018. I Am

A color-prompt workshop quickwrite; exploring stream-of-consciousness.


A blinding white light flashes, washing out my face. Where am I? All I can remember is a group of people dressed in lab coats dragging me around in a stretcher. As I look at my arm, blood was gushing out of it. But I can’t feel pain. I turn to my side and see more blood. What the ?! is happening? As I stood up, deciding to explore the building, I discover tons of medical equipment – tubes and wires pouring out from bleeping machines. The place was so bright, white, clean, and busy. Yet inside me, I felt so blue. Everything about the place made me feel cold and gloomy. Everything, from the pale tired nurses to the lifeless scenery, seemed to scream depression. All I can see from left to right felt sad. What made me feel worse was the smell of death in the air. Why does this place even exist? To make people depressed and crazy out of their minds? ‘Cause that’s what this place looks like to me. I know I’m in a hospital, but doesn’t that mean doctors and nurses should tend to me since I’m obviously a patient here? I decided to go back where I came from. The next thing that happened shock the life out of me, literally. What I saw was a mangled body of a girl who looked like me, except for the enormous bullet hole on her arm. I felt sickness starting to grow from the pit of my stomach. But that was impossible, dead people don’t feel sick. And I am.

– L, 13

013. What Is The Hardest Question?

(image from the net)
(image from the net)

What is the hardest question? Yes, that’s the question. You know, I really want to know the answer. Maybe this question: Who killed Mr. Mister’s cat which killed Mrs. Sunny’s pigeon that ate Mr. Geek’s favourite worm, if Mrs. Sunny and Mr. Geek were already dead that time?  

Actually, that question is very easy. Maybe Mr. Mister killed his cat. But it’s not a fact that he killed his own pet because there is always a possibility. Like, someone else killed his pet or his cat died naturally.

BUT what really annoys me, there are questions that I just do not know the answers to! Especially when it makes my brain feel like a walnut shell – small & empty.

We all know that all questions have answers, but are all questions answered? Probably not.

Questions are answered in different ways: specific or general, factual or opinionated or very imaginative. Questions are also answered shortly or widely, simply or WOWly.

There are many ways of answering questions. So, how will you answer this question? –

What is the hardest question? And one clarification, do you know the answer to the answer? And if you do, then what is the answer? What if you don’t? Is not knowing the answer a big problem? If it is, then why is it a big problem? Is having a big problem a problem or just something to be ignored?

You know, answering these flibbertigibbet questions made my brain explode. But what could be the answer?

It is very hard to get the answer.

That’s it! Now I get it. Answering the question is very hard and that’s the point of the question:

What is the hardest question?

Maybe the hardest question is:

What is the hardest question?

Now I’m done! But there’s another question:

What is the answer to the answer?

I am really going to freak out with these ???

Teacher gave us a prompt: “I am afraid of _____________________. “ I think, if teacher uses that as a prompt again, I’m going to put:

“I am afraid of question marks!!!”

– Daniela, 12

003. (an unfinished draft of an unfinished story)

Here’s a 15-minute quickwrite output from a 13-year-old.

red smoke2

I’ve been here on this world for a few hours, walking. I overshot, missed my mark, and now I’m lost, here in this strange world. I didn’t know I’d be stuck here, but I’d just wanted to be alone. And now I am, mostly.

I glance back at the two wisps of red smoke trailing behind me. These are my pets – figments. Usually they’d be thoughtforming into something that could get me out of here, but something seems off in this world.

Far behind us is a black dot in the horizon, silhouetted against the murky orange sky and empty silver sand. My tessership. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, it just suddenly stopped working. I’m already a long distance away, and I’m still in this endless desert of grey sand. I need to find a tesseract, a wrinkle in space and time. All worlds have them, a doorway into Dreamspace.

My figments suddenly appear as flowing smoke on my shoulders, whispering wordlessly. They’re scared. Scared of what?

I try to listen to any sounds beside the crashing of waves in the distance, but hear nothing. I feel something’s following me.

I quickly shape my figments into wings and take off, flying a good distance into the air.

Then, I see it.

A hulking brown creature in the horizon, with no eyes and a gaping jaw. Six clawed legs and matted fur dripping with some liquid, the creature seems to teleport, whizzing and zig-zagging towards me. I raise my hands and my wings turn back into smoke, which I breathe in.

I yell, and a whirling torrent of thought smoke shoots towards the creature, distracting it.

I run towards the sound of waves. The ground suddenly gives way, and I fall. Twisting, I see a glimpse of lavender sea below me, dark red sky above me, the grey cliff I fell from, and the pale orange sliver of moon up above.

I slam into the waters that engulf me, cool and…breathable?

My vision starts to cloud, and the last thing I see is a violet glowing symbol.

I open my eyes, breathing heavily. Closing my eyelids, I try to return to my mind. Everything is intact, from the domed glass ceiling to my many black monitors glowing softly red.

My tessership is gone, and in its place is a glowing violet thoughtthread, forming a letter T

The symbol of the Tangler, the most known Dreamspace outlaw.

She’s locked me out of Dreamspace.

But first, a personal note on process and product:

Children who have attended any of my classes or workshops would tell you that grammar and spelling are the least of my concerns when they are writing drafts or doing 2-minute talks. Content always comes before form, I tell them. So we blabber, quick-write, free-write, list down, list around, make mind maps, think out loud, share in hushed whispers, blurt-out, draft. Draw and doodle, too, if they want.

When I ask them to write, a neatly-written grammatically-perfect single sentence (even if it’s compound-complex) is no match to a hodgepodge of ideas or a consciousness stream scribbled across a half or whole page. At least for me. Oftentimes, there’s bound to be more effective and affective thoughts in the latter. Because that is what we strive for. To squeeze out the words from our brains (and hearts, of course), let them flow through our arms, to hand holding pen or pencil. To drip-out if they don’t flow – onto paper, for eyes to see, for others to share, and then back through wherever vein or nerve it traveled through.

And then we go on, exploring.

Every now and then, a group of those scribbled lines take the form of neatly-written, (acceptably) grammatically-correct fluent narratives. Because later in the process, grammar and spelling and structure become a necessity (instead of a target) to ultimately fulfill the goal of sharing effective and affective word-thoughts. First drafts become second, or third, or fourth drafts. The initial jumble of words find their places among new versions and revisions. Ramblings and imaginings and feelings become writings.

Here are some of those, from a few brave souls who shared a few summer hours together in May 2014. They make me proud. – TesD


Dear Reader,

Some things are never late. Those happen precisely when they are meant to. (Thanks, Gandalf.) Like this site, for instance. In the following days, one post at a time (in no particular order), this site will be home to a collection of poetry, essays, stories and other stuff created by a motley crew of brave young souls who shared a few summer hours together in May 2014.


On behalf of the 15 talented young people whose work you will see on this site, WELCOME to QUICKWRITES and more! – TesD