Notion Club: home for ideas

The Notion Club is a club for members to bring in their different interests and present them to each other as an homage to The Inklings, a similar club from the 1930s and 1940s that included members like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield. Audrey La | Photographer

By Mariah Bennett | Staff Writer

The Notion Club began this semester after being started by president and Raleigh, N.C., senior Matthew Young over the summer. The organization mainly hosts meetings in Morrison 107, but it sometimes holds them outside or in different rooms.

Young said the Notion Club seeks to provide a platform for students of various interests and backgrounds to share things they are passionate about — all in relation to truth, goodness and/or beauty. He also said it aims to be interdisciplinary.

According to its Connect page, the Notion Club “aims to allow students the freedom and resources to share and engage with ideas that fascinate them and stimulate their imaginations.”

Young said the organization hosts frequent small-group discussions throughout the year and two general discussions each semester. Currently, the club has about 10 to 12 active members.

Members must hold a small-group discussion about whichever subject they want and attend three other discussions. The host assigns a small reading or viewing, then talks about it for an hour. In the past, members have had discussions on anime series, music and poetry.

“The whole point of the organization was to provide a platform for students from all kinds of different disciplines who might not have an outlet to share passions like that otherwise,” Young said.

The club’s name is a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Notion Club Papers — an abandoned novel that was a parody and fictional representation of Tolkien’s real-life writing group, The Inklings, which included C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield.

Young said The Inklings would get together and discuss their ideas and writings every week at a pub.

“The Notion Club was a fictional society Tolkien invented to poke fun at The Inklings,” Young said. “It’s kind of a pun too, because an inkling is an idea and a notion is an idea, so it’s like a club for ideas.”

Secretary and Waxahachie senior Clay Dominy said the Notion Club has provided a great venue for students to talk about subjects they’re really passionate about.

“It is a great place for myself and others to come together and talk about the creative subjects we’re not able to talk about in the classroom,” Dominy said. “The things that drive us … that help us see things that are true, beautiful and good in the world.”

This semester’s second general discussion will be held during the last week of class.

“It’s a good social, intellectual and even spiritual growth setting,” Young said. “I’ve developed some pretty cool friendships with people who I hadn’t met before.”