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An update from our fifty-eighth Writing Workshop

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, February 12th, plus some of the output published below

William started off the workshop by having a journal reading from Ananya. Then, he invited participants to read passages from books they were reading that captured a sense of place. Peri and Agatha both read passages from books they were currently reading. William continued with a review of another topic he’s covered in Writing Workshop: Ekphrasis. He emphasized that using sensory details and thinking about how different characters might react to an environment. We looked at examples from Jack London’s Call of the Wild and Willa Cather’s My Antonia. Then the writers did a short exercise where they wrote for 5 minutes where they could either write a neutral description of a place or an emotionally charged perspective through the eyes of a character.

The Challenge: Describe a place through the eyes of a character, with all the bias and emotion that they might have.

The Participants: Agatha, Sophie, Peri, Kate, Liam, Anya, Ananya, Lauren, Lena, Rachael, Alexandra, Yueling, Iago, Elbert


Yueling Qian
Yueling Qian, 9
Chicago, IL

The Barn

Yueling Qian, 10

I look at the old barn. It is dark red as if it was painted like that to make me feel worse. The wet mud sticked to the bottom of my shoe. I could hear the ugly squelching sound of it. The cows mooed furiously. I look at the tall yellow crops. It looked like they all hate each other, and they wanted to outgrow each other. The horses kicked their hind legs staining the perfectly white fence. All the delicious yellow corn has fell on to the gross wet mud. The ugly rotten corn remained standing. The sunflowers drooped like the sun meant nothing anymore. In fact, the sun didn’t mean a thing anymore.

Peri Gordon
Peri Gordon, 11
Sherman Oaks, CA

The Hill

Peri Gordon, 12

Twenty-two hills. We had scouted twenty-two hills, and not one was right for the film. Too tall, too short, too large, too small...why bother with a twenty-third? We would never find the perfect one.

The overgrown shrubs of Hill Twenty-Three crowded around us, blocking our way. The dull green of their leaves resembled a watery, disgusting stew, which, suddenly, I could practically taste. The clouds above obscured the sky in long, pale streaks, as if a child had smeared the atmosphere with white paint. In the feeble light, it could be seen that the hill was pockmarked with stones covered in moss—or was it mold?—and the grass stuck up like thousands of blades waiting for someone with bare feet to come along. A rancid smell wound its way down from a looming, moldy chunk of rock to the threatening grass, worked its way around a few trees that shielded the hill, and wafted into my nostrils, at which point images of sewers flashed through my mind. I was sure I could feel the moist, mushy ground beneath my feet beginning to cave in under the weight of my body, and I jumped back in alarm, smashing my legs into a bush woven with thorns. As I tried to recover, the clouds suddenly parted, making way for devilish heat that practically set my back on fire. I ran down the side of the hill, attempting to get away from parts of nature I could never escape, my shoes slipping off and allowing the sharp grass to torment my feet, doomed to run to yet another hill, all for a movie that would never be made.

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