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Cougars & Mustangs

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When you’re a student at Miskatonic University, “March Madness” means something else. It was 75 years ago (as of March 15) that Miskatonic’s “founder,” H.P. Lovecraft, died of cancer. The writer of weird fiction and pessimistic philosophy made a large impression on the horror genre. Heavily influenced by Edgar Allen Poe, and proclaimed by Stephen King to be his inspiration for going into horror, Lovecraft penned numerous stories. His tales of things-so-terrible-that-the-very-knowledge-of-them-will-drive-you-insane fueled the imaginations of pulp magazine readers. As a bizarre sort of salute, it’s time to see what the next generation of writers will bring to the table. Who’s up for a contest?

Cuesta Cougar (who’s apparently not one of the Old Ones) announced via his Facebook page that Cuesta’s 20th annual creative writing contest has begun. English major or not, students are encouraged to submit poetry, short fiction, and essays to Cuesta’s Literary Journal, Tellus. Send your submissions in by April 6 for a chance to win. For more details, contact Thomas Patchell at 546-3100, Ext. 2767, or visit his office, No. 6220.

While Cal Poly’s creative writing contest won’t kick in until next year, the Philosophy Department’s Student Essay Contest is still in bloom. In this event, various teachers nominate essays they believe to be outstanding for judicial review, so students who wish to participate should speak to their teachers about getting a nomination. If they receive one, the teacher will provide additional suggestions on how the essay can improve, so that when it’s finally submitted, it will be in tip-top shape. Mustangs, make sure to speak to your teacher by the nomination deadline of 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 3. Monetary prizes are available to the winner(s), and you aren’t required to share Lovecraft’s belief that humans are dismally insignificant. For more information, view the contest page and rules online on Cal Poly’s Philosophy Department website.

Perhaps you aren’t the writing type, however. There are plenty of people who love to read who don’t consider themselves disciples of the art. Such readers, be aware that Cal Poly’s El Corral Bookstore will hold a renaming contest from March 26 to April 15, inviting students to send e-mails to the bookstore with their name ideas. This is in a similar vein to last year’s renaming of Backstage Pizza to Ciao!. Just don’t ask where the Necronomicon is kept. That’s hush-hush.

There are more contests available elsewhere, too, such as those held by SLO Nightwriters (which ends this month) and New Times’ own 55 Fiction contest set for this summer. Can you awaken Cthulhu in 55 words? Let’s hope not. Whatever contest you enter, though, good luck! And Mustangs, enjoy your spring break.

Intern Chris White-Sanborn compiled this week’s Cougars and Mustangs. Send items for consideration to cougarsandmustangs@newtimesslo.com.

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