Anna Snyder Creative Writing I/ Fall 2013 Brooke Smith 1/10/14
Reflection Paper This semester in Creative Writing, I have grown as a writer, learned how to better write short stories, poetry, and even novels, identified my strengths and weaknesses, and been given tips about grammar. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in this class, and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in writing. The most important thing this course did for me is enhance my writing skills. The most profound improvement to me has been in my characters. One of the tips Ms. Smith has given me pertaining to character development is to be subtle during some of it. Not all character development needs to be blunt; let the reader develop a bit of him or her in their own minds as well. But other times, the character needs to be outrightly developed, leaving no room for wondering. I would definitely say that this course has made me a much better writer. Before this course, I thought I was an avid writer, but now I realize that I did need some improvement. I’m very glad that I decided to take this course because it I love writing and wanted to make myself better at it. I think I have achieved that goal and I could not have done it without this class. Ms. Smith is a fantastic teacher and was with me every step of the way. My weaknesses as a writer include some minor issues with grammar, rushing a story, poetry, and wrapping up short stories. As far as grammar goes, I know most of the rules, but I was unclear on some. For example, before this class, I would put the number one instead of actually spelling it out in a story. Now I know that only large numbers should be abbreviated to just the number. Poetry is most definitely not my strong suit. I don’t like writing it; I’m more of a story and novel type of girl, where I have time and room to develop a story and the characters and a plot. Most poetry you see does not even include any of those elements, therefore poetry is not something I necessarily enjoy. That said, in this class I’ve developed my poetry skills a bit more and I cannot say that I did not enjoy the poetry unit. The length of stories and novels are not necessarily my strong suit either. I’m not very good at letting a story take its course in its time; instead I rush it along. I have gotten better at that in this class but it’s still something that could most definitely be improved upon. Short stories I have trouble with because I also don’t like having to have my stories... well, short. I like having as much time as I need to make my story and develop all of its aspects. That said, I do have strengths as a writer. I think I’m very good at grammar and spelling, making real and sympathetic characters, keeping up with the plot, and not letting any details get overlooked. I think my grammar skills are very good. I know how to appropriately use dialogue in stories, where to put commas and such, and I now know where to put colons and dashes. My spelling I think is good, too. I like using my spelling skills to put good vocabulary in my
stories and use unique words. My charactermaking skills, as I’ve said before, have grown significantly. I’ve learned how to make believable and real characters and I’ve put those skills to work in the short stories and novels I’ve written not only in this class but in my free time. I think I’m also good at keeping up with a plot line and not overlooking small details. For example, I keep up with the time in my stories. If I say it is noon in one scene, I’ll also tell you how much time has passed since that scene in the next. I think the most important lesson I’ve learned in this class is to never stop writing. Of course, there have been many other lessons I’ve learned, but this one is the most important to me. Ms. Smith has often told us to make time for writing, not just in this class, but outside of if, and after we graduate from not only high school but college, and for the rest of our lives. And I plan on doing just that. I’ve promised myself that I will never stop writing. Writing keeps my imagination intact and that is one of the most important things to me. It relieves stress and helps me keep in touch with myself and my characters. I hope I keep that promise I’ve made to myself and never stop doing what I love.
Partner Poem Sarah By Anna Snyder Born May 29th She likes to sing, and I’ve heard she’s quite good at it! Writing she likes, shopping she doesn’t. Purple’s the color, Meg Cabot’s the author. She’s come a long way, she’s a sophomore in high school! She likes curly hair and The Secret Circle on TV. Her favorite word is “okay,” which I guess is okay. She’s an interesting person, a real awesome girl.
Haiku Sequence Ants By Anna Snyder Busy, bustling Miniscule but powerful Rushing on their way Carrying supplies Forever quickly moving Back and forth they go Small, ferocious things Climbing up and down the bricks A long, endless trail
Observation Poem Trophies By Anna Snyder Grey, winding hallways Posters containing a desperate cheerfulness. Walking on grey and white cobblestones while listening to cars whiz by. Beautiful talent displayed behind glass enclosures. Haunting squeaks and bumps Freezing air hums softly; goosebumps rise on icy skin. Trophies display past and fading victories.
