “The Butler,” “The Bartender,” “The Fairy Godmother,” “The Playboy,” “The Actor,” “The Illegitimate Child” and “The Problem Solver” would interact with one another. The details are rather complicated since we did not put the ideas down to paper until mid-way through, but I know that at least one person died by running into a wall. Spoiler alert.

We’ve had a lot of fun, so we hope you guys can make it to the next meeting! And meet us by the Bruin bear at 7:20pm to join us for an improv show tomorrow, August 14th.

Meanwhile, now’s a good time to introduce the next summer experiment! The strategy is almost as exciting as the previous one:

Only write while in bed.

Take that as you will. Find a bed, write stuff while atop it. If you don’t own a bed, find someone else’s. Perhaps you’ll choose to sit on the bed while writing, or lie down à la french girl. Whatever floats your boat.

As always, let us know if you’re interested in trying out this writing strategy, or send one our way at thewritersden@ucla.edu. Happy writing!

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Summer Experiments: The Last Stand

Forgive me for the cheesy title, but I thought it was funny. Anyhoo, remember how we mentioned that we’d be blogging about our summer experiments? The time has finally come. Cue dramatic music.

Well, it was only Anna, our wonderful executive director, and Amy (aka me, I’m speaking in third person, this is weird) who had to suffer through this specific writing strategy. The strategy that we had to do for a week was: Only write while standing up. So, we did, and this was Anna’s response:

“Standing up is hard work, and I am lazy. This week, I learned that at least some of my love for writing stems from the fact that it is an activity typically performed while sitting. On the first day of the experiment, I was about to sit down to write, but then I remembered that I needed to stand and got really, really sad. After about five minutes of scribbling, I wanted a break.

Needless to say, the first experiment did not increase my writing productivity as I hoped it would. Sadface. BUT I have one important tip for those who want to try it out: find a writing surface of appropriate height. If you are bending or crouching, failure is basically guaranteed.

Happy writing, friends!”

The love for sitting is completely understandable. Personally, I like lying down while writing, but I did try out the standing. I may have cheated a little by leaning against the wall, or propping my leg on a couch to steady myself, but oh well. I agree that it was more tiring to write while standing. However, in a way, it was somewhat motivating for me. I had to put in more energy to hold myself up, so I wasn’t as distracted by messages and the internet. I would’ve had to stand longer if I’d procrastinated on writing, which would’ve been more unwanted effort. So, this method somewhat increased my productivity.

As a bonus, I attempted to beg my good friend, Sally, to join in on this experiment, and she told me that she had actually tried writing while standing up before. She immediately said that it was “tiring” and “not a good strategy.” When I asked her to clarify, she revised her statement. She was at her parents’ restaurant and had been sitting for a while, so she decided to stand by the counter while she wrote. The method was fine, she thought, but she felt that “it’s easier to lose focus after a while” and that “it’s harder to keep good handwriting.”

So it sounds like, based on this small sample size, the general consensus is that writing while standing is tiring. However, it may encourage some of you to stay focused if this strategy was applied for a short period of time.

If any of you guys try this out, feel free to leave a comment below! And send us more writing strategies our way at thewritersden@ucla.edu. We’ll be posting the next writing strategy soon, so stay tuned!

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