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Spoons (pen and watercolor) by John Gabriel Sperl, 11; published in the May/June 2024 issue of Stone Soup

A note from Emma Wood

Hello, Stone Soup readers!

As many of you know, Conner and I both teach English to undergraduates at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Our semester ended in early May, and while, yes, we have been relaxing a bit, enjoying spending more time outside—running, hiking, and exploring various parks with our kids—we were both extremely excited to have some extra time for… more work! But work of a different kind: our various personal writing projects. It’s often difficult to know how to classify creative work—though it often feels like play, it can look an awful lot like work, and though it can look like play once it’s on the page, it often feels like work in the process. That said, the less time I have (and we do not currently have much time in this phase of our lives!), the more I value the time I am able to devote to my creative work—and the better I become at using that time effectively. I hope many of you will take your summer break not only to rest and recharge but also to devote yourself to your own personal work—whether that’s poetry or painting, songwriting or dancing, or everything in between.

To help facilitate this creative work-play, you might consider signing up for a summer camp with Society of Young Inklings. There is something for everyone—filmmaking, playwriting, novel writing, short fiction, poetry writing, literary editing, writing memoir, and more. These classes are filled with such fun, enthusiastic, smart, creative kids excited to make and discuss art—I love teaching them and hope to meet some of you there. Spaces are limited, so be sure to sign up soon!

I also have other news to share with you: a few weeks ago, I let you know that the annual book contest was being delayed. I regret to inform you that we have decided not to hold the contest this year; we are taking the year off so that we can reevaluate and improve the experience for young writers. Nurturing young writers through the book contest has been such a rewarding part of Stone Soup for all of us on the team, and we look forward to bringing the contest back stronger than ever next year.

As we dive into this summer of creativity, I’m excited to see the incredible stories, plays, poems, and films that you all produce. Thank you for being part of the Stone Soup community, and here’s to a summer filled with inspiration and storytelling!


Executive Director, Stone Soup

Explore our summer camps

June 17–20; 9–11 am PT

The goal of this course led by Conner Bassett is to produce one 10-minute play. To help you do this, we will approach playwriting as a form of craft—grounded in dialogue, character, voice, setting, tone, conflict, action, and plot structure. This workshop will also emphasize a play’s arc: its beginning, turning point, and ending.

Reality Hunger: An Introduction to Memoir
June 24–27; 9–11 am PT

In this class, led by Emma Wood, Executive Director of Stone Soup, we will read and write memoir and personal essays—in short form. We will consider how they work, ask questions about the ethical aspects of writing nonfiction (What if my mom reads it? What if I hurt someone’s feelings? What if my memory is “wrong”?), and—most importantly—experiment in the form with daily in-class writing prompts, sharing our work in a supportive, fun community.

Literature in Miniature: A Study of Micro Fiction & Prose Poetry
June 24–27; 1–3 pm PT

Sometimes, the biggest ideas are best expressed in the tiniest of forms. In this workshop taught by former Stone Soup Blog Editor Caleb Berg, you will learn to condense your horizons into a style of writing perfected by writers like Lydia Davis, Daniil Kharms, Gertrude Stein, and many others. You will write multiple discrete pieces per day and finish the class with enough writing to fill up a chapbook.

Intro to Poetry: The Image and the Line
July 22–25; 9–11 am PT

Emma Wood will also teach a class on poetry. Immerse yourself in what a poem is and what it can do. Students will write their own poetry, shaking themselves out of established modes of thinking.

Filmmaking as Dialogue
August 5–9; 9–11 am PT

In this class taught by filmmaker Isidore Bethel, we’ll use the camera to facilitate and enrich our interactions with others – friends, family, animals, plants, and the world around us. Writing texts with a partner, recording and sharing short videos, and interpreting their meanings aloud will be starting points for developing individual and collaborative approaches to filmmaking.

Editing and Revising Fiction
August 5–9; 1–3 pm PT

In this class taught by Stone Soup Editor in Chief Diane Landolf, you'll learn how to think like an editor and make your stories the best they can be. We’ll discuss first paragraphs, character development, dialogue, story arc, and what makes a great sentence.

Click here to peruse the entire selection of camps available; our friends at Society of Young Inklings are teaching a variety of additional courses, and more courses will be announced soon!

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.


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