Multimeaning poem Wondering and Waiting By Anna Snyder Sitting alone All alone, waiting for life to return. The desperate mystery almost more than she can take. Wondering Counting time away Listening to ticking clocks Staring at days on the wall Waiting
Color Poem Brown By Anna Snyder Hurt, depressed Eyes desperate for hope. Puppy dog Inspired passion Johnny Cade Eyes the doorway to the soul Deep, dark, brown Deeply loved despite popular belief. Endless possibilities, insightful mind Loved, cared for, brown Given Dark Paradise Secrets, kept and let out Beautiful No emotion Mysterious Strong
Prompt (Sensory Poem) The Raspberry Pastry By Anna Snyder Slushy, icy streets and sidewalks. Snowflakes softly and quietly drift down. My nose is cold, I am hurrying down the sparsely populated street. Passing people who trudge slowly and carefully through the slush. My petticoat hems are wet with snow. Grey skies, at the ready to rain down more frozen moisture. Lighted houses are on display, with candles in the windows, cheerful and warm. Dusk is falling, but I have a craving. My stomach is aching with hunger. Finally, the destination! The bells on the door sing out cheerfully as I turn the handle and open the door. I feel the warm, delicioussmelling air meet my face, caressing it and warming it. My nose is filled with the delicious scents of a bakery. Big cakes, beautiful pies, cute cupcakes, warm muffins, and bread, fresh out of the oven. Pastries, stuffed with their sweet, fruit fillings. All of these delectable treats fill the displays. My mouth waters as I order my favorite. I take my raspberry pastry, bag it, and with a final goodbye, venture back into the cold. The cold air goes back to nipping at my nose. I long for the warmth of my house. After a cold, long trek, I reach my home. The warm and cheery atmosphere greets me. My cat rubs against my legs, welcoming me home. I make my way into the kitchen. The raspberry pastry is put on a plate. I go into the living room, putting wood on the coals. Soon I am sitting comfortably in my rocking chair. My cat sits at my feet. The fire is roaring. My taste buds rejoice with the long awaited raspberry pastry.
Ballad The Nightmare By Anna Snyder They promised me freedom, I was given chains. They promised me light, I was given darkness. They promised me opportunity, I was given reality. They promised me my dream, I was given a nightmare. Too good to be true. Freedom, light, opportunity, dreams. Dreams of supporting family, life, All crushed beneath my master's foot. This master, supposed to be my helper. Turns into a monster behind closed bedroom doors. My childhood and innocence snatched away. Taken. No hope of help. All help beyond my reach. I am a prisoner. A modern day slave of my master's disgusting pleasures. They promised me freedom, I was given chains. They promised me light, I was given darkness. They promised me opportunity, I was given reality. They promised me my dream, I was given the nightmare.
Song Lyrics You’re the Things That I wish Life Could Be By Anna Snyder To the tune of “Gone Gone Gone” by Phillip Phillips When you get all down and down, I'll try my best to lift you up and up, you up and up. I know life can be so hard, I've been there a thousand times, times before, yeah times before. I'll be here to listen, yeah I'll be here to listen, just sit me down, just sit me down. I'll listen here patiently, I love to listen patiently, while you pour, pour out your heart. I would love for someone to, yeah maybe treat me like I do. Because I know that life, isn't easy. Messy, tricky, and confused, it's hard to win, easy to lose. Never clean, never simple, yeah it's almost like a game, a game that’s very hard to play, a game that’s very hard to play. Lots of people have, solutions they say take the grind out of, out of our lives. But I’ve tried almost all of them, and I’ve found that the only thing that truly works, is lovin’ you. Honestly, that’s fine by me, it’s always done the trick for me. Because I know that life, isn't easy. Messy, tricky, and confused, it's hard to win, easy to lose. Never clean, never simple, yeah it's almost like a game, a game that’s very hard to play. A game that’s very hard to play. You’re the simple, you’re the easy, you’re the things that I wish life could be….
Short Story Tired By Anna Snyder I stared out my window, watching the rain pour down. It was one of those days. We all have those days when we just want to crawl into our room, into bed, turn off the lights, and blast our music through our headphones. “Cade!” Even through my blasting music, I detected my Mom screaming for me. I buried my head under my pillow and pretended not to hear. “Cade Bishop, did you hear me?!” There were fewer things I hated more than my mom’s voice. It grates on my ears like nails on a chalkboard. But I crawled out from under the covers, yanked my earbuds out of my ears, and opened my door a crack. Mom was standing in the hallway, her beady, brownishgreenish eyes glittering at me. Her stout arms were crossed across her stouter, short body. “What, Mom?!” “Get out here and help me! You know damn well you got chores to do!” I knew better than to protest. If Mom didn’t “pound obedience into me” Ron would. So I threw my iPod on my bed and began to walk out into the hall. But Mom stopped me in my tracks. She held out her hand, expecting something. I gave her a blank stare. “What do you want?” I asked. She slapped me across the face. My cheek stung and my eyes watered. “Don’t talk to me like that!” she hollered. She wiped her hand on her pants, as if I had left her with some sort of undesirable goo on her hand. “And I want your iPod!” I stared at her. There was no way she was taking my iPod. “Why?” I asked. “Because all you do is wander around the house, with those stupid earbuds stuck in your head! I want it gone!” “What... I...” I sputtered. I loved my music. It was the only thing that kept me going through the day. “Boy, if you you don’t march yourself in there and get me your damn iPod, I’m gonna get Ron to get it for me.” “No, Mom, please. I won’t listen to my music anywhere else but in my room. You’ll never see it again” I was cut off by a backhand that threw me against the wall. My cheek throbbed. “Okay! Okay, fine! If you don’t wanna give it to me, I’ll get Ron to get it by beating the hell out of you when he get’s home!” She spun on her heel and walked down the hall. “Wait! Okay, you can have it!” I called. “Shut up, Cade! Cry it to Ron!” she screamed. I threw my hands up in frustration. I ran my hand through my hair and slammed the door. I grabbed my iPod and laid down on my bed. Now I could only wait for Ron to get home. I could already feel the belt buckle tearing into my back and fists pounding into my arms and legs. I
