A note from Caleb
Good morning and happy Saturday!
The last time I wrote the newsletter I led off by mentioning California's need for April showers—well, the rain has started to fall, albeit in short bursts, and with it has come an abundance of flowers. (It's not yet May, but the old adage can't always be spot on.) In Santa Cruz, it is even scheduled to be raining right now, as this newsletter is being sent off, at 9 AM! And, scheduled for exactly a week from right now, at 9 AM Pacific, is our first Writing Workshop of the spring session—William Rubel's—to be followed by Conner Bassett's at 11 AM Pacific. You can sign up for both of these classes, as well as Book Club with Maya Mahony, using the blue button, below.
I also spent my last newsletter giving rapturous praise to a poem from the April issue: "Roo's Song" by Sevi Ann Stahl. This week, I turn my attention to another poem from the April issue—"Chocolate" by Autumn E. Weinreich—which, while substantially shorter, is no less brilliant than the former. The truth is that little can be said about "Chocolate" without detracting from the art itself—one simply has to read its four lines and let the absurdity wash over them like a mid-April rain. But I will say that in writing "Chocolate," Autumn, just six years old, has perfectly encapsulated the creative and poetic potential of the youthful mind. Her poem reminds me of something my colleague, Conner Bassett, once said in a workshop on writing nonsense: "The purpose of art is not to make sense, but to excite the senses."
Conner's words also ring true for Sage Millen's photograph Colors. When viewing Colors, a logical mind might ask such questions as Why is the subject lying on newspapers? or Why are they upside-down? or Why is their hand on their face? or, perhaps most importantly, Why is their hand painted in colorful splotches? Of course, none of the questions surrounding these seemingly nonsensical elements matter for the simple reason that Sage has combined them to create art that, as Conner said, "excites the senses."
For this weekend project, I'd like you to try and eliminate all urges to make sense and instead wield the primeval, preternatural power of nonsense in the creation of art. Forget purpose. Forget logic. Create for the mere sake of creation! Bask in your freedom from the restraints of reason! Excite the senses! As always, if you like what you have made and would like to share it, please submit it to us via the pink button, below.
Flying green ostriches,
Congratulations to our most recent Flash Contest winners!
Our April Flash Contest was based on Prompt #198 (provided by intern Sim Ling Thee), which challenged participants to write a story in which the protagonist failed at everything and ultimately didn't succeed in the end. Unsurprisingly, this subverting prompt led to some the most inspired writing we've seen yet! Submissions ranged from a violin recital from the perspective of a snooty child to an unreliable narrator's laundry list of past failures to an old woman's battle with growing tomatoes. In one story, the unlikeable protagonist even smeared butter on their nemesis' lawn! As always, thank you to all who submitted, and please submit again next month!
Congratulations to our Winners and Honorable Mentions, listed below. You can read the winning entries for this contest (and previous ones), here.
"Curses!" by Lui Lung, 12 (Danville, CA)
"Beatrice" by Olivia Owens, 13 (Jacksonville, FL)
"A Failing Success" by Emily Tang, 13 (Winterville, NC)
"Cypress Woman" by Ellis Yang, 12 (Los Altos, CA)
"You Win Some, You Lose Some" by Savarna Yang, 13 (Outram, New Zealand)
"Dangly Necklaces" by Victoria Gong, 10 (Scarsdale, NY)
"Learning to Fly" by Marin Hamory, 10 (Wellesley, MA)
"The Last Leaf" by Kimberly Hu, 9 (Lake Oswego, OR)
"The Performance" by Elizabeth Sabaev, 11 (Forest Hills, NY)
"Gray" by Alex Zigoneanu, 11 (Portland, OR)
By Autumn E. Weinreich, 6 (Wilmette, IL)
Oh, I got a new snail.
He is dead.
To read more from the April issue, including another one of Autumn's poems, click here!
Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.
Stone Soup's advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.
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