“Madness at Fogelson” CWL’s 24 Hour Writing Marathon

On April 1, students arrived at 3 p.m. at the Fogelson Library for the Student Writers Association 24 Hour Writing Marathon, blankets, laptops and animal-themed onesies in tow. Armed with snacks, a cooler of energy drinks and the sheer will to write masterpieces, writers claimed their spots on the floor for what would be a crazed night of open mics, book raffles, writing prompts and overall literary madness.

Writers sprawl out on the Fogelson Library floor. Photo by Charlotte Renken.

Hour 1

Writers have tucked into beanbags and armchairs, laptops warm against their thighs as they type away. Morale is high at 3 p.m.. Laughter slips through the crowd of more than 30 attendees, the majority of which were Creative Writing and Literature majors. The high attendance of the event has everyone excited and ready to write. Students committed to the full night look forward to raffles and free dinner later in the night.

Erin Hill, a freshman creative writer, stays focus on her writing early in the morning during the marathon. Photo by Lexi Malone.

Hour 4

Murmurs of the season 3 premiere of “Rick and Morty” filter through the crowd. Some rush to Adult Swim’s website to watch. Others continue on writing. Productivity takes a dip as pizza arrives. Those who signed up dine, fortifying themselves for the rest of the night.

SWA Vice President is the Queen of the writing marathon. Photo by Charlotte Renken.

Hour 5

As night falls, students have already lost touch with reality. Is it snowing outside? Is it not snowing? Was it snowing earlier? The library is split by a political divide. We continue writing.

Judy Ripley and her panda friend lead the crowd in a writing exercise. Photo by Charlotte Renken.

Hour 8

Creative Writing and Literature faculty James Reich and Julia Goldberg arrive at the library with snacks. Students gratefully graze on popcorn, granola bars, and Goldberg’s home baked cookies. Judy Ripley provides students with a color themed prompt to urge them further into the night of writing.

Charlotte Renken, a creative writer, takes a quick nap while attempting the 24 hour writing marathon. Photo by Lexi Malone.

Hour 10

I have not rationed my caffeine well and slip under a blanket for a nap. The marathon goes on without me. As I slumber, students adopt movement to keep themselves awake. Digital Arts and Visual Development senior Brenda Lemieux leads her friends in a Vine video inspired dance across the library floor. Everyone awake giggles in disorientation.

Hour 12

“I need a cup, a pair of scissors, a spoon, and Swiss Miss,” SWA Vice President Kylie Yockey says before ripping a styrofoam cup in half. She pours out chocolate powder and eats it with a spoon. Students watch in reverence. We are all truly lost.

Maddy Sardina, a creative writer, participates in the open mic at 8am for the 24 hour writing marathon. Photo by Lexi Malone

Hour 13

“OK, guys we have our next raffle,” SWA Student Life Liaison Madeleine Sardina announces. Someone in the back of the room grumbles, “Don’t say Raffles.” The room utters a tired laugh. As Sardina pulls names for the drawing, two out of the three students winners have fallen, curled up under blankets, their eyes shut. Maybe forever? We won’t know till morn. A cannon fires. Another student submits to sleep.

Salem Farell constructed this “Anti-Plath” fort. Photo by Sylvia Plath.

Hour 14

The students have started to slip into madness. CWL senior Chantelle Mitchell bellows Mary J. Blige songs, pumping her fist in the air. “Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh. /Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh.” It is her only defense against sleep in the early morning hour. Another student uses fear to keep herself awake. “I’ve just been reading CreepyPastas because it makes me not want to close my eyes,” CWL senior Felicia Mackey says, rubbing her tired eyes. Students left awake have gathered in the center of the room, taking solace in each other to make it through the night. A chorus of the “Fairly Odd Parents” theme song bursts into the air. CWL senior Salem Farrell is busy in the corner, using jumbo lego blocks to build a box around himself. He has separated from the group, taking shelter against the oncoming storm.

SWA President Amaya Hoke lounges between writing. Photo by Charlotte Renken.

Hour 15

“Wait, Andrew’s awake?” Mitchell asks. SFUAD CWL alumnus Andrew Koss raises from what we had previously thought was a bean bag grave. His hair askew, the graduate giggles softly before rising for nourishment. A resurrection has occurred. A miracle.

Another open mic begins. SWA President Amaya Hoke stumbles blearily to the microphone to read an untitled piece. After her, Yockey takes the floor with a piece on water. “I’ve repeated a lot of this. This is why I shouldn’t write when I’m like this [tired].” Koss takes to the stage and looks over the crowd. “Oh my god. It’s like everyone’s dead,” he expresses in horror before reading his piece. After uttering a last sentence of prose, Koss falls back into his grave. We pray he will rise again.

Former Classmate Anna Holland is deliriously tired in the early hours of the morning. Photo by Charlotte Renken.

Hour “The Morgue”

The fluorescent lights buzz above as the sun just barely hits the mountains. Aside from a few soul survivors, the rest of the troops are motionless. “A fly could have landed on one of your eyes and you wouldn’t have moved. It was creepy,” Farell says, one of the few writers who will survive all through the night.

Later, breakfast arrives. Dunkin Donuts pastries and breakfast tacos just barely bring the students to their feet at 6 a.m. The Keurig machine hums and pours out hot coffee and tea for those students ready to brave the sunlight. Laptops whirl to life again. Students yawn and pull up Word and Pages documents. We push on.

Books from CWL Faculty and Stalking Horse Press were raffled off. Photo by Charlotte Renken.

Hour 20

After a few hours sleep and the promise of Subway lunch in just a few hours, students are reluctantly up and about. Stalking Horse Press and Creative Writing and Literature faculty books are raffled off to participants, many of them signed. The last remnants of breakfast are slowly disappearing as late risers graze.

Brianna Neumann, a junior creative writing major, reads what she has written so far for the open mic at the 24 hour writing marathon. Photo by Lexi malone.

Hour 22

The end is in sight. Sentiments of “I’m going to sleep for a million years after this,” and “My mouth tastes like death,” are exchanged as the library begins to open at 2pm for regular hours. Those who did not participate in the event wander in, perplexed by the decrepit student body typing slothfully at their computers. “We’re almost at the finish line!”  SWA Event Coordinator Brianna Neumann announces. An exhausted cheer filters through the crowd. Half raised fists are lifted into the air before falling with a satisfying plop.

Maddy Sardina, (creative writing) Brianna Neumann, (creative writing) and Matilda Gutierrez (studio arts) take a quick breakfast break after writing all night for the 24 hour writing marathon. Photo by Lexi Malone.

Hour 24

The marathon ends. Sleeping bags and pillows are stuffed under arms. The library is slowly but surely returned to its original state. Students half walk half drag their tired bodies out of the building, tired smiles on a their faces and new work to thoroughly edit on their laptops. We have survived to write another day.

The Student Writer’s Association meets at 8 p.m. every Tuesday in the SWA lounge in Alexis Hall. For more information on club meetings and future events, email studentwritersassociation@gmail.com or visit the SWA Facebook page.