pulled the covers over my head. The rain pounded on the roof, sounding comfortingly monotone. I lay there, knowing what was going to happen within the hour. Ron would stomp in, listen to Mom for about 10 seconds, get the belt, and throw my door open. I dreaded hearing the front door open. But I knew I couldn’t avoid it forever. It was coming. Ron was on his way home right now. I heard Mom on the phone, telling Ron what had happened. “...and he tried to hit me!” Mom was saying. Her voice was thick with fake tears. I felt anger boil up inside of me. I was powerless. Ron would believe her, and that would be it. “Okay, but hurry!” Mom said. She sounded desperate, as if she was talking to a 911 dispatcher while I had her by the neck, pressing a knife up against her throat. I heard her hang up the phone and laugh quietly. I was furious. I was also completely helpless. The more I argued or complained or protested, the harder Ron would hit me. The reason I hated Ron so much was because I was like him. Even though he was my actual Dad, I never called him “Dad.” I didn’t want to even acknowledge the possibility that I might turn out like him one day. Ron had been beat by his dad when he was little, so he had turned out just like him. Why should that chain break with me? That thought terrified me. We had the same brown hair and deep brown eyes. We both got angry easily and tended to take out our anger with on other people. I hated being his son. I didn’t want to be connected with him in any way, but I was. I hated that with everything inside of me. I didn’t want to be like my father. I was hungry. It was almost eight o’clock and I hadn’t eaten dinner. It wasn’t like Mom was gonna cook it. I can’t remember the last time I saw her doing something productive. I opened my dresser and rummaged around. I kept a hoard of chips and other wrapped food in the top drawer, because there were lots of nights I didn’t feel safe going out of my room to get some real dinner. Not that there would be anything in the fridge that hadn’t spoiled two months ago. I heard the front door open. My heart jumped in my throat and I caught my breath. I didn't know what to do. So I just stood there, like an idiot. “Cade!” Ron roared. Honey, I’m home! Ron kicked my door open. He was drunk and smelled like it. He looked around, until his drunken eyes landed on me. I was filled with fear, in spite of myself. I cowered as those black eyes fell upon me. He didn’t waste any time. He pulled his belt out of the loop holes and came towards me. “Take your shirt off,” he growled. “Ron, please” He backhanded me and I fell to my knees. He ripped my shirt roughly off my back and I felt the first bite of the belt strike my back. The first few strikes are always the worst. After a while, your back gets numb and you can’t feel it as much. But as much as you try to block out the pain, the first few hits you just can’t ignore. I cried out in pain, in spite of myself. Ron hit me over and over again, until I felt my back become bruised and bloody. But with the blood comes the numbness, so I welcome that feeling. I felt the pain subside a bit, although I still felt the blows. After Ron got tired of that, he stood me up and knocked me down. Before I could stop
myself, I landed square on my back. The carpet rubbed against the raw skin and I wanted to scream. But that would only give Ron more satisfaction, so I just bit my tongue. I prayed for part two to pass quicker than part one. Part two consisted of Ron switching the belt for his fists. He threw me against the wall and drove his closed hands into my arms and chest. He kicked my shins and yanked my hair. He rarely hit my face, except to slap me. If he punched me on my face, I couldn’t cover up the bruise. But I could wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Everytime I fell, Ron picked me back up and threw me against the wall. The beatings are lasting longer, I thought to myself. Usually they only last about 5 minutes, but this one was going on ten. I don’t know how much more I can take of this. But just when I thought I was going to pass out from the pain, it stopped. I fell to my knees, and instead of Ron picking me up again and hurling me against the wall, he just gave me a halfhearted kick in the ribs, laughing to himself. He walked across the room, opened the door, and walked out, closing the door behind him. He didn’t even take my iPod. I remained on my knees, breathless. My back’s numbness had been replaced with the low, throbbing burn. I could feel bruises on my arms, chest and legs beginning to form. Everything hurt. I moaned in pain as I tried to stand. I staggered and fell into the bookcase, hitting my head on one of the sharp corners. Fresh pain radiated through my already pained body. It all I could do to drop myself into bed. I wanted to sleep for a thousand years, waking up only when Mom and Ron were dead. Our “family” had always been like this. I know people who have this happen to them after good times. But then their parents get divorced, their mom marries a jerk, and he beats the crap out of them. But we never had a happier time. I remember the first time Ron beat me. I was six years old. But even before then, we were never happy. I used to go over to the nice old lady’s house next door and hide from my life, but then she died, and I had no place to hide anymore. I eventually fell asleep, hearing Mom getting the same treatment I had just gotten. I was tired of the beatings that were happening almost every night now. I was tired of going hungry every night, scared to go out of my room. I was tired of dreading hearing the sound of my front door opening. I was tired of this stupid house, filled with lies and hate and betrayal. I was tired of trying to explain the bruises my teachers asked about at school. I was tired of seeing that skeptical, sympathetic look on their face. I was tired of not being able to do simple things like running or playing basketball without limping because of the bruises Ron had left on my legs. Most of all, I was tired of being tired. I wondered if anyone else felt like that.
