An update from our seventy-second Writing Workshop
A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, October 22, plus some of the output published below
In this workshop, the participants learned to say the unsayable by using pseudowords: made-up words that aren’t part of any real language. William discussed how the sound of these words should have the power to express the piece’s meaning and feeling as well as the personality of the character. Examples such as “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carrol, the avant-garde poem “Seepferdchen und Flugfische” (“Seahorses and Flying Fish”) by Hugo Ball, and scat singing by Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme were used to demonstrate. As a mini-writing challenge, the participants wrote pieces entirely with pseudowords, focusing on sounds that would match their characters’ personalities.
The Challenge: Use pseudowords in a story or poem. Use them as suits your vision. This can be one word, a few words, a dream sequence, or a language.
The Participants: Anya, Ava, Celia, Crystal, Katelyn, Kristen, Liam, Pearl, Rachael, Reethi, Yueling, Zar
Strawberries and Ghosts
Pearl Coogan, 10
The breeze swished in Amy’s hair as she skipped cheerfully along the forest path. “Limbeb, limbeb,” she sang, skipping rocks into the small creek.
Amy’s best friend, Kat, who always dressed in black and was extremely gloomy, appeared from behind a tree. “Kilzek. Kox,” she spat. The two were in the forest looking for ghosts as always. Amy thought that they would find a friendly baby or puppy ghost and Kat thought that they would find an evil, scary, ghost.
“Lo, borium!” Amy bent down and picked a strawberry from a bush, “Ram lom borium!” The fifth-grader hugged the berry to her chest, like it would save her life. Amy and Kat had been looking for ghosts every day for months but hadn’t found any.
“Ram lom borium!? Kix rik!” Kat said, with a dramatic flick of her long black hair.
Suddenly a strong wind howled through the trees, sending Amy flying onto the ground and Kat grabbing onto a tree branch. “Ium... ium...” Amy whimpered, but her whimper quickly turned into a screech as her strawberry flew away from her “BORIUM! BORIUM! HIKZ!”
“Borium xiz! MIVC!” Kat shouted, the branch she was on swinging wildly, “RAM!”
Red eyes peered at the pair, somehow suspended in midair and still against the wind. Slowly a body formed around the eyes, a milky white body with long, grasping arms and lanky legs. The ghost slowly moved forward, snarling and reaching out towards Amy.
“IUUUUUUUUMMMMM!!!!!!” Amy screamed as she tried to scramble to her feet, only to be pushed down by the wind. The ghost reached out with greedy eyes.
“YIKUZ!” Kat tried to run towards the ghost, but instead moved right through him. The ghost let out some sort of evil cackle, arms reaching up into the air, ready to slam down on Amy.
“JIZX!” Kat jumped in front of Amy, pushing her best friend out of the way. And the ghost grabbed Kat instead.
“KOOOOOOOOOOOOOV!” Amy shouted, the wind tangling her pristine blond
hair. She was waving her arms at Kat as if that would somehow magically make her come down from the ghost.
“LOPC!” Kat said, trying to wiggle out of the ghost’s grasp. But the ghost poked and prodded her, his long claws ready to tear off her legs.
Amy was frantic, pacing in circles as leaves slammed against her smooth face. But then her face lit up, her eyes bright and her face blushing like how it always did when she had an idea. “Borium!” She smiled, fighting against the wind to get to a strawberry bush that was halfway out of the ground.
“HIJ HIK!?” Kat peered down at Amy, the greedy ghost lifting Kat towards his mouth.
“Seeeeeeelllll oolllllllllllllllpppppp,” the ghost spoke for the first time, his voice sounding like a zombie that found a buff, delicious, person that was perfect for eating and about to die.
Amy picked up a couple strawberries. “Ram lom borium!” She smiled, throwing the strawberries into the forest.
Kat furiously shook her head. The strawberries would only make this worse. They would agitate the ghost!
And, just like Kat predicted, the ghost opened his mouth wide, teeth pristine and sharp, ready to eat her.
The the ghost didn’t.
Instead he dropped Kat onto the ground and ran after the strawberries, taking the wind along with him.
“Kuu—uu—cc...” Kat stammered, lost for words. The ghost had just dropped her. And was now cheerfully munching on strawberries.
Amy smiled, skipping towards her best friends. “Ram lom borium!”