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An update from our forty-third Writing Workshop

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday June 5, plus some of the output published below

In this workshop, William took one of his earliest writing workshop topics—alliteration—and reworked it, adding more for the writers of the group to think about. In addition to alliteration, William also reviewed the technique of assonance, which occurs when the sounds in the middle of words repeat themselves. The class went over examples of alliteration and assonance, including from Herman Melville's Moby Dick.


The Challenge: Either find a piece of prose that you’ve already written, and add alliteration OR start something fresh using the techniques of alliteration.

The Participants: Sage, Reese, Chelsea, Lena A, Delight, Madeline, Helen, Margaret, Hanbei, Peri, Julia, Pranjoli, Nami, Angela, Jonathan, Audrey, Gia, Jaya, Peter, Sierra, Arishka, Grace, Tilly, Mahika, Mia, Iago, Charlotte, Rachael, Lina.

Nami Gajcowski, 11
Seattle, WA

The Soul in the Clouds

Nami Gajcowski, 11

I clutched a soft avocado in my hand and squished it slightly. It had just the right firmness and it would be fantastic in guacamole.

I heard a sharp yelp, so I spun around to see a toddler with a desperate scream. I covered my

ears before dropping the avocado into my shopping cart. Then, I pushed my items away from the toddler and found myself in the kids’ section.

I was in the midst of stuffed zebras and gazelles with the faint buzzing sound of the child’s scream, somewhere near the produce section. I grabbed a plush zebra before dropping it into my shopping cart.

I had no use for a zebra, but it would be my only memory of before. It would be the thing that held me onto terrifying, but true, reality.

Tens of thousands of people went through this. But they had forgotten. Or maybe they hadn’t. Maybe it was tucked away deep inside their soul, no matter how much they tried to forget about it.

No one had mentioned the seemingly perfectly nice people who brought everyone down with a betrayal. No one mentioned how many people were lost in the terrible escape. No one remembered that I was ten and was still clutching a stuffed zebra as the world fell at my feet and then turned into chaos.

Or maybe it was forgiven and forgotten. But how could we forgive them? How could life go on as

normal, with stores still selling pungent yet petrifying fruit that might’ve contained poison after the betrayal? How could they dare to do that?

There was danger in this society. Hints of a downfall appeared here and there. Shocking incidents had confirmed that. But there were no rumors. No nothing. Any hint of what happened after the betrayal that happened now was not noticed or forgotten.

Everything around me began swimming in my tear-filled eyes. I was no longer in the clutch of reality.

I was floating... floating somewhere far and safe.

Floating. Floating out of this world where people forgot about the horrors and tried – but would fail – to rebuild a new society and confirm that everything was okay. But nothing would be okay.


I could no longer see the grocery store. I was spinning in bright colors, clutching the zebra.

Clutching the only thing that had tried and failed to bring me down to the ground. Even though I hated pretending everything was normal even though it wasn’t, I couldn’t go up into the air. I had to stay on the ground.

Frantically groping around for something to hold on to was impossible. There was nothing to hold on to. My emotions began to conflict. Calm, terrified. Calm, terrified. Like the never-ending tidal wave that the moon brought. Like the days before the betrayal... like the calmness.

But how could I give in to the sensation? I had to. It was the only way to survive.

Visions of my life swirled around me. Of before. Of before the terrors. The zebra stuffy that I had– named Ellie – that I used to snuggle with every night. Of my old best friend. Of everything that had happened before.

No. I needed to grab on to reality. I pondered shutting my eyes, hoping to block out the visions, but that would only take me farther away from the ground. I needed an anchor.

I had no anchor. I had no someone who could be my anchor.

I was floating. Floating.

I would disappear soon. Off of the face of the earth. Up into the hands of the sky.

No. No. No.

I couldn’t. I wouldn’t become a wisp of smoke – helpless against the world. I couldn’t. I couldn’t.

But I was. I was no longer a person. I was a ghost. With trailing wisps of smoke. I was nothing. I was gone. My soul floated through the clouds. I tried to reach out for it, but it drifted out into the sun.

I wasn’t dead. But I wasn’t living. I am an immortal body with no soul – an immortal body in the clouds.

My soul continued to drift into the clouds.

Soon it was gone. It had entered the sun.

It was gone.


Lina Kim, 11
Weston, FL

Sacrifice of the Sea

Lina Kim, 11

Swimming seals sing songs of sacrifice, sending a seahorse to the seafloor. Tiny turtles turn and circle the swimming seahorse. Corals coo the carols of calmness, letting the little seahorse softly fall asleep. The shark swims by, stealing shells from the seafloor, and swims past the sleeping seahorse. The shark sweeps up the seahorse, swooping away to snack on the sleeping seahorse. The creatures are safe for another day.

Pranjoli Sadhukha, 11, Newark, OH

The Ocean Oasis

Pranjoli Sadhukha, 11

The water teemed with wild things. The turtle’s whimsical thoughts were in tune with the sparkling, smiling sun and the beautiful blue-green bliss enveloping his shell. Eventually, he swam to the surface and paused his pondering, letting himself simply enjoy the easy breeze drifting along the seashore. The jellyfish lazily floated while the fish flew through the waves, their flawless orange scales flashing. The dolphins dove in the water while the whale wandered, wondering what he may find. Deep down in the serene sea, the starfish lay, undaunted by the distant daring sunshine. Above the vibrant, bright waves, the seagull soared through the clouds, guarding the glorious, glittering sea.

The Horse

Headshot of Tilly Marlow, against brown wooden wall.
Tilly Marlow, 11
Bristol, United Kingdom

Tilly Marlow, 11

The horse sped through the halcyon forest heading to a calamitously clandestine destination derived from betrayal, hidden from the hatred of all.

Some called the horse heroic - others heard it as iniquitous, cruelly called it corrupt.

However, in the wood, the resplendent trees radiated with a hopeful golden glow concealing the cantankerous coldness of the world.

With a whisper of winter, the harsh wind whipped the fragile branches, leaving bareness, adding to the blanket of orangery leaves on the forest floor, shortly to be trampled by the furious feet of the heinous horse.

The Lone horse capered capriciously into the distance, fading silently as if it were a shadow. And perhaps... it was.

Sierra E., 11
Mountain View, CA

The Candle

Sierra E., 11

Candle, candle, glimmering bright,
like crimson leaves, a shining light,
colors illuminating autumn’s night.

Wax as white as winter snow
drips like raindrops from the sky
down the face of a glowing candle, its
smooth surface disappearing, melting,
creating puddles on the mantel.

Flame flickering, dancing swift as a fox’s tail,
gleaming, glinting in the light of
the shadowed moon that spills through the
pane of a glassy window.

Candle, candle, glimmering bright,
like crimson leaves, a shining light,
colors illuminating autumn’s night,
shifting, twirling ever so slight.

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