Grinnell Monologues began in 2002 as a response to The Vagina Monologues about feminism and women’s empowerment, written and preformed by Eve Ensler. Grinnell Monologues expands Ensler’s themes to include body, relationship, and sexuality issues. The pieces represent a diverse cross-section of the Grinnell student body, and the event is open to anyone interested in writing or performing such pieces.
This semester I preformed my fourth monologue in a warm lounge packed with Grinnellians. The audience sat on the floor and in chairs with bottles of water, cans of soda, and pink cheeks, eagerly awaiting the start of the performance. Grinnell Monologues is preformed in the round, and the audience is required to scoot back and forth and turn around when each new performer stands up. This unique presentation style is only part of G-Mons history.
Twice a week, the leaders of G-Mons (two other students and me) organize writing workshops. The leaders work as a team to create writing prompts, secure performance dates, buy pizza, reserve lounges, and keep everyone on track. G-Mons features a specific type of personal narrative focusing on the body, relationships, coming out, staying in, and everything in between. Some memorable monologues have been about holding hands, first kisses, crushes, failed love interests, falling in love again, body hair (both lack of G and excess of), and self-governance as love, as well as several more risqué topics. Grinnellians tend to have unique perspectives. Even when topics overlap, each individual tells a different story from a personal perspective.
Each time we meet, we write for about 25 to 30 minutes. Then we share our work. Some bring a piece they have been working on and will continue to work on for the entire semester, in order to become really comfortable with it by the time we perform. Others write something new each week.
The most interesting and rewarding part of Grinnell Monologues is the community that forms around writing and sharing personal stories. We trust that what we share with the group will remain in a safe space: what’s said here actually stays here. We quickly learn to trust each other, and become a sort of monologue-writing family. G-Mons is unlike any other student group in that regard, and the friendships and trust built between us last even beyond the twice-weekly meetings.
I highly encourage new writers, and all Grinnellians, to come to workshops to see what G-Mons is about. Each person uses the space, time, and creative energy in a different way. It’s a great change of pace and a break from studying in the midst of a busy week, because it requires each person to think and write differently and outside of academic thought pattern.
G-Mons is love! G-Mons is sexy! G-Mons is what you decide to make of it.
Nik Jameson '11 is an Independent major from Kewanee, Illinois.