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An update from our sixty-seventh Writing Workshop

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, June 4th, plus some of the output published below

In this workshop, students focused on the rhythm and sound of their writing and looked to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Klingon poetry, and J. R. R. Tolkien's Elvish languages for inspiration. William introduced the concept of anaphora, the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses, as a way to add rhythm to writing. Similarly, he showed how assonance, consonance, and alliteration can be used for the same purpose. As a tongue-loosening mini-challenge, William prompted students to let go of meaning and grammar and just focus on sounds, whether they be flowing, not flowing, rhythmic, or chaotic.

The Challenge: Let the words flow with rhythm and pattern. Keep your mind open, read aloud to yourself. Be exuberant!

The Participants: Benedetta, Delight, Lena, Pearl, John, Madisen, Peri, Anya, Agatha, Jolene, Aimee, Eric, Amelia, Nysa, Aditi, Advika, Yueling, Elbert, Sally, Liam

Three Poems

Peri Gordon, 12

Don't Be Afraid

Don’t be afraid and come with me. 

Don’t be afraid and do as I do. 

Don’t be afraid, and know that you are in good hands. 

Relax and breathe. 

Relax and smile. 

Smile and don’t be afraid.


Don’t be afraid and face down your fears.

Don’t be afraid and face down your foes.

Don’t be afraid, and don’t forget my words.

One and the same are your fears and your foes.

One and the same are my values and yours.

Smile and don’t be afraid.


Battle Cry

Be the cocoocha

Of our shetoocha

No need for globeil or flitchak or thuba

Hoblosochey, the war cry of the day

Resounds from the hills and the poikamarey

Hee, shee, don’t be a clee!

Awake and hoolachoo, we will rise from the glub

And take back the gley that they left in the shub!


Layers of Say-ers

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your shoe

Let down your bracelet

Your necklace too

But never you dare

Let down your hair

For care I do not

About you


Cried the boy to the girl

As she told him to help

On a hot summer day

In a hot, stuffy room

With a hot-headed boy

And a hot-headed girl

And a hot hair curler

And a hot stove

And wet, salty sweat pouring down their backs

And wet, salty tears coating their faces

And wet, salty water crashing against the house

Flooding their space and flooding their minds


And then all was cold

And the cold, wet room

With the cold-hearted girl

And the cold-hearted boy

And a cold glass of water

And a lifetime of cold smiles

Was no more


Said the man to the kids

As he taught them to care

Not hot-headed

Not cold-hearted

Warm, cool, and just right

And just right was the mood

And just right was the temperature

And just right was the time for the kids to grow up


Then stress crashed down upon them

Like weights on their backs

Weights on their arms

Weights on their legs

Pinning, and trapping, never to escape

Never to see the sunny day

For death and despair had darkened their vision 

With a cumulonimbus perspective

And years went by in weeks for a while

And then they were no more


Said the fox to the ant

As he taught how to block

All the stress and dark thoughts and the fear and whatnot

“Just be free,” said the fox

“Just give in to the bliss and think sesa and fosa and shandy and clist”

And the ant and the fox went along hand in hand


Wrote the author

As the arc of her story did land

Penelope's Pickles

Liam Hancock, 14

“Pish-posh,” Penelope pressed playfully, picking and pickling powerfully pickled pickles per pound. “This simply won’t do,” proclaimed Penelope. “These pickles are turning blue and practically stew! A picking of pickles is long overdue!” And so Penelope penned a personal paper to the Pickling People’s Prefect, professional pickler Peter Piper, who previously perfectly picked a peck of plenty pickled peppers in the Pre-Pickle-Picking Period. Peter Piper penned a paper back to Penelope, but she was too preoccupied with her percolating pickles to pick up his paper and pen a paper back to Peter Piper. “Oh, dear,” Penelope said sadly, sunken in despair when she turned around after tending to her pickles and saw the letter waiting there. “It’s much too late to write back now!” She wiped the sweat from off her brow, and she turned to go and sit back down, but her pickles were practically pungent and Penelope figured that the Pickling People’s Prosecutor had done it. And so, feeling as if she was perpetually penning one paper or another, Penelope penned one last paper to the Pickling People’s Prosecutor, Percy Presto, and he promptly penned a paper in response, proclaiming that all pickles in the providence had been put to rest, and that all pickle-picking was to be promptly replaced by pepperoni packing plants. Penelope was appalled, and so she packed her pickles and paraded to the Pepperoni Providence and planted her pickles beside the pepperoni plants. Soon enough, a garden of gherkins had grown just beside the pepperoni plant, and every morning the pepperoni personnel purchased a peck of pickles and pickled peppers. The procession of pepperoni personnel purchasing Penelope’s peppers became so prolonged that very few were able to get to work before the day was done, and the pepperoni plants of the Percy Presto’s providence began to perform poorly, penny-pinching just to produce enough pepperoni to stay afloat. “Pish-posh,” Percy pressed, perceiving a powerful privation of pepperoni personnel. “This simply won’t do! Perhaps due to that proud Penelope, our pepperonis are turning blue and practically stew! A planting of pepperonis is long overdue!”

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