A Novel Written by Catholic University: All Members of Campus Community Invited to Contribute
Wesley Cocozello, Class of 2014
November 4, 2011
Filed under Quill
By the end of the year, CUA could be a published novelist!
This month is National Novel Month and CRUX has an idea. If you don’t already know, CRUX Magazine for the Creative Arts is the only student organization on campus dedicated to creative writing, and it’s the longest -surviving, annually published fine arts magazine at CUA. However, we also annually publish photography, paintings, sketches, film, plays, poetry, music, and musical scores. This month is reserved especially for prose.
So to repeat, by the end of the year, CUA could be a published novelist. But how is this going to happen? Well, it has already begun. Almost a hundred people have submitted a five-word contribution to A CUA Novella. This project is a continually expanding novella, where all members of the CUA community (students, staff, faculty, alumni) can contribute five words to the story’s growth. For example, a drama major writes five words, a philosophy professor the next five, a Starbucks employee the next, until finally, everyone in the University has contributed their share.
If you do the math, that’s about 10,000 people (8,000 grad and undergrad with 2,000 faculty and staff), giving five words each. That’s 50,000 words! About half the length of Pride and Prejudice!
You may be asking yourself how you can contribute. This Saturday and every Monday and Friday for the next two weeks, we’ll be hosting a table on the Pryz second floor from 11am – 3pm. Also, we’ll be holding a Poetry Reading on November 14th in the Great Room. We’ll have a table at the event so you can make your contribution there. Lastly, we are hoping to visit every University organization meeting in the next three weeks. So, if you are in a club, we’ll find you.
If you are interested in contributing to CUA’s first-ever novella, CRUX has just five simple rules:
1. Five Words Only!
We want everyone in the University to have an equal stake in this project, which cannot happen if one person contributes more than another. We do not want this to be an individual project, but rather a University one.
2. Don’t Mark Out Other’s Contributions
Be respectful of the fact that everyone on campus is a member of this University and hence their voice is special to CRUX. If their voice cannot shine through this work, than the University’s cannot shine as brightly either.
3. Make Sense
Ok, we get it. How are you supposed to know what the last guy was thinking when he wrote his five words? Just try your best. We want the plot to develop logically. If it doesn’t make sense, it can’t be a good story.
4. Be Legible
The story is eventually being typed, so when writing your contribution, make sure we can read it.
5. Be Creative
Maybe you are not the next Herman Melville or Philip Roth, but you know how to write and you know how to tell a story. CRUX believes that everyone can be creative. Maybe you are a science major and you’re saying to yourself, “I’ve never written a story before.” That’s ok. Most people haven’t. And we’re only asking for five words.
We hope that you will consider contributing to this novella (perhaps in honor of all the great literature throughout the ages). But maybe you’ll contribute more for the sake of this University. Nothing in the history of the world has brought people together more than a good story. Just think, when dangers wreaked havoc during the Middle Ages in England, people gathered around Beowulf for support. When Franklin published his Autobiography, nothing shaped the image of America and the ideal American more than his story.
Every Christmas, my family and I sit by the tree and read O. Henry’s famous short story “The Gift of the Magi.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that story, but I’ve never gotten tired of it. Perhaps it’s because every time I think about it, I hear my father reading aloud and remember how my mother and brother sit together listening. I hope, and maybe it’s a stretch, that someday, when the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015 have their own children, A CUA Novella might be the story they read. I can’t promise it will be as good as O. Henry, but I can promise that if our community puts its heart and soul into this project, that it will return to us tenfold what we gave it. Nothing brings people together like a good story and now it’s our turn to prove that statement true again (and maybe hope that my idea is not really too much of a stretch after all).
Wesley Cocozello is the Print Editor and Public Relations Chair for CRUX Magazine for the Creative Arts.