Friday, March 27, 2015

"Justice" by July Third

Biographies don’t do a person justice.  Listing off things I have done while someone else takes their time to write it all down, twisting my words to make sense to them. 

Interviews don’t do a person justice. Millions could watch me from their televisions as I answer “deep” scripted questions, and then feel as if they knew me. Watching me to waste their time, barely paying attention. Five minutes afterwards I would be forgotten until the next time they heard my name. 

Grades don’t do a person justice. I can tell you I have spent too long studying for tests that I won’t ever be able to understand. I can tell you I never read that English book but somehow crafted the best essay you have ever read. Kids look around the classroom and “know” who is smart from judging off the number in the teachers book, but have any of them had a chance to ask who puts in the most effort? 

Public speaking doesn’t do a person justice. I could talk all day about nothing and entertain you more than I would if I was told to give a presentation. The list carries on but if I continue, the repetition is too much for someone as impatient as I to handle. 

Writing does a person justice. Writing is the time to let your thoughts flow and to convince someone your point without ever feeling rushed. You can hear my voice through writing and my personality flow through every word I chose. I have not said a single “fact” about myself but you can understand me better than you could through an interview or a conversation. 

You are hearing my thoughts when you read my writing. You are hearing them inside your own head and picturing me. Without knowing it you have created an idea of me. Just from my writing. I never said, I was born July 3rd, 1999. I didn’t need to because those facts aren’t as important as my thoughts. You may not know that my favorite color is the heather grey that’s painted on my bedroom walls, but then again, you never ask such a trivial question, when there’s so much more to learn. Who wants to learn my favorite meal when I could share my thoughts on the world? I don’t want to repeat myself, you know how I dislike that- yet did it ever occur to you that you pictured me and my voice while you read this in your head and you now understand me without even knowing my name? 

Writing does a person justice.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

"The Writing Center Family" by JK Rowling

After being accepted into Advanced Composition last year, I was excited to be a part of the Herndon Writing Center and to get more involved in my school. However, my excitement quickly changed into concern on the first day of class. It was sixth period and I started to become anxious walking down the English hallway.  My mind began to fill my head with nerve wracking thoughts. I started to think about how smart all the other tutors were going to be and how much they love writing. I didn’t want my writing to be compared to theirs and have it look like I didn’t belong there. It wasn’t long for these worries to float away. 

By the end of the class I was completely at ease and walking out the door with a smile on my face. I learned that the Writing Center was a safe place for me to share my writing and place I could go for encouragement. It was refreshing to be in a room with students that had the same interest as me. What I love most about the Herndon Writing Center is how welcoming the Writing Center family is, and I truly mean family. Just after my first class I felt a sense of belonging and like I was finally a part of something in my school; it was great to be a part of a team. Every tutor is happy to be tutoring (including me), creating a positive environment that I look forward to coming to everyday.

"The Heart of Winter" by Catfish

We were the first snow. We saw it all coming into place beside ourselves and recognizing each other's fragile beauty, we fell down together. Somehow being both graceful and awkward, you were unique. And me, with my slipping slickness, trying so desperately hard to be cool, I found my snow angel. Together we were pure, not dirtied by past romances, we were evergreen. This chastity though, also meant that we had a fair amount to learn when it came to being with each other. Sometimes we were unintentionally mean, like shards of an icicle, frigid and jabbing at our sides. At other points, we took it too fast and we rolled into an avalanche, where we were temporarily flurried apart. We then had to trudge our way back north, through a slush that changed our temperatures, but only for a moment as we soon found our frosted hearts again. Blanketed, under sheets of ice, we sparkled. Creating a prism that onlookers would hail, we briskly skated through our time together, but as the seasons changed, we inevitably would melt. You’ll forever stay frozen in my memories though, a wintry remembrance of the virgin snow.

"Awkward" by Mr. Ret S. Im

Note: This piece is based on Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style. Writers were given a very basic plot and then asked to tell a story in a certain style. Marsha has chosen to write an awkward story.

Hi. You’re pretty. Umm, I didn’t mean to say that. Haha. He he. Oh. Umm, my name’s Heuuuurreghhhhh. It’s kind of weird to say. You have to roll your r’s. And some people can’t do that, so when you ask them to, they feel bad and the conversation stops and there’s a really long silence where we stare at each other. Haha. Isn’t that funny? No? Okay. Umm, so uh, thisiswhathappened last Wednesday. Sorry, sometimes I slu-, uh, never mind.

There was this really long corridor I was walking through, and there were other people walking in the hallway as well. I can’t tell you their names, because I don’t know them. I’m really bad with names,by the way. I once called a guy named Paul by the name of Steven. He got upset. Umm, so I was walking, and there were some people with me, and we were really quiet because we didn’t know each other.

I reached the end of the hallway, and then I walked down another hallway. Some of the same people also walked down the hallway. I couldn’t tell if they were following me or not. The thought made me uncomfortable.

The Cafeteria. Umm, that’s where I was going. Haha. That wasn’t funny, I don’t know why I did that. Maybe it’s because you’re pretty. I mean, oh never mind! I was going to the cafeteria. Because I wanted food. Yes. I got in a  line with some other people. Some of the people who were in the hallway with me also got in the line. I was almost sure they were following me. I felt uncomfortable and I started to sweat, which was really bad because I was really close to the other people in the line. They started to give me weird looks.

I wanted food. That’s why I was in the cafeteria. You probably already knew that. But the food was white that day. Isn’t that weird! Haha! I’m miserable right now. You’re not pretty. No, I mean you are, but I’m not noticing it. Yes. The food was white. Okay.
Everyone in the lunch line was staring at each other awkwardly. I really should stop saying the word awkwardly because that’s the title of this piece. You weren’t supposed to know that. Ah I gave it away. Well, this is awkward. Shoot!

