Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Oven House: Synecdoche Essay

It was an old door. Bound by rusty, loose hinges and rotted out wood, iron nails that barely had a purpose anymore, bent and twisted so out of shape they were more Tetanus hazards than hardware. Yet despite it all, the big sheet of aging maple with two dead bullets buried at its center still remained in place.

That door had weathered a lot of storms in its time, ones of the sky and of others. The others are what wear it down the most, they are always blowing through it's chipped paint frame. Sometimes that door is left wide open, the cool air coming in to push the hot air out, or as much as it can. There was a lot of hot, suffocating air behind that door. Other times the door shut and locked, a barrier between a house and the rest of the world.

Often the door is opened with careless swings, big and wide, the brass little knob warmed to the fingers grasping it; those times are in the day. But then evening comes and cold makes the tumblers sticky only to be nearly ripped off the hinges with a single thrusting motion, the knob smeared in skin oils and sweat and the friction of a too-tight wedding ring burning heat on the brass. This was contrary to soft and gentle push received after midnight, and again before dawn, It was where the knob shook timidly, no warmer a touch than the night frost already made its metal, later razor scuffs and blood wedged in fingerprints patterns find their way on the brass. They will be rubbed off to prepare for the first careless swing of morning when the evening's hot air can start to go away.

Friday, October 24, 2014

To the Attempts of "Lightening Up'': Angry Letter Essay

Dear My Loving Mother and Father,

   I understand fully that it is in you two's best interest that I am happy and healthy in my childhood, I am fully and totally aware of that. However, there is a piece to this parental behavior that I must make clear is a frustrating one in my eyes, and this behavior is the one of touching my things without my forewarned knowledge and/or consent.

   It has been, since I was very little, that I have liked to place personal belongings in specific places to enhance my own environmental comfort. Although when tampered with, can leave me rather frustrated and distraught. I place things where I place things because I want them there, not because I am "too busy" to move it or am "too lazy", it is simply that I thought no more a convenient and appropriate spot for those objects to be. There is also the fact of how I remember quite clearly the particulars of where these belongings have been place.

   If something of mine is to be borrowed without my knowing, I would appreciate if it were to be placed back from where you had taken it. Otherwise, to be in my shoes and come home from school (being the first one in the house after a five hour period roughly) only to see objects moved out of place leaves me question what might have occurred while the house was kept unattended. You two, of all people, know I am a very anxious person with a overactive imagination to say the least about it and would prefer not to feel obligated to rummage the house in attempt to discover what might have been stolen from us. Not to mention the two people in which this high leveled anxiety was inherited, cough cough yourselves, therefore meaning you may and should sympathize with what, through experience I have learned, appears crazy to most outsiders.

  This I have described is only a last resort, however, because ultimately what I am wanting of is for my belongings not to be touched without my permission overall. That is most candidly what I desire. It is not enjoyable to get back from summer camp to find my closet rearrange, or my toiletries awkwardly placed at the bottom drawer of our vanity. These things bother me greatly, and I am deeply sorry if this comes across as a form of "sass" to you, that is not intentional, all that is intentional is me trying to get my point across. At this point in my letter, you are probably associating me with Francis (Psycho) from the movie Stripes, honestly I do not blame you. I must sound like him, and also much like him I probably need to "lighten up" as the famous quote goes, yet that is not an easy task without your cooperation. Thank you for listening.

Love, Your Daughter,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Timed Prompt and Post Script

It was Christmas Eve, fog stuck to the tarmac at Lindbergh Field. I was waiting for a man with a red baseball cap. I never knew his name, never saw his face, all I knew him by was that red cap.

I hate being out so late, the cold winter stung your cheeks and and froze your breath, not to mention being alone at night is where most people die in horror movies. That was a big part of it too.

A few minutes ticked by and I was getting nervous. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye a splotch of red appeared in the endless sea of grey mist. He was here.

I swallowed, my throat stinging from the icy air. He walked to me, the spot of red floating towards me, a phantom in the night. "Hello," I called, a crack to my voice breaking the syllables. I was granted no response, only red the bobbing forward. "You have what I asked for?"  Again, no response, but now footsteps could be heard, loud and heavy. Next, a white trash bag I could see in his hands. That was my answer.

Abruptly, he stopped just before the moon's glow could reveal his features, and plopped the bag before my feet. "Everything's here," he told me, "everything on the list."

