Writers Magazine 2018
By Keaton Gaughan
As I sit down to write about the 2018 edition of Writers magazine, I’m finding it difficult to shift my thoughts away from the Launch Party that we held on Founder’s Day in the campus bookstore.
For those of you who couldn’t make it this year or have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s some context: the Writers team puts together an annual event to launch, distribute, and celebrate the magazine in its final, printed form. The event has been held in the campus bookstore every year (with special thanks to the wonderful Erin Cave who provides a welcoming home for Writers, equipped with a fire place, smooth jazz on a loop, and the famous “Captain’s Chair” from which our contributors may opt to read, talk about, or display any of their work).
Of my two years as Senior Co-Editor for this publication, the 2018 Launch Party has stood out the most in my mind––to the point that even nine days later, I still find myself ruminating on the event and its lasting impact. The myriad shades of vulnerability shown by our contributors were truly inspiring. Their willingness to expose some of the most concealed parts of themselves in front of roughly thirty eager listeners deserves to be extolled and commended. The contributors who decided to share their work were not there to hear their own voice or receive validation, rather they were there to express genuine, personal emotion through recounting their lived experiences. Full disclosure, I absolutely lost my composure up there––at one point I was even sobbing.
Despite having previously read my own work out loud more than a dozen times, I still managed to get choked up on the final lines of my own piece in a way that was different than anything I had felt before. Opening myself up through my writing was symbolically akin to unbuttoning my shirt to show both friends and strangers alike my newly obtained scars and to be honest, I was reveling in that feeling. I felt understood for the first time in at least a year.
The topic of death came up in quite a few works that were shared. Characteristically in our society, death is rarely ever talked about as candidly and as eloquently as it was addressed during this event––an aspect that challenged which topics and conversations are considered socially acceptable to have within public spaces. Discomfort gives rise to growth and this night ushered in countless opportunities for every listener to grow and to discover new ways to empathize with the brave contributors who shared pieces of themselves during our culminating event. I’m eternally grateful to have been a part of this process for two years and I cannot wait to see what the future issues of Writers magazine will bring to the conversation.