Horror Story Death’s Messenger By Anna Snyder “Mom!” I yelled. I had my laptop on my lap, looking at newmovies.com. On the screen was the newest horror movie, called, Death’s Messenger. “Can I go with Chloe to see this movie!?” Mom came out of the kitchen and into the living room. “What is it?” She peered over my shoulder, looking at the screen. I gestured towards the title. Below the title was a summary of the film along with the rating. Mom’s eyes trailed the words. I waited patiently until she was done. “What’s it rated?” she asked. I pointed to the rating that read PG13. She sighed and started back into the kitchen. “I don’t see why not as long as you don’t come running into my room complaining of nightmares.” I laughed. “No worries,” I replied. I grabbed my phone and texted my bestie. Hey, wanna go see Death’s Messenger this Friday? I pressed Send. My phone buzzed. Ahhhh, do we have to? That movie’s really freaky. Brad and Sophie went to go see that and they said it was was quite the scare fest. Awww don’t be a wimp. I wanna go! Ugh, if you insist. But I’m calling you when I wake up in the middle of the night screaming. I laughed and put my phone up. Mom called Mrs. Sanford, (Chloe’s mom,) and set up a time and meeting place. We were going to meet at Southpoint mall at 8:00 for the 8:45 showing. I was so excited! I loved horror movies and this one promised to be a doozy. But it was only Tuesday, and I had to wait three more days! The week seemed to drag by slower than the week before summer break. On Thursday night, I was taking a shower, like I do every night. I heard footsteps outside my locked bathroom door, and I called, “Mom? Could you put a bar of soap on the grocery list?” There was no reply. I didn’t think Mom had gotten home from work yet, but since there were footsteps, it must be her. “Mom!” I repeated. “Put a bar of soap on the grocery list!” No answer. Now nervous, I turned off the water, wrapped myself in a towel and opened the door. I looked out into the hallway. My dog was pacing back and forth in front of my door, whining. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mutsy! You haven’t had your dinner!” Mutsy wagged his ragged tail and smiled up at me. He ran towards the pantry, where his food was kept. I quickly fed Mutsy, anxious to get back into the warmth of the shower. I woke up out of a dead sleep that night to hear the footsteps again outside my door. I cowered under my covers, knowing that that sound was not a car going by or a plate in the sink shifting. My bedroom was at the end of the hall and it was getting closer, closer, closer. I wanted to shrink down under the covers and disappear. I heard my door creak open and I wanted to be anywhere but there. Light spilled into my
room from the hallway and fell upon the face of... my mom. “Mom!” I cried. “What are you doing? You scared the living daylights out of me!” She laughed. “I’m sorry, Harmony. I left my slippers in here and I needed to get them for tomorrow morning. You know how cold my feet get!” I stared at her. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out,” I grumbled. Mom chuckled and closed the door. I pulled the covers up to my shoulder and muttering threats under my breath, went back to sleep. When Friday came around, me and Chloe were very excited. It was opening night of the movie and we were seeing it in Imax 3D. I couldn’t wait to see it. By the time we got to the theatre, we were practically bursting. It was packed. Everyone was eager to get a good scare. Me and Chloe took our seats, put our 3D glasses on, and settled in. Mom and Mrs. Sanford were in a different theatre watching some old people’s movie. Half way through the movie, Chloe was practically in my lap. The main character of the movie was a little girl named Claire who was Death’s messenger. She went around to people’s houses and told them when and how they were going to die. For example, there was this middle aged woman named Angie whom Claire came to visit. She told Angie that she was going to die the next day in a car wreck, and sure enough, Angie was killed the next day when a semi tboned her on her side and she was killed instantly. The climax was when the main character, a little boy named Lucas, outsmarted Claire and Death. Claire told him he was going to die in a plane crash, and Lucas simply stayed home all day, avoiding any possible contact with planes. But in the process, he made Claire angry and Claire killed him herself. She snuck into his room at night and stabbed him with a butcher knife. The movie ended with her coming out into the hallway, holding the bloody knife. She walked up to Death and said, “It’s taken care of.” Then the screen goes black and credits roll. Me and Chloe walked out of the theatre a little paranoid. Something about that movie left everyone with an air about them that was sort of paranormal. But we ignored it the best we could and went home. The ride home was completely silent. Later, I was texting Chloe when she said, That movie was really freaky... I wish we hadn’t seen it. I have the worst feeling ever now. Pshhh I answered. But you’re just being silly. It’s just nerves after seeing that creepy little girl. She didn’t answer so I went to bed. It took me a while to get to sleep, but I did it. Chloe didn’t text me all weekend long. I suspected she was a little mad at me for making her go see that movie, but I didn’t think anything of it. She would cool down and it would all be okay on Monday. Anyway, me and Mom were going to the lake all weekend, and she made me turn my phone off so that I would be “in touch with nature.” A lot of hooey that was, but oh well. When I pulled into the car line on Monday morning, the flag was at halfmast. I parked my car in the student parking lot and walked into school. Chloe usually waited for me in the lobby and we walked to our first class together. But this was not the case that morning. She wasn’t there. I started getting a little mad. It was just a movie. It’s nothing to be that mad about. She