"Oh, thank you very much!" I praised, a little shaky. "How much much do you want? I don't have much, but I promise I'll repay you-"

No need," the capped man said, "there is no charge."

I was in shock. "Thank you sir, thank you! You are a saint, truly! You are in my blessing, Mr...?"

He dove his hands into his coat pockets, and rose his chin. "Nick." He grinned. "Call me Nick." The man stepped back into fog and was gone, even the bright, red cap vanished in seconds.

The bag and myself were all that remained. I bent down and looked inside; it was filled with toys, toys for the kids. "Thank you, saint Nick. Thank you, and Merry Christmas."

Post Script:

In the article The Plot Sickens by Fanny Howe, Howe speaks of her writing assignment being the same one we used in class. Every student was giving the same first two sentences to work with and limited time to see what the the individuals could come up with. In result of Howe's prompt in her class, she came to the conclusion that most of the pieces written were dark and/or left with out resolution to the plot line. Another thing Howe mentioned was the lack of "heroism" to the protagonists, or in better words one could say "likability" to them. She then went on to express why she believed this to be as it was, saying that it due the cultural aspects of society today and how it is affecting young teens. However, reading this article in comparison to my own piece, I must say that my story very much goes against the points she makes in her article, not only resulting in a clear ending to what was happening with the mysterious entry, but also without violence or crude drama. So in conclusion, I would say that I do not see Howe's speculations as true to the extensive extremes she believes there to be.    

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blind Dates: Points of View Essay

Is that her? I think so..

Is that him? God, I hope it's not. 

It must be! She looks just how she was described, no, better.

Why do friends try to set each other up? Maybe I like to be alone. Maybe I want to be alone. Forever. Like I've been so far and probably always will be... I'm not bitter.  

She looks so beautiful! I hope I don't make a mess of this; say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing. I'm sure I won't. I just have to relax. Just relax. Ah, she's coming!

At least he got a good table.  

Here we go. So nervous!

Let's just get this over with already. 

Say hello. Say good evening. Say something! Come on, speak already! "Hi! You're Amy's friend, right? So nice to meet you; you look lovely. My name's Wesley. You can call me Wes."

I most certainly will not.

"And you?"

"Kasey." Is he gonna shake my hand? I think he's gonna- Yup, there it is. Aaaannnddd, jeez his hand is sweaty! 

Her hands are ice cold! But you know what they say; cold hands, warm heart.

Ha, nice manicure you got there!

I bet her's is the kindest of them all!

Pretty sure he hasn't blinked once since I got here. He's not like got some disorder, does he? No, he speaks good and acts, um, I don't know. I don't think Amy would force me to go on a date with a crazy person though.  

What do I say now? What am I supposed to do? Think! Think!

Oh! "Shall we have a seat?"  

"...uhh," Are those rolls I see? "Sure!" 

Ooh, these chairs are pretty comfy too. Okay, I guess I'll stay a little bit. 

Next, what do I do? Well at this point most people usually start a conversation. Hmm, how to start a conversation... "So, Kasey, share with me a little about yourself."

Must I? Personally, I would prefer to sit in silence and eat if it was up to me. But he's gonna keep staring at me if I don't say something. Ugh. "I'm a bartender, but I'm working to be a lawyer, and what else-"

A lawyer wow! She must be super smart!

"-I like to ski, surfing, running, volleyball-"

Sports! Where am I supposed to interject with similarities to her passions if they all required the one thing I cannot do!

"-and music-"

"W-w-wait a minute. You like music? I like music too! What kind of music do you like?

Maybe if I'm brutally honest I can scare him off. I mean, the kid's wearing a sweater vest, I'm sure he's just as prim and proper as the stereotypes say. "I like punk music, heavy-metal, head banging and spiked boots and black hair dye. That stuff." 

What an interesting taste! Very unique, edgy; I'm intrigued. "Fascinating! I prefer jazz music."

"Mmm hmm."

"And the occasional hip-hop."

"I'm sure you do." He's actually picking up on my sarcasm, isn't he?

I need to leave a lasting impression now. Maybe express that I have some cool talent? "I beat-box too-"

Apparently he's not.

"-would you like to hear it?"

In the name of all that is good in this world, no. 

I really hope I can actually do this.

Please don't do this. Please don't do this. Oh my god, you're gonna do this. You're doing this. You're an idiot. 

