A note from Caleb
This Saturday newsletter will mark our last through August as we take a summer hiatus. Please be advised that we will continue to send out announcements and information about the fall session Writing Workshops, contests, the Refugee Project, and summer camps. We hope you all have fulfilling, deeply relaxing summers, that you write and create freely, and that you meet and surpass your summer reading goals!
Speaking of summer, we have a couple reminders about summer camps. First off, there is a little over one week left to sign up for my summer class on micro fiction and prose poetry, in which you will learn to express the biggest of ideas in the tiniest of forms! You will write multiple self-contained pieces per day, and will finish the class with enough writing to fill up a chapbook. Monday June 27th - Thursday June 30th at 9 - 11 AM Pacific. Scholarships available via this link. There are ten seats left - I hope to see you there!
And, as one final reminder, we are offering tickets to the Half Baked Art Collaboration, a special initiative of the Stone Soup Refugee Project and MyStart in recognition of World Refugee Day, 2022. This workshop will allow participants to work on a piece of artwork in collaboration with a student living in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. The dates for this set of two workshops are June 20th (9 - 11 AM Pacific) and June 22nd (9 - 10 AM Pacific). Please watch the video linked here and embedded below for a brief introduction to MyStart and the artwork from the Kakuma Refugee Camp.
In news that is sure to inspire Stone Soup writers, especially those who plan to submit to our fourth annual Book Contest, Oakland teen Leila Mottley's debut novel Nightcrawling has been chosen for Oprah's Book Club! Mottley, 19, is the youngest-ever author to be selected. As an aspiring novelist who is also from the Bay Area, I feel particularly inspired by and proud of Mottley's achievement.
In the spirit of summer vacation, I will keep my segment highlighting the art and writing of Stone Soup contributors brief. The image above comes from "Silver Carp Lullaby," a picture book written and illustrated by Madeline Cleveland, 12. I encourage you all to read it and feel the relaxing pull of the river's current in Madeline's soothing song.
Sonia Teodorescu's poem "Nostalgia" is similarly hypnotic, especially while listening to her brilliant reading of it. The first three stanzas pull the reader in with the gentle lull of ebb and flow - "dark, light, dark, light... on, off, on, off" - and from there the poem begins its descent. Stanzas full of fragmented memories, each ending with an elemental refrain - "fire... water... wind... earth... does not forget" - set the table for the poem's crushing, poignant final line, also its volta - "People don't remember." I haven't stopped thinking about this poem since I first read it a month ago, and I hope its startling precognition lingers with you, too.
Congratulations to our most recent Flash Contest winners!
Our June Flash Contest was based on Prompt #207 (provided by contributor Molly Torinus), which asked that participants write a scene (as a story, a poem, or a play) in which the author met their past or future selves. This prompt, a creative reimagining of the classic "write a letter to your future self," resonated deeply with our participants as we received over 40 submissions! The participants' brilliant work ranged from a semi-fictional origin story for the author's pet guinea pigs to a time-bending competition over the homework of the author's past and future selves to a heart wrenching letter asking that the author's future self be kinder to their soon-to-be-dead brother. If I may inject myself into this short summary, in all the time I've been judging the Flash Contest—since September 2020—I have never seen such a crop of brilliant writing. It took me over two days to ultimately decide the winners and honorable mentions, of which there are six each—one more than the usual five—and even then two more pieces were selected for the regular and Covid blogs. I distinctly remember being blown away by the quality of writing and artwork the first time I encountered Stone Soup—better and more robust than that of my college peers—and my admiration and awe for you contributors has only increased since I became an employee. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all who submitted and have submitted their work in the past, 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) at the Stone Soup website.
"Have We Met?" by Alia Ashworth, 11 (Thousand Oaks, CA)
"The Visitor from the Stars" by Hanbei Bao, 11 (Lakewood, CO)
"Homework Thieves" by Wilson Chen, 10 (Portland, OR)
"Last Vacation" by Caroline Gao, 11 (Milpitas, CA)
"The Interview" by Savarna Yang, 13 (Outram, New Zealand)
"Piano Can Transcend Time" by Joycelyn Zhang, 12 (San Diego, CA)
"Future" by Sophie Li, 11 (Palo Alto, CA)
"The Life of a Guinea Pig" by Nova Macknik-Conde, 10 (Brooklyn, NY)
"Time's Reminders" by Audrey Ren, 11 (Linwood, NJ)
"Me Too" by Daniel Shorten, 11 (Mallow, Republic of Ireland)
"Déjà vu" by Eliana Wang, 13 (Potomac, MD)
"A Second Chance" by Hannah Wu, 12 (Washington DC)
For the Stone Soup blog
"White Lilacs, Purple Lilacs" by Cayleigh Sukhai, 12 (Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan, Canada)
For the Stone Soup Covid blog
A Strange Dream by Melody You, 11 (Lake Oswego, OR)
By Sonia Teodorescu, 13 (Tampa, FL)
The clouds float across the sky, sometimes covering up the sun as they go.
Illuminating the room, then bringing it to a gentle shade,
Making shadows dance on the paper drawings tacked to the walls, in a room with
an unused bed.
The light from the cars’ headlights filters through the blinds,
One car’s lights chase another’s across the wall as they rush by in the night,
Going to places nobody knows,
As the clock ticks towards twelve,
Christmas lights twinkle in the chilly air,
Outside of houses with fantastical displays,
Or on the stair railing of a house in the dark,
Blue snowflakes hung in the window illuminate a face of joy in the winter,
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.