needs to get some nerves... The classroom was deafeningly silent. Kids were sitting at their desks, not saying a word. I was surprised. I took my seat and asked, Priscilla, the girl who sat next to me, “Why is everyone all depressed?” She stared at me as if I had three heads. “Didn’t you hear?” I leaned towards her. “No...” Tears filled her eyes. “Harmony, Chloe was murdered on Saturday night.” I stared at her, not comprehending. “What?” Tears spilled down her face. “Harmony, Chloe died!” Tears filled my eyes. “Wha... what... wait... how?” Harmony closed her eyes as if talking about it pained her. “ChChloe... she was murmurdered.” I broke down. I screamed and cried, sobs running through my body, completely taking over it. I woke up in the hospital. I had an IV stuck in my arm and there were beeping machines next to my bed. Mom rushed up to me. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry!” I stared at her. “Mommy, what happened to her...” Mom took a deep breath. “Honey, do you really want to know?” I nodded. I wanted to know. “Well hon,” she started. She took another deep breath. “First she was beaten unconscious with a hammer,” she started. “Then she was tied to her bed, and her throat and wrists were slit. She bled to death within an hour. After she died, she was stabbed 22 times. The police still don’t know who did it.” Well my reaction to that earned me another night in the hospital. I had to spend the night in the hospital to make sure I wouldn’t go into shock again. Mom spent the night in my room, sleeping in the chair in the corner. Around midnight, Mom went into the hallway, searching for the bathroom. I rolled over, trying to go to sleep. I heard the door creak open. I figured it was a nurse coming in to give me a sedative, so I ignored it. But I didn’t hear any footsteps coming into the room, so I rolled over. Instead of my nurse, a whole different picture met my eyes. It was Claire. Claire, with her stringy, long, brown hair. Claire, with her pale, pale skin and dizzying blue eyes. Claire, with her white, long nightgown, stained with blood. Most distinctively, Claire, with her long, bloody butcher knife. In the other hand, she had a rope and a hammer. I screamed with all of my might. I couldn’t take it. I yanked the IV out of my arm, and tried to run out the door. But Claire grabbed my arm and threw me onto the bed with a surprising amount of force. Her touch was cold and clammy. “I decided not to give you a warning, Harmony. You’re lucky.” Claire’s voice was deep and demonic. “I came to warn you last week, but Death stopped me. He told me to just get it done. We don’t have time for a warning. Chloe wants to see you right away” She grabbed me by my throat and threw me on the bed with surprising force. Something was making it so I could not move. My arms and legs felt like they had fiftypound weights
attached to them. Terror filled my mind and body, overcoming it. She laughed demonically and I felt the bite of the knife digging into my neck. It was so sharp that all I felt was pressure. Suddenly I could not breathe or scream anymore. I felt warm wetness dripping all down my neck and chest and I knew my windpipe was cut. Where is my mom?! I thought, terrified. Suddenly I saw Claire bring a hammer up over her head and bring it down with force that I knew would kill me... I woke up in a panic, sweat pouring off of my body. I took deep breaths, gulping in air. I sat there, huddled in my bed, trying desperately to convince myself that it was just a dream. Claire was not standing over me, killing me softly and slowly. I could breathe and move. I was not going to die. Chloe! I need to make sure of Chloe! I grabbed my phone and texted her. A minute later, my phone buzzed. What the heck do you want? It’s one in the morning! I laughed with relief and rolled over, trying to put the terrible nightmare out of my head.
Dead Celebrities Piece Old Friends By Anna Snyder Audrey Hepburn hurried down Churton Street. She was supposed to be meeting her good friend, Marilyn Monroe, at Bandido’s Mexican Cafe, but she was late. It was 8:00 pm, and she was supposed to be there at 7:45. She pictured Marilyn, sitting in a booth, patiently waiting, yet wondering where she was. Audrey disliked being late; she felt as if she was letting the person she was meeting down. Finally, Bandido’s came into view. Audrey pulled her coat tighter around herself and walked faster as the rain finally started, the bitterly cold wind blowing it sideways. Audrey breathed a sigh of relief as she stepped inside the comforting warmth of the restaurant. The delicioussmelling air flooded her nose and her stomach growled. She looked around the corner and but she didn’t see Marilyn. Well, she thought, Marilyn