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Playing with Bubbles (Canon PowerShot S5 IS) by Enzo Moscola, 11; published in Stone Soup March 2022

A note from William Rubel

Friends —

Welcome back from our summer newsletter break! It was a much needed break for me and the Stone Soup team. I spent a good portion of the summer in Kenya where I completed a big chunk of a research project that I started thirty years ago. For the last fifteen of those years I have been working mostly on a dictionary of Samburu culinary vocabulary. I love writing dictionaries—for me a dictionary is like a collection of short short stories, so this was a really fun project for me—and I look forward to now moving the manuscript into publication.

I celebrated my birthday while in Kenya. I had a Samburu village birthday party: 500 people! Singing! Dancing! Feasting! It was the birthday of my life. And now I'm 70! How did it happen? Fifty years ago, I was a college student. I started planning the first issue of Stone Soup around the time of my birthday in July, 1972.  By September 1972, when we returned to the dorms, friends and I were well on our way to making my idea for a magazine of writing and art by children a reality.  As Stone Soup enters its fiftieth year, I will be getting in touch with some of you to discuss ways in which we can keep this magazine going for another set of decades. It is going to take a combination of imagination, money, and people.

I would like to take a moment to congratulate each of the 81 writers who sent in a novel or collection of short stories or poetry to this year's Annual Book Contest. The deadline was August 21st. Speaking as a writer, I can assure all of you that completing  a book-length story or collection is a huge achievement. The quality of submissions continues to improve. Thank you all for making this project such a success.

We will announce the 2022 contest winners as well as the deadlines for the 2023 Book Contest in a couple months. Remember the Flowers, the winning title in last year's Poetry category, by Enni Harlan, is now available for sale at all major book retailers and our Amazon storeFoxtale, the 2021 Fiction category winner by Sarah Hunt, is slated for release November 15th, so keep an on your inboxes in the coming weeks for the preorder announcement!

Until next week,

William's Weekly Project

Playing with Bubbles (above) is an extraordinary photograph. So many fabulous gestures caught mid-movement. I especially love the man in brown trousers and black backpack who is walking through the scene. We are so used to photographs of people in which everyone formally looks at the camera—and smiles! Enzo Moscola's photograph accomplishes the almost impossible: it captures a group of people doing things—not necessarily together—but in the same space and with no apparent regard for the camera.

Snapshots like this one take advantage of chance. The chance arrangement of people. The chance arrangement of colors. The chance arrangement of space. So here is the weekend challenge: I want you to venture into your neighborhood or city, a shopping center, a park, someplace where many people are out and about. Your first task is to find a situation that makes for an engaging photograph. It is hard to know what that might be in advance, so keep an open mind. It could be facial expressions, gestures, the way colors are distributed... I do want you to be sure to be aware of the faces. Recalling that in most photographs of people the subjects look at the camera, I'd focus on taking a photograph where nobody (or hardly anyone) is looking at the camera.

This is a a project that you can do whether you are a student or an adult. So, everyone, pick up your cameras and phones and see what you can come up with! And as always, if you create something you find exciting, please submit it to Stone Soup for possible publication.

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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