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An update from our sixtieth Writing Workshop

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

For today’s workshop, William built upon his previous workshop on stream-of-consciousness but taken in a different direction: nonsense words. William challenged the writers to focus on sounds, made-up words, saying the “unsayable.” We heard a poem of made-up words, the Klingon war song, and a poem in Elvish. Then the writers tried a 5 minute writing exercise in which they were encouraged to make up words. After, the writers watched some scat singing and double-talk comedy videos.

The Challenge: Use pseudo words within a story or a poem to say something beyond words.

The Participants: Agatha, Kelby, Peri, Lauren, Yueling, Rachael, Elbert, Liam, Iago, Anya, Kate, Stella


Pelpesu Pelsoo (Five-Minute Writing Piece)

Peri Gordon
Peri Gordon, 12
Sherman Oaks, CA

by Peri Gordon, 12

Pelpesu palei lepasu pepoo
Perstali hofana hopsalli soo
Pelmasu selfasu falelu falee
Pesafa safa fipsifee
Melsti melfopo pelmif sifa
Pelpesu pelsoo Elefaso elwasu
Pelpesu pelsoo Pelsa feeliofip
Pelpesu pelsoo Lololefipfip celso
Cesse Pelpesu leamell

Deeper than English (Main Writing Piece)
by Peri Gordon, 12

Lily tucked her laptop under her arm and headed outside into the Sunday morning fog. Her feet knew the way; they were so used to carrying her where she was going that it was barely a voluntary movement. Her legs walked calmly, allowing her mind to drift.

Her English assignment was to observe nature, something she had already been doing every day for the past four years. But today was different. Today, she had to write about nature, and she wasn’t at all sure whether she was up to the task. Sure, she knew every nook and cranny of the forest. Sure, she could describe every detail by heart, but that wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted the reader to feel the forest, the way she did. Her piece needed depth, depth that the English language could not give her.

She sat down on her usual tree stump, which was two feet high and the color of chocolate. She closed her eyes and let her instincts guide her. Her fingers began to type. She wrote:

I see the tree stump: preet, sliff, cerlous. I feel it, grudie yet solseena. I listen to the air. It says, “Shee shee selsa shee sho seeeeeee.” It rustles the treetops with a shtet and a tibbletoo. Beneath my feet, the curusutu, bloi grass frimfoops, and a squirrel shutalets away with a yeep. The sky is cleepy and selfessen, and the sun is an oorious togopot. There is so much to explore, so much to willawave and croprast and yuptop and yerm. Yoo repsendin kee toom fwee! Monday did not go well. Lily held her breath, and her teacher read her report aloud—actually, it seemed more like she scukbeaded it. The other kids sleed at her from the other side of the plaso maso room.

Lily’s teacher skudded and yued at her. So did her classmates. Finally, the teacher said, “What is this nonsense?”

Lily sighed with impatience. “Mrs. Campbell,” she finally said, “would you please stop spleefing at me?”

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