must be even later than I am. Audrey let the waitress lead her to a seat, where she sat down and took out her cell phone. There was an unread text message from Marilyn. Dearest Audrey, I am deeply sorry to tell you that I will not be able to make today’s dinner date. Arthur has come down with a terrible case of the flu. It is really most distressing, he is tossing about with fever. The doctor is coming soon. Even still, I feel awful for giving you such late notice. Please forgive me! Love Marilyn. Audrey was more worried about Arthur then she was angry. She texted Marilyn back and said, Dearest Marilyn, It is quite alright, I was late anyway! I do hope that Arthur feels better and I am glad you are staying home to take care of him. Please send him my regards. We will schedule another dinner date soon. Love Audrey. Audrey snapped her phone shut and decided that even though Marilyn was absent, she would still have dinner. She was hungry and a taco salad sounded delicious. A waitress came and asked what she wanted to drink. “Water,” she replied. She glanced about the restaurant. It was a bit scarce, as it was Tuesday night. Bandido’s was always packed on Fridays and Saturdays, but weekdays were always less busy. She got out her book and began to read: Becoming Jane, by Jane Austen. She was just getting wrapped up in her book, when she heard someone sit down in the booth in front of her. Slowly, she lowered her book, her deep brown eyes peeking above the top. Her eyes fell upon a handsome man with dark hair and eyes. Just as concern was rising in her throat, it disappeared; she recognized this man. A wide smile spread across her face. “Gregory!” she exclaimed. “Is it you?” A grin trickled over his face like water over a riverbed as he realized she recognized him. “Hello Audrey!” She rushed over to his side of the booth and gave him a hug. He scooted over and gave her room to sit. She sat. “Oh my goodness, I don’t know where to start! I haven’t seen you since Roman Holiday!” she bubbled. He smiled. “I know! It’s been so long. But I heard you were in Hillsborough for a while, and
coincidentally so was I. I was just headed to the Wooden Nickel and saw you through the window. So I decided to see if you recognized me.” With a laugh, he continued. “I don’t know what I would have done if you had not recognized me. It would have been awkward, me just staring at you from the other side of the booth, and you staring back, like, ‘Who is this weirdo?’” She laughed. “Well of course I do recognize you. You’re hard to forget! We had so much fun making Roman Holiday!” “Indeed we did!” he agreed. “Well, my lovely Audrey, I would love to grab some dinner and catch up.” “Oh my, yes of course!” She looked around the restaurant. “My waitress should be coming back any minute...” “Well, that’s the thing...” he started. She looked at him questioningly. He continued. “I don’t like Mexican food.” Audrey laughed. “No problem! Where would you like to go?” she asked. He rubbed his chin. “Well, like I said, I was on my way to the Wooden Nickel. I hear they have fantastic chicken wings. I know a sophisticated lady such as yourself might not be accustomed to chicken wings and beer, but...” She answered, “Gregory! You know I love chicken wings! And a little alcohol never hurt anyone!” She laughed. He laughed, too. “Well, if you think you’re up to it, then sure. Why not?” So they got up and trecked to the Wooden Nickel. When they walked in, spicy aromas filled their noses, and Gregory knew they’d come to the right place for chicken wings. They sat down in a little booth and ordered the chicken wing special, a glass of beer, and water to extinguish the fire that would soon be burning in their mouths. And burn it did. Audrey and Gregory laughed at the expression on their faces as they bit into the spicy wings. But they were delicious and soon they were gone. After they were done eating, they talked for hours. They talked about everything from Roman Holiday to their lives now. They talked about old friends and good memories. They talked about good times and bad times alike, not holding anything back. It was phenomenal, they both thought. At the end of the night, Gregory insisted on paying. So he did pay, and they walked out into the refreshingly cold air. The rain had sinced stopped, leaving only wet patches on the otherwise dry sidewalk. “Well, Audrey,” Gregory began. “It has been lovely to catch up with you.” “Likewise, indeed!” Audrey agreed. “I haven’t had this good of a time since Roman Holiday.” “But,” Gregory continued. “All good things must come to an end,” he said sadly. Audrey made a face. But then a sly look came over it. “I don't know how to say goodbye. I can’t think of any words.” Gregory laughed as he realized she was quoting the very words she had said in Roman Holiday. He played along. “Don’t try,” he said dramatically. Audrey burst into laughter. “We’re so weird,” she laughed. “But I love it.” He laughed and agreed. He looked at his watch. “Well I must be getting home. Veronique will be wondering where I am!”
Audrey nodded. “So will my own hubby.” So they walked to their cars, which were, coincidentally, were parked side by side. With one final hug and a goodbye, Gregory got in his car and drove away. Audrey, however, grabbed her phone and texted Marilyn. Oh my goodness, Marilyn, you’d never guess who I just had dinner with!
