The student-run organization, “Revellations,” finds its members discovering their own epiphanies in writing and publicizing those revelations through their online posts and publication as a whole.
The colleges that are spread across the UC San Diego grounds have formal writing-focused organizations for aspiring writers or just curious students looking for clubs to join.
“Revelations” — which has no affiliation with any religious organization – is one of those official written publications at Revelle College. They state that they are the oldest student writing publication on campus. In fact, they started as a newspaper a few years after UCSD was founded in 1960 before fading away over the years. They started getting more involved around 2017 by posting visual and written pieces online.
The reason for choosing the name “Revelations” is a mystery. The name could come from revelations that occur during the writing process. All in all, it’s a charming pun.
Reese Welch, Sr., reflects on her experience so far as President of “Revelations”. She is open to conversations on the spot and is warmly conversational, never breaking eye contact or the flow. She takes icebreakers without hesitation and when she speaks, she uses broad hand gestures while immersing herself in the publication she dubs one of the hidden gems of campus.
While Revelle College funds the publication, students at any college are welcome to join. Welch joined the publication in 2018 as a freshman after seeing them advertise through repositories on campus. It was advertised as a creative writing publication, which immediately appealed to her. As a creative writing minor, she said writing takes up all of her free time and she relishes that this platform functions as a safe space for her.
Although Welch loves short stories, many members also focus on rhyme in poetry or free-form material. Others do photography. Some attempt to depict normal sounds and experiences as well as engage in horror and interactive themes. For example, a section of the post in early 2019 titled “The Fog” was interactive, with individuals being able to choose which route to take on campus in a foggy environment by choosing from a set of links. It is akin to the string platform, where you create a complete story for others to follow by clicking a path. These coin types are also unique to each player, allowing for an active and personalized experience.
“It fosters a community of writers…gives us the space to reflect…to go out and be creative,” Welch told The UCSD Guardian.
The organization emphasizes writing out of a desire to write above anything else. Welch explicitly says they’re not trying to sell anything.
They have printed brochures, which may come back at the end of this term or the next, as well as a drop-off event called “The Best of Revelations”, which is made up of poems or story excerpts from each writer.
Members used to distribute the brochures once a quarter at Revelle Plaza along with donuts. Physical publications would still be reserved at the end of the term to celebrate the hard work of members.
But nothing has been strict about format: the types of writing or the number of pieces have never been capped or fixed, and writers are encouraged to write as much as they want.
There is a fine balance between discerning the need to write and following your own creative production schedule. Here, the team embraces the latter. Welch thinks there aren’t many organizations like “Revellations,” with a fixation on creative writing without strict deadlines.
In fact, she compares it to an on-campus creative writing class without the daunting aspect of grades. The works of the creative workshop classes are sometimes even submission pieces for “Révélations”.
“[‘Revellations’] fosters a community for creative writing. It gives us a space to give each other feedback, brainstorm, things like that,” Welch said. “It’s incredibly empowering and it’s also a lot of fun. We’re such a small organization – we’re very much like a group of friends.”
As the publication’s president since her sophomore year, Welch knows the logistics of the team well. She leads the meetings and helps post on their Facebook page and Medium Platform; in the latter, they post their works on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
However, there are some challenges. Welch calls the medium sometimes hostile site; the difficulty of indentation makes it difficult to display works, especially experimental poetry that has intentional spacing and overall formatting. They sometimes sidestep the issue with humor by taking a screenshot of their work and posting it instead.
Along with this challenge, “Revelations” had a year online with its own ups and downs due to COVID-19. Consistency was particularly difficult to maintain, and Welch acknowledges this.
“COVID has been a really tough time for everyone,” Welch said. “I myself slipped with the online format, which I regret. [But] I can’t be too hard on myself. I can’t be too hard on others.
This quarter, they only publish on the Medium site. The effects of COVID linger – weekly meetings will likely remain in Zoom format until the fall term.
Otherwise, Welch said she was very happy with her team at “Revellations.” Welch is tasked with being an intermediary voice between her and her supervisor, and is a leader in her own right.
At meetings, the environment is just as liberal as the writing. Welch begins the meeting by discussing current events and catching up on everyone’s days. Sometimes they end up chatting freely about whatever comes to mind or engaging in fun and engaging group activities. She remembers the past when they used to do “flash writing” in speed writing, where they would quickly dive into a prompt and write about it.
Then they jump into the pieces that are ready, which go to Google Drive. Each player piece receives verbal feedback. Members take turns giving general comments in a workshop format and engaging in marginal notes for the work, but never directly in editing, which is considered rude.
Marginalia consists of readers writing notes in the margins of books or documents; while he allows you to be actively engaged with literature material, it also allows you to also make “tangible” comments that allow discussion with others.
When work is ready for publication, authors can publish to the medium site. But it is not mandatory; many works can remain in Google Drive for personal viewing and sharing with other members.
The ultimate goal is to encourage creative writers. The world is your shell; you can explore mediums such as poetry, short stories, and non-fiction essays and stick to what they know or stretch. The space is serene and intimate – any creative writing is welcome and dignified.
Katie Clemmer writes for “Revelations” and attends an on-campus writing workshop to write more about science fiction and fantasy themes. She appreciates the best of both worlds in fiction and non-fiction; for her, the realistic and the fantastic intertwine for the two genres. When it comes to her work for the publication, she focuses on personal or political topics that people can connect with.
“I have a lot of poetry that talks about universal suffering or specific events like the feminicides that take place on the border between the United States and Mexico or even the attack on Capitol Hill, etc. For that, I uses fantasy elements or maybe metaphors but they never really classified in my mind as works of fiction,” Clemmer told the Guardian.
Welch and some of the other members write for possible future writing careers, while others write as a hobby.
“Sometimes you don’t want to write news,” rWelch said. “Sometimes you don’t want to write satire. Sometimes you just want to be able to post a random poem that you wrote on a whim one night or while deep in your feelings.
After Welch graduates, third-year student Rhiannon Scray will serve as president. Scry joined “Revelations” a few years ago and wants to recruit more people before becoming president, but as long as the team she works with is sincerely dedicated, the size of less than 10 members does not bother her. Aside from some nerves related to learning about editing and technicalities, Scray expressed excitement about working with more members.
“We see various types of writing [here]. “A lot of us have turned to poetry lately,” Scray said. “For me, I did a lot of love poems. Not romantic poems. Poems of Appreciation.
Currently, the team is led by a few women who have been part of it for at least a year, which was not the case in the past, when there was more of a balance between men and women. women.
Still, Welch said she wants more articles to be published, which requires some rigor. Again, the beauty is in letting writers write however they choose and feel safe in the tightly knit niche community they’ve built with each other. Similar to Scray, increasing organization size isn’t necessarily a priority, although a few extra members would be beneficial.
While some consider writing about trauma or stressful topics to be a damaging thing, there is merit in being aware of all of writing for healing.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, where patients wrote about the most stressful days in relation to an emotionally neutral event, the study found that those who wrote about stress improved more and deteriorated lessas controls for the physical illnesses they struggled with.
“Someone [once] wrote a letter to their family member who had passed away. He was dedicated to talking to her. It spoke to me. I was like ‘wow, this is really impactful for me,’” Scray said.
For Scray, who is currently a writer on the team, the organization has given her the courage to publish and share very personal poems with others. It also helped her to be even more receptive to feedback on personal matters. It was a process that – as she says – allowed her to become herself.
Photo by Skylar Kang from Pexels.