So I wanted food, but it was white. Uncomfortably so. I didn’t know if I wanted to eat it or not. I mean, it’s not supposed to be white, but the lunch lady was staring at me expectantly. But I didn’t want to eat it. I didn’t want to buy something I wasn’t going to eat. Well, besides cars and other stuff, but that’s no the point. Umm, where was I? Yes. I bought the food anyway, because the lunch lady had worked so hard and no one was buying it. I walked out of the lunch line, and realized I was the only person in the cafeteria who had the white food. Everyone was staring at me. I started sweating more. I don’t like sweating. I tried to wipe the sweat off my brow, but accidently sent the tiny beads flying straight onto some poor girls pb and j. She looked at me disgusted. I felt bad.

I’m going to move forward to Thursday. I hope you don’t mind. Well, it’s my story. That sounded mean. I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant. Umm. Would you mind putting some kind of bag over your face for the rest of the story? I just get really nervous around pretty people. Not that I find you pretty. I mean, I do, but, uuuhhhhh, I’m miserable. Could you please put a bag over your head? No? Okay, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

So I was looking at the school newspaper. I didn’t really want to do it, but I did it because the newspapers editor sat right next to me for Stinger and if I didn’t read it, he would give me angry looks. And I really not fan of tension. I mean, I’m really not a fan of fiction. Tension! Ohhh. So, I was reading the newspaper, and I saw that there were a lot of people writing to the editor. They were some pretty mean comments.  He leered over my shoulder and saw what I was reading and asked me if I agreed with any of the comments. I did, so I told him. I immediately regretted it. We sat in silence for a while after that.

That’s the end of my story. I hope it helped. Uhh, do you have a ride home? You do? When will it get here? A while. Okay, we can just sit here then. Umm, nevermind.

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Wonder" by Marsha Mellow

Note: This piece is based on Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style. Writers were given a very basic plot and then asked to tell a story in a certain style. Marsha has chosen to write a  story based on wonder.

One day, you will walk into the fiction aisle of the little bookstore two blocks from your house or of your school library that always smells faintly of school food, only to find it empty.


It might be absentminded or it might be pressing, but you will wonder why

Maybe you will find some greater meaning to the absence. You will sit in the noisy library of your school but everything will seem silent as you stare,

As you wonder.

You might come to the conclusion that nothing fiction is truly fiction, not really. You might believe in aliens and spaceships and you might believe in love. Either way, you will think on this, you will think that every story and every character was real through a pair of eyes that saw a whole different world.

You might ache for the peace they must have found in a world of their own but mostly you’ll ache for their ability to craft something ‘fiction’ from a world that sometimes seems all too real.  

You might deduce the impossibility of the word ‘fiction’ or you might just ponder the idea that the quietly efficient librarians are re-organizing the shelves. Maybe they’ve found a better way than ‘fiction’ and ‘nonfiction’ to categorize books because, after all, there's a little fiction in everything, isn’t there?

You’ll ponder the contradiction in your thoughts and you’ll chew on the idea that maybe fiction means something different to everyone. You’ll speculate if there’s more to the word, if feelings could be fiction. You’ll imagine that ‘enlightened’ must be.  

You will hear murmuring as you arrive at this pensament. One will wonder why you are staring and the other will wonder why you aren’t in class.

You will want to tell them that it does not matter, that both of their questions are missing the point. You might wonder what the point is, loosely, almost foreshadowing.

You’ll walk past them, leaving your aisle of wonder, choosing to ignore their probing eyes.

The same feet will carry you away, you will walk absentmindedly through the hallways, you might end up in the cafeteria but you’ll probably wander into the bathroom.

The mirror will stare at you.

You will see that you are a written sentence.

There will be things that you might notice, your hair, the slope of your mouth, and the curve of your cheek

It will puzzle you and you might wonder if you are fiction.  

Something will move behind you through the reflection. It’s your friend, a supporting character.

They’ll tell you something, urge you to follow.

You’ll be curious, so you will.

The book will end as the fire mesmerizes your eyes. The thoughts will burn slowly through your mind and you might wonder where you’ll be tomorrow. Maybe you’ll be in love or maybe you’ll secretly be an alien. The plot might change or maybe the underlying theme. You wonder what the author will do with you next.

It won’t matter

You sit, watch, and speculate,

You’ll wonder if you’re real

You’ll know that you are.

"On Board, but Not Really" by Cadence Sinclair

He invited me on his sailboat.
“Three days, and you’ll be changed forever,” he urged,
Beaming with summery promise.
Hesitation lay at the tip of my tongue.
Who wants to be stranded in the middle of the sea?
But I glanced up and immediately submitted to his hopeful, eager eyes.
“My schedule should be free.”
Really, I would have cleared it in a heartbeat.
Onboard only a week later.
A breezy, luminous, always-will-remember day,
In my floral sundress that matched the motion of the wind.
Heart racing because the waves were choppy, vengeful.
He steered us westward for hours upon hours, until the sun burst into flames at the horizon,
And nothing else mattered.
All the troubles in the world were smoldered in that sunset’s blaze,
And the leftover ashes floated up into the night sky to become the stars.
Those tragic cinders were actually little flecks of hope,
Much like humans.
Wherever we were, it didn’t matter.
Sitting so close, I ignored the chill that danced across my arms,
Only focusing on the way our sides were conjoined, the way my head drooped onto his shoulder,
Exhausted, yet wide awake,
And the way he was humming ever-so-softly.
Could have been a dream, but I doubt it.
As we swayed back and forth,
Back and forth, together,
Atop inky black waters with eternal depth,
I finally felt steady in this strange, unpredictable universe.
Suddenly I was a part of something far greater than my petty, shivering body.

Onboard, but not really.