A Fresh Start A Fresh Start By Anna Snyder A fresh start... That’s what Mom kept calling the new year. “A fresh start,” she said. “We can start all over and everything will be ok.” Yeah right. A lot of crap that was. I didn’t want to start over. Nothing was ok. He was gone, and he was never coming back. There was nothing I could do, nothing I could say to bring him back. Nothing I could do to take away the world that was crushing the breath out of me, slowly but surely. I watched Mom practically dancing around the kitchen and I felt the urge to strangle her. She was being much too happy. She said I was overreacting, that I was being dramatic. That I was being a drama queen. That everything would be ok in the new year. Surprise surprise Mom, a new year doesn’t just magically make everything ok. A switch doesn’t get flipped at midnight, making all the problems of the previous year dissolve. They stay and they stay for good. Mom stopped her frolicking and turned to look at me. I was seated at the bar, sitting on a stool. My dinner sat in front of me, but I was just sort of pushing it around. “Are you ever going to let this go, Claire?” She took a deep breath and leaned on her elbows in front of me. I had the urge to fling my mashed potatoes in her face as she got that stupid sympathetic look on her face. “Adam’s been gone a long time, honey,” she said softly. “Shut up, Mom. Please. I don’t want to hear that.” “Claire, it’s been months!” “He was my boyfriend.” “He’s not the only” “It was my fault.” “Don’t you dare start” “I loved him!” That shut her up. The sympathetic look on her face froze and after a long moment, she went back to cleaning up the kitchen. She was no longer dancing. I felt a pang of regret, but it faded. She knew better than to push me. I walked up to my room and shut the door. Adam had wanted to go to art school for a long time. It was his dream, and he was going to achieve it. The night it happened, we were celebrating his acceptance into the highest art school in the nation. A full ride. He’d gotten a full academic scholarship. I was so proud. We’d gone to Elmo’s Diner, his favorite restaurant and chowed down. He’d ordered his favorite, a Elmo’s burger and a side of onion rings, just like he always did. I’d ordered the same, just like I always did. We’d gotten chocolate milk and blown bubbles in it, just like we always did. We’d left at around seven, just like we always did. We’d taken a walk around the downtown, just like we always did. I never saw it. All I knew was that there was a lot of noise and then Adam jumped in front
of me, and then he fell, and then a lot of people started screaming, and then there was a lot of pressure and hot pain in my chest that knocked me over. After that, I don’t remember anything until waking up in the hospital. When I did wake up, I was all alone. Adam, I thought. That was the first thing that came into my head. Adam. Mom was beside me, calling for a doctor. “She’s awake! She’s awake!” Then a bunch of people came running in the room. I asked everybody where Adam was, but nobody gave me an answer. They just gave me sympathetic glances. Sympathetic glances. I hate sympathetic glances. We had been shot in a driveby. I would have been dead, but Adam jumped in front of me when he saw the gun come out. The bullet had gone through him, killing him instantly. Then it went into me, but it’d been slowed so much while going through himkilling himthat it only hurt me. It entered my chest and shattered a rib bone, but all the fragments missed my vital organs. All except one. It’d taken the most important organ I had. Well, that depends on how you define organ. If it is something that you cannot live without, then yes, it’d taken that away. And it can not be transplanted or replaced with an artificial one. It was gone, and it was never coming back.
A Letter to Your Grandchild 1/8/14 Dear Beloved Grandchild, It’s strange to think this far into the future, but the prompt in the Creative Writing class I’m in right now is to “write a letter to your future grandchild.” So I’m doing it. Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a chore for me. I love writing and it’s making me a bit nostalgic (a feeling I enjoy) to write to someone I don’t even know yet. You are receiving a letter written two generations ago. I’ll bet that seems like a long time ago to you, but it’s not. Time flies, regardless of whether you’re having fun or not. As I get older, I’m very aware of how fast time goes. It goes by so fast. Don’t waste your time, love! Speaking of love, there are two points I want to make on that subject. First, love everyone. You have NO idea of what a person can be going through, what a smile can hide. When I’m having a bad day, a smile or kind word from someone can turn it around. Don’t waste your life, and don’t waste other peoples either. Even as I glance around the class I’m in, I see people I know have troubles but mask it with a smile and a laugh or an “Oh no, it’s ok. I’m fine. Just tired, that’s all.” Also, love people you don’t like. Hate the sin, not the sinner. In other words, hate the bad things people do, not the people. They’re just like you. Second point on love: let’s get mushy. I’m not sure how old you’ll be when you read this, but right now you might know of that one person that catches your eye. Guard your heart, little one. Don’t let just anyone take it. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do comes from it.” Another version says, “...for it determines the course of your life.” My daddy, you’re granddaddy, made sure I remembered this verse from the time I was twelve. And so far, I’ve done my best to remember. It hasn’t always worked, (ask me about that later, if I’m still around,) but I’ve done my best. I hope I continued to do that. And the verse is not being overdramatic when it says “everything you do comes from it” and “it determined the course of your life.” Your heart guides your life. It truly does, believe me. Trust me, love. I’ve been there. You have a lot yet to learn. Make sure that your special someone is the person God would want you to have. Literally. If you took your special someone to meet God, would God approve of him? Would you have to introduce the two of them? Or would they already know each other? I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself. You wouldn't be able to take your special someone to meet God if you yourself don’t know him. Are you a Christian, love? Is Jesus the Lord of your life, the person you’ve surrendered to? If he’s not, I don’t know how you do it. I have no idea how I would get through life without Jesus. He’s the one I take my problems to, the one I cry to, the one I ask advice from. He loves you completely unconditionally, love. He loves you more than every single person in your life combined. There is nothing you could to to make him love you more and there is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING you could do or have done to make him love you less. If you don’t know Jesus personally, if He’s not the Lord of your life, I urge you to find out about Him. Come to me, love, if I’m still around. If I’m not, find someone you know knows about this Jesus person. Go to a church and find out about him. Make sure you know where you’re going to spend eternity. Eternity is a very long time, love, and I want to make sure I spend it with you. And don't worry, He’ll guide you in the right direction. You are NEVER alone. Never. You are more loved
than you could ever imagine. So in conclusion, love, don’t waste your life. Time goes by so quickly. Hate the sin, not the sinner. Love everyone. Be intentional about being nice to people, even people you don’t necessarily like. Guard your heart. Know that you are loved. Know where you’re spending eternity. And finally, know that you are very, very, VERY, loved. Love, your grandma
Extra Credit Fantasy Room Fantasy Room By Anna Snyder My fantasy room is an infinite place. There are no walls, only a doorway in which you walk through to get in The gravity is like the gravity on the moon, so you can sort of float around. In one part of the room, there’s a giant trampoline that is sixty feet by sixty feet. In another part, there is an area called The Song Dimension. If you go into said place, you are instantly greeted with your favorite song. After that one finishes another one plays, and so on and so forth. In another part of my Fantasy room, there is a huge closet, the size of the biggest house you’ve ever seen. In that closet are all of the most beautiful and fashionable clothes in the world, all of them in your exact size. In another area, there is a massive library. In this library, there are floortoceiling shelves that hold all the books you’ve ever read and loved and all the book that you will ever read and love. But the most beautiful part of the Fantasy Room is the church. There is a huge, 1800style church that is full of stain glass windows. It’s full of serenity and peace and love. and you get a marvelous feeling upon entry.