I think I'm doing good! You go, Wes man! Bringin' the funk! See you got around the whole sports and smarts thing! And look she agreed to come, you must have done something well. I just wish I knew what.

I gotta get out of here. 

I hope this never ends.

Who would've put me with this freak of nature?

Who would pare me with this someone so out of my league?

That's what I will never understand about blind dates.      

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Act Play

Setting- Middle o' Nowhere Land

Characters- bus driver (non-speaking role)1, bus driver 2, workaholic, that family, the guy with allergies, the old lady, the crazy person, snobby chick
Scene(The scene starts with all the characters sitting in what would be staged as a bus-like seating arrangement, quickly running through each of the characters entrances for the audience to view them individually first hand. Workaholic enters the bus in a business suit with brief case, a cellphone and a Bluetooth multi-tasking both talking and texting at once. The family gets on, they look cookie-cutter stereotypical, the kids being frustrating and/or bickering with each other, the parents are as dorky as it gets. The man with allergies enters, tissues overflowing from his pockets, coughing, sneezing, hacking up mucus, etc. The older woman steps on, she wears a hand knit looking sweater cross necklace and glasses with her tiny purse clutched tight to her. The crazy man enters the bus, his clothes are mis-matched and habits consist of darting his eyes left to right and murmuring to himself. The stuck-up woman gets on the bus, she wears expensive looking yet gaudy clothes and is reapplying lipstick as she walks. The bus driver will be kinda quiet and tired looking, does not appear very awake, and keeps pulling out a pink/purple pill bottle  The bus driver passes out at the wheel, and the bus crashes into a tree.)
(everyone jerks foreword abruptly)
Workaholic(nearly drops the cell phone in his hands) What the hell was that?!
Old Lady: Oh, dear! What in heavens just occurred! It nearly scared me half to death. 
Father(stands up) (cheesily dramatic voice) I think we crashed!
Snobby Chick: Crashed!?
Allergies Guy(sneezes rather loudly) 
Daughter(tugs on mother's sleeve) Mommy, what happened?
Son(also to mother) (not sounding frightened as much curious) Are we gonna die? 
Crazy Man(manic hysteric laughter in background, not done in reaction to anything any of characters said, just laughing to himself) 
(confused, uncomfortable, and weirded out glances are shot at crazy man)  
Mother(stands up and notices the driver has not moved) (turns to husband) Sweetums, I'll go check out the driver. (gets up from her seat and inspects the unconscious driver) Ooh my! It looks like someone has a little bump on their head! Oh, and what's this? (finds the bottle of pills in his pocket) Benadryl. 
Allergies Guy: So he fell (cough 2x) a-(cough)-sleep at the- (cough 3x, inhale, cough, inhale, cough 2x) wheel and then (hacking)-hit his head in the crash and (cough 4x, clear throat, sniff nose) 
Snobby Chick: But what about the bus?!
Old Woman(speaking from outside to in) Well I'm no mechanic, but I'd say this thing is busted to entirety.  
(everyone rushes outside to see the damage)
Workaholic: No no no no! This can't happen now! If I don't get back to the office in an hour I'm crucified!
Old Woman: I was on my way to see the grand kids. They were so excited to see me, and grandma only gets to visit a few times a years. I don't get out of the house as much as I use to, you know.
Snobby Chick: Excuse me, I had a party to go to! I'd say far more important than a job, or some bratty kids! Those are everywhere, but this night was supposed to be once in a life time.
Old Woman: Well that was rather impolite, young lady. 
Snobby Chick: Bite me. 
Son(bites snobby chick's leg)
Snobby Chick: Ow! Get off me you little-
Father: Whoa there, that's my son you're talking to.
Snobby Chick: Well your son, (say "son" in disgust) just took a bite out of my flesh! And I don't have to listen to you anyway, I can do whatever I want.
Mother(trying not to loose her cool) Hun, I would suggest if you knew what was best for yah, that you would not talk to my husband like that. 
Snobby Chick: Well at least your husband is worthy of even having me speak to him.
Mother: (loosing her cool) Cover your eyes kiddos, (rolls up sleeves) it's about to get pretty ugly.  
Allergies Man: Stop kicking up all the dust! It's making me- (sneeze two or three times)  
Workaholic: Would you please shut up, I'm trying to make a call!
Snobby Chick: It's not gonna work, we got no service.
Father: Well there has to be some way to contact someone! Does anyone have ideas?
(the group goes silent)
Crazy Man: (mumbling quietly, as he has in the distance the whole time)
Father(to crazy man) What is it man! Speak up! Anything you say could be helpful in getting us home!
Crazy Man: (looking at father, then others now staring at him as he is about to speak) (says nothing but some squawking and random gibberish) 
Workaholic: (sarcastic) Ah yes, because asking a man with no brains to speak always leads to the answer! 
 (all start fighting again) 

