The Wonders of Writing 12

Friday, October 16, 2020 - By: Zosia S, Hope ‘21

Every year at the end of Grade 11, students are given the opportunity to try out for a class like no other. This course consists of ten strong English students who are passionate about coloured gel pens, dictionaries, Mr Collis’ chickens, and an extra spare. Those who are chosen for the class get to test their abilities as writers by forcing themselves to put pen to paper and complete the exceptional monthly assignments created by the man and the legend himself, Mr Paul Collis.

Starting in 2015, there have been rumors of the wonders of Writing 12 for five years now; what do they do in the class? Is it really a real class? Is Mr Collis actually just Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society? Are the students going to become the next Dickens and Brontës of our generation? Although I cannot fully disclose the secrets of the class I can say this: it’s like no other. From getting lost in the forest to writing Mr Collis a birthday card from Kanye West, the Creative Writing 12 students go through it all.

Mr Collis describes Writing 12 as “the modern incarnation of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own”. The empty slot created in our schedule for Writing 12 is not a block designated for writing per say. In fact, we rarely go to class during the block itself. What it is is a chunk of time that can be kept and saved for when we feel the urge to write. Writing 12 is essentially an abstract “space for kids who want to explore their creativity in writing” observed Olivia B, Alex ‘21. Olivia explains that she “never knew that [she] enjoyed writing so much” until she had a “space to write”.

Anticipation builds at the beginning of every month as eager writers wait for their intriguing assignments. It’s glorious when inspiration strikes but it’s even more enduring when it is nowhere to be found, for that is when writers must fight to continue a stubborn trail of ink along their notebook. To quote Jane Austen, “I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on until I am.”  Together we will write on, constantly, throughout the year as we learn from the class and our Master. Whether we pursue writing in the future, or we all become accountants, the creativity we discover in this class will stick with us for life.


To those Grade 11s who are contemplating trying out for the remarkable class, all I can say is, “Do it”.

Zosia S, Hope ‘21






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