The Muse published at MASH

Jenna Archer, Features Editor

While registering for next year’s courses, you may have noticed a unique option within the English selections, creative writing!

In this class, you learn how to channel your imagination to turn it into a variety of writing mediums, such as poetry and short stories. Every student is given a composition journal for the semester where they can write their creations.

At the start of the class periods, students draw from a big bowl a topic, setting, or word. Then, they must write for a specified duration of time, incorporating what was on the pulled slip into their writing somehow. Once the time is up, the students share what they’ve written with their peers, open for praise and constructive criticism. 

Sr. Jack Hamilton explains why he chose to take this class during his senior year. “Creative writing is an outlet for everything from writing to drawing to photography and every little thing in between. Mrs. Vriens runs a classroom where nobody is judged for how they choose to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and provides a source of recognition for those who choose to share their work with the muse. It is a very positive and forward thinking environment that assists writers in expressing their writing and artists in displaying their art, and allow any student, regardless of experience, to flourish.”

Maybe you’ve seen some of the signs hanging up around school advertising something called The Muse. Or maybe you’ve seen the display case announcing the same thing, just outside of the lunch line. The Muse is one of the best parts of taking this class!

What is The Muse, you may be asking? It is a literary magazine produced and published by students here at the high school! 

When students take creative writing, they also sign up to be a member of an editorial board for this literary magazine. From there, they have to spread the word to the rest of the student body asking for submissions of original writings, artwork, or photography, that can be sent to an email.

After receiving submissions, the class holds an anonymous meeting where they vote to accept pieces that will be published. The submissions do not have the author’s names on them, so the voting students won’t be swayed to vote one way or another based on bias.

Once they have compiled a large amount of submissions, they begin to match pieces of writing up with a visual piece of work that would fit best. If you have Mrs. Vriens for any other classes, you may have seen the work in progress spread out across the side white board.

Then, a few tech savvy students help to upload these documents into publishing software, arranging the pieces until they have reached their final layout. The book is sent to HotFrog printing, located here in Mechanicsburg. There, the book is published and sent back to the students, who now have to sell their magazine to their friends, families, and other MASH students.

Sr. Tiernney Kraft took the course last year as a junior. She reflects back on her time spent working on The Muse, “My favorite part was seeing everything fit together like a puzzle. When it was finished it was amazing seeing and feeling the finished product because we did that, we made that magazine ourselves!”

If you’re interested in helping to publish The Muse next year, be sure to sign up to take creative writing! And, of course, if you have a piece of writing, artwork, or photography that you would like to see published, be sure to submit it to [email protected]!