Allergies Guy: (coughing entirely through speech ->) Maybe... we should... (coughing becomes too much and he doesn't finish speaking) (is drowned out by the noise of fighting people anyway)
Old Woman(yelling above the arguing voices) All of you, quit your gabbering!
(everyone shuts up)
Old Woman: Thank you. (starts inspirational speech, background music slowly fades in to be present at the end, others reacting, speaker's voice clear and dramatic sort of) Now I know we have our differences, our own ways of thinking and acting, that at this very moment some of you may want to kill each other, and I understand that. Back in nineteen sixty-t-
Workaholic(irritated) Come on lady, let's get to the point!
Old Woman: (scowls at workaholic, then expression fades as she gets back on track) Anyway, my point is that. There is one thing we have in common folks, and that is our want and desire to get out of here. I may just be a small wrinkled lady on my own, but as one mind of all of ours, we could accomplish something. We could get out of here, but to do this, we're going to have to work together. 
Now who's with me?
(All characters slowly join. In exact order, it goes as follows in dialogue, a few second between first few and last one, following an arched motion of speech.)
Allergies Guy(sneezes, wipes nose with sleeve) You know what guys, (sneezes again and turns to others) I think she's right. Fighting isn't gonna get uh- uh- uh- ('US' mid sneeze, wipes nose again, nasal inhale) anywhere. (turns to old woman) I'm in.

Father: Me too.

Mother: Sounds good to me dear!

Son/Daughter: We wanna help to-o!
Crazy Guy: Yaaaaaa!

Workaholic: Eh, why not. Without wifi I'm screwed alone. I'm in.       
Snobby Chick: (thinking pause, sigh) Alright.

Old Woman: See, isn't this wonderful? All of us joining together like this, it's reminder that not everything is lost in this world. Now let's get to wor- 
Daughter: Mommy! Mommy! I see another bus! 
Mother: What sweetie?
Daughter(points down the road) Look!
(everyone turns and looks offstage, bus noises are made, door sound, man walks out from stage left)
Bus Driver 2: Morning folks, looks like quite the crash you've all been in now. Don't worry we're here to pick you up.
Old Woman: Why, thank you very much sir. But may I ask, how did you find us?
Bus Driver 2: Ah, when we got no response through the bus radio. We bus drivers can communicate through radios like truckers do. When this unit made no response to my call, I asked our operator to send me this here bus's route. Just drove until I found you. 
Workaholic: Well that was anti-climatic.

Snobby Chick: You're telling me. Welp, all this touching, children's movie plot stuff has made me thirsty. Who wants some coffee? 
(simultaneously) Workaholic: Yup! /Allergies Guy: Some nice, hot liquid would be good for my throat. /Mother: Coffee would be lovely! /Father: Mmm hmm, now we're talking! /Crazy Guy: (nods head rapidly) /Old Woman: I wouldn't mind a cup for myself.

(all walking off stage where the bus is supposed to be)

Daughter: Mommy, what's coffee?

Mother: Oh, it's an adult drink, honey.

Daughter: Like the bahrk-ardy stuff you keep under the bed?

Mother: Shh, not now honey. (patting daughter's head)  We can talk about this another time alright?

Daughter: Okay.

(as they finish walking off stage, lights go down)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Three Peer Takaways

"60 Seconds...Or Not..." by Francesca Maciejko- In the few words of this wonderfully written, laugh out loud narrative, Francesca is able to clearly capture how it feels to be undeniably consumed by an urge, and hers being, well, dental hygiene. This one's a great read for sure!

"A Father's Love" by Lakynne Sargent- This story is everything it sounds, yet so much more. A Father's Love is a beautifully descriptive and detailed piece, with a startling twist ending that you will not see coming.

"Do I Look Okay?" by Nicole Nagle- Nicole's self deprecation was the cutest piece of writing I've read in a while. This funny, light-hearted description of her "greatest fear" that I'm sure many teenage girls can sympathize with. It's a super funny story every reader will enjoy.