Lisa Sandell praises the Kelly Writers House

Lisa Sandell (C '99)

Lisa Sandell wrote this to the "hub" (Writers House Planning Committee) during her final semester at Penn:

I will be graduating in about three months, and so I was thinking as I left the house, why am I concerned about what will happen next year? Sometimes I do forget that I won't be here next year, but really, I love the house, I am grateful to the house, and I want to see the house continue to grow and blossom. I hope that when I come back as an alumna, I can visit the house and see that it is still the haven for aspiring writers that is has been for me. And that's really what the house is to me: a haven, a place where I could finally start to explore my own potential as a writer while peeking into the work others are doing as well. Like I said at the retreat, I filled out my education at the Writer's House, and it has certainly been a vital part of my college experience.

Before I left today, Kerry Sherin asked how we felt the house affected our personal output of creative writing. Well, here's my answer: I started writing again. I had stopped for several years, but by forcing myself to be in an environment filled with writers and writing and the energy that seems to buzz all throughout the house, I began writing poetry. Then I started taking writing classes, and now I've moved on to fiction and nonfiction too. So, the house has been like a catalyst, but beyond just providing the support I needed to get started, the house has been my buttress. I think that as long as there are students at this university who want to write, there will be a Writers House. At least I hope so.