By Grace Brown
It is with great excitement that I have the pleasure of introducing the newest addition to The Griffin family: Readers Rite! That’s right, write without the W, because it is your rite of passage to share your experiences here at Canisius with the rest of the campus community.
Inspired by the “Reader’s Write” section of the wonderful monthly literary magazine, The Sun (to which you could receive a free one year’s subscription through the English department if you take the Literary Publishing class). In The Sun’s “Reader’s Write,” readers of the magazine are invited to write short blurbs about personal experiences on which they are “the only authority.” That means no research, no plot invention, no character creation.
The Sun sets a particular topic for each edition (recent examples of which include “teeth,” “the bus,” and “drug experiences”) and asks readers to submit personal stories related somehow to said topic. The topics are intentionally vague in order to “leave room for interpretation and exploration.” Each month, there are at least three full pages dedicated to these heartfelt, heartwarming and sometimes heart-wrenching stories sent in by readers from across the globe. Authors have the option to reveal their identities or stay anonymous in order to allow the most honest and accurate story-telling.
As a reader of The Sun myself, I find the “Reader’s Write” section is often my favorite part of the entire magazine. The excerpts submitted by other readers are not only extremely brief, thereby permitting me to sneak them in during the seemingly momentary breaks between classes, but also extremely entertaining. Sometimes the stories feel too wild to be true, but I have no choice except to take them as fact, since that is the one rule of the column – write on something you know to be true.
Seeing the incredible stories and massive amounts of submissions received by The Sun for their “Reader’s Write” section, I decided The Griffin should have something similar: a weekly space dedicated to short, simple, sometimes funny and sometimes sad stories told by our readers.
This space will provide the opportunity for students who may be nervous or uncomfortable writing to try it out with low commitment. Furthermore, these publications will be a low commitment for readers as well – they only take a minute to read!
Submissions should be brief, only a few paragraphs long. The purpose of these stories are not to teach readers a lesson or prove anything. Readers Rite is just for students to share an experience they may have had on a certain topic and enjoy the writing process!
The topic will rotate weekly but always relate to some aspect of life here on campus. Topics will be announced two weeks in advance, right here in the opinion section. For next week (issue of September 29th), the topic is Parking and the week after (issue of October 6th) is Dining Hall food. So get thinking, and get writing!
Below is a sample "Readers Rite" for reference.
Topic: Seeing professors out of class
One day over the summer, I treated myself by going to Whole Foods. I really love Whole Foods, but it is drastically more expensive than ALDI – perhaps it is fairly priced in comparison to Wegmans, but I don’t shop there regularly either – so I only go on special occasions. I think that day the special occasion was taking my dog to Ellicott Creek Bark Park in North Tonawanda, the quality of which far surpasses any other regional dog parks (except maybe Knox Farms in East Aurora, but that is a quarter of a tank of gas away) because the park is simply an island in the middle of Ellicott Creek, completely overrun by dogs of all breeds and ages. It is a magnificent sight.
So I was just leaving Whole Foods to head to Bark Park when I noticed a tall, skinny man crossing the parking lot in a familiar slow-paced stride, still managing to cover distance quickly due to the length of his legs. It's Dr. Cochrane! For a moment I considered not stopping, since living a solitary existence is often more efficient, but I told that part of my brain to shut up.
After rather abruptly throwing the car into park with a jerk that spooked my dog in the back seat, I jumped out of the car and shouted greetings to Dr. Cochrane. I introduced him to my dog, whom he pet consistently for the entire duration of our five minute conversation, his hand never leaving the curly fuzz of my dog’s head even as we discussed my thesis, upcoming course schedule, undergraduate literary magazine business, etc. I think they loved it – both my dog and my professor.
It was kind of hot out, so I let Dr. Cochrane get out of the sun and back to his business of grocery shopping, but not before noticing his shirt; it was gray, with “KALE” printed in green letter across the front in a collegiate style (a satirical replication of the YALE logo). I was wearing the same shirt.