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An update from our fifty-fourth Writing Workshop

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday November 20th, plus some of the output published below

This week, Liam led the writing workshop on the topic of Informal Writing. Liam went over the use of common vernacular in stories and gave us examples of why more informal language could be effective in writing stories. The class went through passages from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Liam emphasized the freedom of informal writing, encouraging writers in the workshop to experiment with run-on sentences, incorrect grammar, and unusual formats like lists.

The challenge: Write a short story, poem, play or other work of literature using an informal writing style.

The participants: Liam, Ethan, Sierra, Rachael, Peri, Jonathan, Kate, Aditi, Tilly, Marissa, Kina, Elbert, Samantha, Nami, Sarah, Madeline, Grace, Iago

Aditi Nair, 13, (Midlothian, VA)

The "Friend"

Aditi Nair, 13

I looked around as I spotted Kassie. Why didn’t she save me a seat? I thought. She always sits with her other friends, and most of them don’t like me.

“Kassie! Where can I sit?”

“Well, hello to you too. Just over there, by the teachers,” replied Kassie. She casually swung her arm to the seat she was saving, “This seat is taken, though.” I glared at her. There was noquestion that our friendship dynamic was well...chaotic, but even so, we were still friends. “I can’t sit near the teachers, Kass. I can’t, and I won’t.”

“Well...too bad. You came too late, so yeah.”

“But there is a seat, right there. Literally right there–”

“Just go Lucy.”

I stormed off, and back to the classroom. Throwing my stuff onto the empty desk, I looked around to see a girl in tears. I could’ve just stared at her or ignored her existence, but I didn’t.

“Hey, you good,” I asked, as I reached into my backpack for food. Through tears and sniffles, she replied.

“Been better.”

“Clearly!” I laughed. As the lunch period came to an end, I forgot about Kassie and her friends... just kidding, I didn’t, but I tried.

Peri Gordon
Peri Gordon, 11
Sherman Oaks, CA

Informal, Relaxed, and Unfortunate

Peri Gordon, 12

Are you like everyone else? D’you think you can have everything? Ya can’t. D’you think you can work and play and be cool and popular and have it all and have it good? That’s what you think. Well you don’t know!

This world’s a cray-cray place. I dunno how to navigate it, and you don’t either. Me and my dogs have been searching for the dude who stole our money for eight years now, and we’re still lost and sad and scared and y’know...

As I walk in the rain with Heads and Tails, the dogs, I talk to them under my breath. “Today could be the day, y’know? Like, it’s my b-day and I think we’re pretty close, not like very close but like kinda close, to finding him. C’mon, I wanna get some food.” I tug my dogs’ leashes hard, ‘cause they’re distracted by some dude and his yummy-smelling fancy-pants pasta restaurant.

“C’mon,” I say. “Y’know we can’t afford that. So stop listening to his blah-blah-blahing and let’s go get something cheaper. ”

We cross the street and a car almost runs us over. We scramble onto the sidewalk in the nick of time. “Yikes!” I shout. “Arf!” I add so I show alarm in my dogs’ language too.

We reach a soup place where I can finally talk to other humans. “What’s up?” I ask some dude. I’m always talking to strangers ‘cause everyone I see is a stranger, ‘cept my dogs.

“I’m good,” he replies. I guess he talks to strangers too. “You?”

“Meh,” I say. “You don’t wanna know.”

He shrugs. “Guess I don’t.”

The owner comes over. She eyes my torn-up, all-wet-from-the-rain jacket. “Don’t you have an umbrella? You’re drippin’ on the wood!”

“Used to have one,” I say. “Lost it months ago. Can I still eat here?”

“Fine. Come order, boy.”

I get a cheap and pretty much inedible liquid-y thing that they claim is broth. My belly happy and my taste buds mad, I leave with the dogs. “Thanks for the soup,” I shout to whoever is listening.

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