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Scriblerus--80 Years Engaging the Fine Art of Critique

April 06, 2016

Some say asking writers how they feel about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs. But critique that helps writers improve and gives them hope for the next draft is a whole different story, a welcome story, the kind of story behind Scriblerus.

Elva McAllaster

Generations of GC students knew the creative writing club Scriblerus as a space for students and faculty to read and critique each other’s writing, with faculty adviser Elva “Dr. Mac” McAllaster (right) at the helm for much of its existence. For many, the word “Scriblerus” calls up memories of tea in Dr. Mac’s home amidst readings, critique and lively discussion of the fine arts.

In 2013, Scriblerus began a new chapter under the guidance of Associate Professor Alexandria LaFaye when it morphed from a club into a digital s

tudent publication. The Scriblerus online literary arts journal now publishes writing, art, video, and music. Critical review continues to play a part. Here’s a snapshot of “Scrib” then and now.

From Classroom Conversation to Broad Audience

Scriblerus 1944

In 1934, Dr. Mary Tenney’s advanced creative writing class so inspired her students that they founded the Scriblerus club as an outlet to continue creative writing beyond semester’s end. The club thrived for decades as a forum where wordsmiths turned good writing into better writing. (Pictured above, Scriblerus 1944 included then student Elva McAllaster, seated at far left.)

Nearly 80 years later, LaFaye saw vibrant creative expression on campus and felt that an online, multi-genre publication could showcase GC’s creativity and liberal arts influences to the broader world.

“I wanted to build a broader audience and celebrate as many forms of artistic expression as possible,” LaFaye says. “GC is an institution that seeks to honor tradition while building a bridge into the future that transforms the newest generation of students to serve God. To do that, we need to build platforms that reach out to current and future students who wouldn’t see the original format of the Scriblerus unless they were in a select group.”

At the same time, she wanted to honor Dr. Mac’s tradition of nurturing and challenging writing students in the classroom. Thus, Scriblerus maintained its focus on critique, its standards of excellence, and its enthusiasm for the written word.

Responding to Media Overload

In 1934, the Scriblerus mission statement declared its goal “to stimulate and encourage purposeful writing” on campus. The Scriblerus’ mission statement today explains that it “seeks writing and art that explore the human experience with honesty and authenticity.”

In a world of mindless media overload, today’s Scriblerus encourages young creatives to remain mindful to create honest work that illuminates truth.

Inviting More Genres to the Table

In decades past, members of the writing club brought manuscripts of fiction, essays, or poetry to each meeting. Now the journal publishes fiction, essays, poetry and artwork in traditional and digital mediums, music, video, and spoken word poetry. Each spring, students engaged in Scriblerus also host a contest that includes entries in these categories from high school students.

Still Cultivating Critical Thinking

Meetings of Scriblerus, the writing club, taught students to critique each other’s writing and improve their own. Today’s Scriblerus students still learn to critique writing and other genres, but they also learn how to produce an engaging digital publication.

 New Scrib StaffThe internet stands as one of the most vital tools for 21st century writers and artists to distribute and advertise their work. This is especially true as the trend of online-only publications grows. Creative students must understand these forums, especially if they aspire to work in publishing. Scriblerus also allows students to dip a toe into social media promotion through pages on Facebook and Twitter.

“We hope to show students and a broader audience what it means to be called to create in God’s honor in ways that challenge, inspire, and support viewers,” LaFaye says.

Topics of discussion, like the artistic expression itself, circle back to representing Christ to a watching world.

Read more about how a GC education prepares students for a modern, interdisciplinary economy:

Education That Prepares for Evolution

Press Association Names Student Publication Vista As Finalist

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