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An update from our fifty-ninth Writing Workshop with Conner Bassett

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, March 11, plus some of the output published below

This week, we learned about automatic writing, a fun exercise and an effective strategy to overcome writer's block. Automatic writing was born out of the surrealist movement of the early 20th century. Surrealists believed that artists and writers should avoid conscious thought and instead attempt to hypnotize themselves in the process, Conner explained. We looked at several surrealist paintings, and then at several examples of automatic writing from Benjamin Peret and André Breton. Students noted that some common features of automatic writing include repetition and a sense of dreaminess. Then, we discussed Action painting and looked at a few works from the most famous face of the movement, Jackson Pollock. Action painting can be seen as a visual representation of automatic writing whereby paint is spontaneously dribbled rather than carefully applied onto the canvas, just as words can be spontaneously typed or written rather than deliberated over.

The Challenge: Write automatically for 20 minutes. Don’t think; don’t edit; allow yourself to write badly; relinquish control to let the writing take over! Then, you can rearrange your writing for ten minutes if you’d like, or continue to write automatically.

The Participants: Sarah, Anushka, Catherine, Yueling, Lindsay, Samarina, Ava, Lucy, Stella


Ava Luangkesorn, 8

The frost slaughtered the moon.

The sun started to rise up to form the moon who formed daylight.

Poppies danced in light's presence.

The koi fish danced in the moonlight and sang in the pond.

The robin ate the sun and tried to spit it out, but managed to at the end of the second night.

Many of the birds were panicking.

The elephant threw his tusk at the sun, which officially caused eternal darkness.

Poppies lit up, and the stars wilted and reincarnated into the world as the poppies’ light, then flew back up and hung like puppets from the moon and clouds.

It really wasn’t much, it really wasn’t.

It was just a cat standing up and flying to the stars, flying till reaching up to space!

Lavenders die, and grow with rain, teardrops of salt.

My eyes water, I cry out pollen.

I can’t stand standing in the meadow with the sun rising and the moon dying in minutes.

Ferns grow down the treehouse, the ferns grow wood along with it.

It’s pinned to the wall.

More life, more earth, more time for the sun to crawl to the other side, less time for the moon to arise.

Below the house, below the stars, below the moon, below the clouds, below earth lies the grass, the dirt, the ground, the seedlings, the verse, the earth.

I am the sky, I am the moon, I am myself, I am the sun, I am the star, I am the sheep’s skin, I am the horse’s mane, I am the flowers petals, I am the only kind to be thankful for the space, thankful for the slaughter, thankful for all god's given me.

More, more times pass.

I pass my own self, I pass the fleet I pass, the earth I go to its core I fly, fly till my wings wilt away.

I simply fly, fly and fly along beside the wind. I am the wind.

I am the darkness.

I am the space.

I have myself in my mouth.

I have a crystal in the cave, which is in my hands, which is in my eyes.

Pleading to cut myself, pleading to just be here.

Pleading, for no reason.

The rainbow shines on the sun.

I am the rainbow.

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