Crunchable Offers Alumni ‘Soft Place to Land’

By Meaghan Menzel
Literary House Beat Reporter

The Rose O’Neil Literary House hosted the reading from the online alumni blog, the Crunchable on Friday, Sept. 14. Seven alumni read pieces they wrote at various times and answered questions from current students.

Dr. Jehanne Dubrow, director of the Lit House, said this event was “exactly what they hoped it would be.” It was a gathering of current students, including Writer’s Union members, faculty, staff, and alumni.

To kick off the event, Molly Crumbly, ’07, read “Love and Snow,” which she wrote in 2009, followed by Mike Meagher, ’04, who presented his piece “Engaged,” written four years ago. Annie Woodall, ’01, read her article on the power of words, and Kevin Brotzman, ‘04, delivered his comedic piece on camel crickets. Melissa Reddish, ’01, wrote about how to become successful according to Reality TV in 2010. Another notable reader was 2001 Sophie Kerr winner Stephanie Fowler, ‘01, who shared a section “Sisters,” which she wrote in 2004. And finally Michael Duck, ’02, ended the reading with “When a Lawn Mower is just a Lawn Mower,” written in 2005.

After the readings, sophomore Writers’ Union spokesman Valerie Dunn and sophomore vice-spokesman Maddie Zins began the question and answer session.
A lot of these alumni had been involved with writing during their years at WC. Writer’s Theatre was a popular outlet, as was “the Collegian,” “the Medium,” The Elm, and the River Side Players, which was the Independent Playhouse of their time.

Fowler was an athlete, and Duck took the opportunity to study abroad in France and join a band.

The alumni also differed in what were called “writing rituals.” Some write daily, but others do not due to busy schedules, the need to order ideas, or other factors like motivation and the need to experiment. Some were published, either by professional publishers, self-publishing, or freelance opportunities. Fowler said that which route one takes is a personal decision.

“You have to know enough about yourself as a writer,” she said.

The Crunchable is an online literary magazine designed, according to its website, as “an effort to keep original, personal, and peculiar stories on the Web.”

They publish mostly original nonfiction. The original creator of the website, Chris Klimas, decided to make an online site writers can submit to, like current students can submit to “The Collegian.” As for the name Crunchable, according to Fowler, Klimas could be “quirky;” he liked putting “-able” after words. And he always liked things “crunchy.” Crunchy, to him, was challenging, and different. Therefore, he wanted “crunchy” writing.

After a while, Klimas lost interest in the Crunchable, leaving Duck as the editor and operator. Duck wanted to make sure everything written could be “preserved” somehow.

For aspiring writers on campus, each speaker at the Crunchable reading offered one important trait that every writer should have: “misery,” “deadlines,” “experience,” “self deprivation,” “room,” and “community.”

Duck said that The Crunchable is always accepting submissions. It’s something students can do while getting on your feet after graduation. It is, according to Duck, “a soft place to land.”

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