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Calling (oil pastel) by Serena Li, 12; published in the May/June 2024 issue of Stone Soup

A note from Laura Moran

Greetings Stone Soupers!

As is our annual tradition in New England, the first early spring day begins with my young son bursting into my bedroom, begging to wear shorts. Maybe some of you will concur—there is just something about shorts when you’re nine! And when the weather inevitably chills a day or two later and I deny his shorts request? Let’s just say the agonizing disappointment quakes throughout the house. With a couple of rounds of this routine in the books, I believe we have officially entered nine-year-old shorts season in our corner of the world.

In fact, as I write this note, I’m looking out my kitchen window onto an overgrown grassy path that runs along the side of our house, where a woman has just set up an easel and begun to paint. I imagine she’s at work capturing the delicate blooms, vibrant and dewing, that creep along the rickety wooden fence of my neighbor. Or maybe it’s the steeple of Old North Church, across the street, drenched in morning sunlight. I’m thoroughly enjoying the artwork and stories that capture these quintessential spring-like images in the current issue of Stone Soup.

I am also particularly drawn to Aila Monacelli Schrider’s memoir, "The City," in which she captures the unique experience of springtime in New York City. I recently spent a few delightful spring days in New York City with my family. We ate and ate and ate, and we walked, and walked, and walked—across the High Line on the old freight rail line above Manhattan, through the bustle of the lower East Side, and amongst the tulips and cherry blossoms of central park. It was a perfect start to the season and the sights, sounds and smells so astutely captured in Aila’s story bring me right back!

In Refugee Project news, I’m excited to share the newly launched Anthropology of the Everyday webpage which features the work of both our Stone Soup and Refugee Project cohorts! Young people in Nakivale Refugee Settlement celebrated the conclusion of the workshop with a festive celebration, which I was able to attend over Zoom.

Happy spring and happy writing!

From Stone Soup
May/June 2024

The City

by Aila Monacelli Schrider, 11

I step out of my school, and immediately noise fills my ears. The honking of cars, the steady chatter of kids as they leave, the footsteps, the wind in the trees. This is the very heartbeat of our city.

I greet my mom or dad, depending on the day. We walk toward the train, the hard, gray sidewalk pushing against my feet as I walk. The wind stings my eyes, my nose, my cheeks, but I walk anyway, against the breath of the beautiful soul that is New York.

Shops are crammed next to each other along the sidewalk, like people sitting on a subway during rush hour. The windows are smudged and the doors are grimy. The faded brick seems to sag, like an old man who has seen many things in his life.

Delicious smells fill the air, tickling my nose and making my stomach yearn for food. Food there is, indeed. Food from Europe, Asia, Africa, everywhere you could possibly think of. I don’t have enough noses.

Cars shoot past like bullets, and a train honks in the distance. We’re getting close to the station.

We round the corner and duck into the deep, dusty staircase. People hurry down the stairs beside us, not looking at anyone, not pausing for a single second. They must all have somewhere to be.

To read more, click here.

Explore our summer camps

June 17–20; 9–11 am PT

The goal of this course led by Conner Bassett is to produce one 10-minute play. To help you do this, we will approach playwriting as a form of craft—grounded in dialogue, character, voice, setting, tone, conflict, action, and plot structure. This workshop will also emphasize a play’s arc: its beginning, turning point, and ending.

Reality Hunger: An Introduction to Memoir
June 24–27; 9–11 am PT

In this class, led by Emma Wood, Executive Director of Stone Soup, we will read and write memoir and personal essays—in short form. We will consider how they work, ask questions about the ethical aspects of writing nonfiction (What if my mom reads it? What if I hurt someone’s feelings? What if my memory is “wrong”?), and—most importantly—experiment in the form with daily in-class writing prompts, sharing our work in a supportive, fun community.

Literature in Miniature: A Study of Micro Fiction & Prose Poetry
June 24–27; 1–3 pm PT

Sometimes, the biggest ideas are best expressed in the tiniest of forms. In this workshop taught by former Stone Soup Blog Editor Caleb Berg, you will learn to condense your horizons into a style of writing perfected by writers like Lydia Davis, Daniil Kharms, Gertrude Stein, and many others. You will write multiple discrete pieces per day and finish the class with enough writing to fill up a chapbook.

Intro to Poetry: The Image and the Line
July 22–25; 9–11 am PT

Emma Wood will also teach a class on poetry. Immerse yourself in what a poem is and what it can do. Students will write their own poetry, shaking themselves out of established modes of thinking.

Filmmaking as Dialogue
August 5–9; 9–11 am PT

In this class taught by filmmaker Isidore Bethel, we’ll use the camera to facilitate and enrich our interactions with others – friends, family, animals, plants, and the world around us. Writing texts with a partner, recording and sharing short videos, and interpreting their meanings aloud will be starting points for developing individual and collaborative approaches to filmmaking.

Editing and Revising Fiction
August 5–9; 1–3 pm PT

In this class taught by Stone Soup Editor in Chief Diane Landolf, you'll learn how to think like an editor and make your stories the best they can be. We’ll discuss first paragraphs, character development, dialogue, story arc, and what makes a great sentence.

Click here to peruse the entire selection of camps available; our friends at Society of Young Inklings are teaching a variety of additional courses, and more courses will be announced soon!

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.


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