Extra Credit (continued) Continuation of Appointment With Love The Emotion Box By Anna Snyder My stomach rolled with excitement, anticipation, and more than a twinge worry. I was sitting in a booth at the nicest restaurant in town. “What ifs” filled my head, sloshing around like water in a cup. What if he just walked away? What if the old woman decided not to play along? What if I did all this for nothing? Oh, so many things could have gone wrong. Why did I do this? I should have just sent him a picture and “Excuse me, ma’am?” I looked up and found a tall, goodlooking man who looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He had brown hair and stunning blue eyes that were sparkling with mischief. I instantly knew who he was, and I felt all my worry and fear drain away. “The nice elderly woman across the street promised me that a beautiful woman in a green suit would be waiting here for me.” He scanned my face, those blue eyes twinkling with joy. “You certainly are beautiful, and unless I’m colorblind, that suit is green. You seem to fit the bill.” He grinned. The corners of my mouth tugged with a smile. “I guess you were going my way, soldier,” I said. I gestured to the seat across from me. He smiled again and sat. We talked until the restaurant closed. I never dreamed there was so much left to talk about. I never had trouble finding material to write to him, but I figured we had pretty much covered everything. Not in the least. We talked about where and how we were raised, and where we went to college. We talked about what we wanted to do with our lives and what our goals were. We talked about the good times and the bad times. We talked about people we loved and people we didn’t love so much. The whole time, we listened to each other, with sympathy and understanding. I watched him as he talked. I loved the way he smiled. I loved the way his eyes reflected his emotions. I loved the way he laughed; the loud, merry sound filling me with joy and making me remember happy times in my life. I loved the way he talked. His voice got deeper when he was talking about something serious and it go lighter when he was talking about something he liked remembering. I loved the way his beautiful blue eyes looked into me, peering into my very soul and understanding everything I had. John has been dead for 50 years now. He died, not in the Army, but in a car accident on the way home from the restaurant. I keep a box next to my bed containing keepsakes that remind me of John. I have the red rose the old woman wore. I have the tab from the dinner we ate that night. I have the handkerchief that John accidently left at the table. I have a picture of a young John in uniform, grinning that gorgeous grin he had. But above all, I have every single letter John ever wrote to me. There are more than 100 letters. I love getting those letters out and wallowing in bittersweet
memories. I love looking at the greetings that slowly transition from Dear Hollis, to My dearest Red Rose,. I read them every day. I have every letter completely memorized. From the first to the last. I am 80 years old now. I have never and will never open that box without crying. Not always are they tears of sadness, but tears or remembrance. There are so many emotions in that box, I cannot help but crying. One thing I know is for sure; we would have never run out of things to talk about.
Extra Credit (continued) Superstition Short Story The Black Cat By Anna Snyder “Tommy!” my mother screamed. I whirled around, away from the cat I was petting. “Don’t you dare touch that cat!” she screeched. I was startled by her tone of voice and I backed away from the black cat. But the cat had been enjoying the massage, and it followed me. I looked back to my mom, and she was still running towards me, off the porch, into the yard, and out onto the sidewalk, where I was. She stopped in front of me and snatching my hand, dragged me up onto the porch, inside, and shut the door. “Tommy,” she began. I stared at her, wondering what this was all about. “Don’t ever touch a black cat. It brings bad luck. Very bad luck. Your great grandpa had a black cat cross his path and he keeled over of a heart attack just days later. Great Grandpa was also over 3 hundred pounds, I thought to myself. But Mom continued. “Because you're young, I don’t think your bad luck will be that drastic, so I don’t need to wash you in buttermilk.” “In buttermilk?” I asked. “Yes,” she answered. “That kills all the bad luck, and brings good luck to take its place.” I stared at her blankly. This was ridiculous. “But now you have learned your lesson. Don’t ever touch a black cat!” Mom said with an air of finality. Today, I still remember that lesson. But you could say I haven’t paid much attention to it. I live with three black cats, and all of them are sweet as pie. I don’t have bad luck. In fact, I found a penny on the sidewalk yesterday. I have a beautiful wife and three gorgeous little girls. They don’t seem to be affected by the bad luck either.