Writers of all domains celebrate a wordy day

English instructor Kimbel Westerson, right, talks with students who stopped at National Day on Writing activities on GCU's campus.

By Mike Kilen
GCU News Bureau

Student Brendan Bobersky wrote a six-word paper on Tuesday. It was an autobiography.

We’ll get to it in about 500 words but first know that Bobersky, a freshman at Grand Canyon University, likes to skateboard, hang out with friends and, here’s a hint, bowl.

People like to tease him about bowling four times a week for its oafish reputation (forgetting the coolness of “The Dude” in “The Big Lebowski”). He tells them that bowling alley food is the best.

“I do it because it makes me happy,” he said. “Who cares what other people think?”

So Bobersky picked up a pen and wrote his autobiography, right there on the Promenade, where the English Department and College of Humanities and Social Sciences was celebrating National Day on Writing. The National Council of Teachers of English established Oct. 20 as the official day not only because writing is important in school but in everyday life.

The activities included the six-word autobiographies on sticky notes, chalk messages on the walkway to answer #whyIwrite and ENG 365 students who started a short story that passers-by could add a line to.

It got pretty weird, as writing can. A guy is murdered in the short story opener, a fairy brings him back to life and says he has to write a book to give it to a person he loves, but he gets sidetracked because he wants GCBC and on the way lions attack him yet with fairy lifesavers seemingly everywhere he survives again to gulp his sugary caffeinated drink which led to crazy stunts on a longboard outside Chick-fil-A which Thunder witnessed leading the silent type to reach out for some stunt brainstorming but this caffeinated guy with nine lives was “too high on sugar to talk.”

Those last words of dietary commentary were written by a pre-med student, by the way.

“Everybody has the ability to be a writer,” said senior Lizzy Esparza.

Student Jess Kennedy, right, was pitching the joy of writing.

She helped at the table as a member of Friends of the Pen, “an old-school writing salon” that meets on Mondays at GCU, she said.

For her, writing is an outlet of freedom, especially poetry. “I get to choose the direction.”

Celebrating the day is a way to show students they can write for something other than an assignment. “They can create; they can do it just for fun,” said organizer Kimbel Westerson, GCU English instructor.

Among dozens of words written in sidewalk chalk by students:

“I write to feel.”

“Makes me feel heard.”

“To think on the page.”

Said senior communications student Jess Kennedy, also helping out: “I write for creativity and pleasure and all sorts of reasons.”

Included among dozens of six-word autobiographies written on sticky notes were every subject but fairies and skateboards.

Students passing by left sticky-note autobiographies.

“The fat lady hasn’t sung yet.”

“Spread positivity and protect the unprotected.”

(Of course, some writers went over the six-word limit):

“I’m gay, tired, and write bad poetry.”

“Jesus saved. Living on a prayer.”

And likely from the Midwest:

“You betcha.”

Here we are at the end of the story, with apologies that our bowler wasn’t a more prominent narrative thread throughout. Bobersky’s autobiography:

“You live once. Do what makes you happy.”

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.


Related content:

GCU Today: Students take note of National Day on Writing

GCU Today: National Day on Writing makes the words count

GCU Today: Find your inner author on National Day on Writing


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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

(Job declared,) "Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul." (Job 7:11)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/