An update from our seventy-first Writing Workshop
A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, October 15, plus some of the output published below
This workshop covered stream of consciousness, a journey through a character’s mind in which their thoughts shift through free association, constantly transitioning from one topic to the next. These thoughts go off in different directions, taking a path that feels disorganized. William emphasized the difference between a story with a beginning, middle, and end and an impression of a character’s thoughts that isn’t meant to advance the plot—stream of consciousness being the latter. The participants drew inspiration from the abstract portrait The Fisherman by Max Weber, Fernand Léger’s avant-garde art film Ballet Mécanique from the Dada Art Movement, and a piece written at a May 2020 Stone Soup writing workshop about stream of consciousness. As a mini-challenge, the participants had five minutes to write a quick visit into a character’s thoughts.
The Challenge: Write a stream of consciousness piece for 30 minutes. This journey follows a path that is set down by the mind you are portraying in your story. That mind might, itself, not know where the ideas are coming from. Become your character, and let her take you on a journey into her mind.
The Participants: Anya, Ava, Celia, Crystal, Greta, Liam, Nami, Nova, Pearl, Rachael, Yueling, Zar
Pearl Coogan, 10
I can do it. I can win. Win the race. Beat the high schoolers.
People are cheering for me, cheering for me, of all people. My four good friends are jumping up and down, shouting encouragement. But the finish line seems a million miles away. Wait, are there even a million miles on Earth?
They are winning. The high schoolers. They are beating me. This isn’t right. Just like how it wasn’t right when a mean boy stole my ginormous Kit-Kat bar I had gotten on Halloween. Or was it a Twix bar? I like Kit-Kat bars better. But all chocolate bars are good.
I should’ve practiced more, spent more time on the track. But being on the track is so tiring, and then I go to bed early, and then I don’t have time for homework, and then I get bad grades. Just because I ran.
But there is no going back, just like how there is no going back after you turned in homework and realized that it had been wrong after you left school. Once that happened to me and I had panicked on the bus. Everyone had laughed at me. I hate homework.
I need to go faster, as fast as the wind or as me and my friends during lunchtime on Taco Tuesday. I like Taco Tuesday. Especially the shrimp tacos, although the school doesn’t always have them, even on Taco Tuesday. Not having the best kind of tacos on Taco Tuesday! Unbelievable.
Some of the high schoolers are behind me. Some are in front of me. Some look angry. Some even look amused. Amused? Doesn’t that mean like, funny? I’m not sure. I’ve never been good at vocabulary. I’m better at running and athletic stuff then actual school subjects.
But even though I’m an eight-grader doesn’t mean I’m not fast. Oh, I’m as fast as those snobby high schoolers. Wait, are they really snobby just because they’re high schoolers? I don’t think so. Maybe some of them are. I mean, there were snobby kids in second grade. Once one of the snobby kids teased me at Christmastime because I was wearing an ugly sweater because my family wears ugly sweaters around Christmastime. I like Christmas but I don’t like ugly sweaters. They itch.
What would an Olympic sprinter be doing? Probably running faster and focusing on the finish line. The Olympics seem really stressful. Who would willingly put themselves in so much stress?
The finish line is closer, not a million miles away anymore. More like ten miles. There’s a lot of places within ten miles of my house. Like the ice cream place. I like ice cream. Especially chocolate ice cream. It’s so irresistibly creamy.
Once I had vanilla ice cream I hated it. Just hated it.
I’m going to make it. The high schoolers are behind me now. Oh no, one just passed me. I always beg my mom to pass slow cars on the highway. But she never does. My mom can be so annoying.
The finish line is so close. But so far. But I’m only a millimeter away from the winning high schooler. Wait, how short is a millimeter?
The finish line is right there! I need to get to it first. Maybe I should leap to it. I’m good at leaping. Really good at it.
Leaping seems like a good idea. Well, no time to think.
I’m leaping. I’m leaving the high schooler a millimeter, however short that it, behind. People are cheering. For me or for the high schooler? I’m not sure. Probably some of both. But I like when people cheer. It makes me think of happy things like roller coasters. I like being happy.