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Table of Contents Introduction  How it All Began………………………………………………..….…..3 Nonfiction Masterpieces 

Where is My White Flag?……………………………………..…….….7

The Letter …………………………………………………….….……12

Fiction Masterpieces 

Another Brilliant Idea ………………………………………….……...15

The Home ………………………………………………………...……20

From the Outside …………………………………………………...…22

Poem Masterpieces 

I’ll Never Forget ………………………………………………………25

Too Perfect ……………………………………………………………26

The Change ………………………………………………….…..……28

In Silence …………………………………………………….………..29

The Perfect Measure ………………………………………………….31

My Thoughts (Revision Responses) 

Non-fiction: The Final Touches ………………………………………32

Fiction: Where to Start? …………………………………………….…35

Poems: In the End ……………………………………………………..38

At the Beginning (Rough Drafts) 

Non-fiction: Original Drafts …………………………………………..41

Fiction Pieces: Original Drafts ………………………………………..45

Poems: Original Drafts ………………………………………………..50

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Introduction How It All Began Another class. A different teacher. Another adventure. This time though, it was not just one more nursing class. The first day in my creative English class worried me a bit. I had not written a story since freshman year of college and a poem, oh I do not even know the last time I wrote one of those. But, I showed up to class and decided to take on the challenge. The teacher explained the projects and helped us along. Now, nearing the end, I could not be happier with my final projects. I worked hard to create my masterpieces. First off, I would like to start with a little background of myself; to better explain where some of my pieces blossomed from. I grew up in small town that, still to this day, has no stoplight or fast-food restaurant. With my parents, two older sisters, and dog; I had an adventurous childhood and would not change it for the world. After graduating with my other seventy-nine classmates, I decided to move states and go to Ball State University. When arriving, I chose to major in Nursing and now three years later I am working my way through the Nursing program. In one year I will graduate and head off into the “big, bad world� and start a new chapter of my life. I am happy I took this class so I had the opportunity to put my thoughts on to paper. I categorized my works by how I created them starting with non-fiction pieces. This portfolio starts with stories of my life. My idea behind this is so that the reader will have the chance to get to know me a little better. These are stories of my life and are moments I will never forget. The first story presented is Where Is My White Flag? which tells of a traumatizing incident in my childhood, with a hint of humor to keep it light-hearted. The second non-fiction piece comes from the heart. This one took a lot of revisions. I wanted to make the audience felt the same way I did while also writing a heart-felt letter to my father. Balancing

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these two was the trick but eventually it all came together. Someday I hope to be able to give my dad this letter and cherish the memory forever. The two pieces together are completely opposite which helps explain my outgoing character. I am always up for adventures and hope to make new memories that I will be able to write stories about in the future. Moving on to my next assignment was a bit of a transition. Now we had to write fiction pieces. Where to begin? I could tell stories of my life but it seemed a bit trickier to just come up with a story. I am currently in my pediatrics rotation in nursing school; so I decided I might as well write a story for a child. So the character of Polly emerged and she began to seek out many adventures. I enjoyed writing this and I even thought about drawing pictures and making it a children’s book (But, sadly I am no artist!). Moving on I based the second story about my current house. Let us just remember that I am just renting a house in college, this is not a permanent residence. I wrote this story with a different perspective which really adds to the feel. Lastly, I wrote a kind of out-of-the blue piece that is meant to remind readers not to jump to conclusions about things or people in life. Stories like this are always needed to remind people about the little things in life, me included. The fiction pieces came to life and now are polished into their final versions. The final task was five poems. Luckily, we went over these more in class to get my brain thinking. Again, when I am stuck I resorted back to my life so the first poem written is about growing up. Now being in college, I love going home to THE house. The next poem is the classic love story poem. I made it rhyme to add something more, to make the reader want to finish. The third poem, I would say I thought of from my TV interests. CSI, Criminal Minds, Law and Order: yes, these are my kind of shows. It is a story of a girl who’s night did not go as planned. The fourth poem I wrote while sitting outside on my front porch just hoping that the

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weather would change soon. Weather? That was the idea for my next poem as it explains the seasons changing. For the end of my portfolio I could not be happier with the last poem. It sums up the ideal family and reminds me of mine. It is a light-hearted ending, to leave the reader with a happy thought. At the beginning of this semester I wrote that my writing was very weak and needed improvement. Now six-teen weeks later, I feel it did develop. Yes, there is always room for improvement but I am happy with how I have grown. Heading into my final year of college scares me a little bit, but I do need to remember to live life to the fullest during this last year. Before each of the genres, I placed a page that has pictures of each of my favorite works in each section. I did this to help give a visual of where the idea came from. Please enjoy my writings.

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Nonfiction Masterpieces Where Is My White Flag? The immediate rays of sun slowly pried my eyes open. I felt the bouncing of the tires below me. We took a sharp turn that nearly scooted me to the other side of the back-seat. I looked out the window to see an old, wooden sign stating, “West Virginia, Extreme Expeditions.” I had never gone white-water rafting, and my stomach fluttered with butterflies thinking about the chance to go with my cousins and family. I trudged out of the car and finally after many hours, my butt started to regain some feeling. The coolness of the morning gave me chills from head to toe and the stench of fish filled my nose. I followed my Uncle Mark as he and my dad walked out of the door that read, “Registration Office.” We cautiously walked down a steep gravel path to find an aged barn full of supplies. We grabbed helmets, jackets, and oars and started off towards the river. Standing by what appeared to be our yellow raft was a middle-aged man. He glanced over, gave us a big smile, and I could not help but notice his crooked, yellow teeth. “Hey ya’ll, I’m Billy, and I’ll be showin’ ya’ll this great river,” he stated with a southern accent. Well, he seems like an interesting person, I just hope he knows the river. “Burr, the water is freezing,” my sister, Jena, squeaked as she tiptoed through the river to our fifteen-person raft. The second I put my foot in the water, the cold sensation shot through my body causing me to tremble slightly. The chilly water came up to my knees before I reached the raft, then I nestled into my seat. Billy started to inform us of the pre-cautions and dangers. 7


“Let’s get a move on. We ain’t got all day, and we can’t finish until we see a white flag.” Billy stated, “Come on, row!” So my family and I started to row, which was quite the work out. Billy told us stories about how a person was more likely to get killed in a car accident on the way to West Virginia than to die in the river. But, then he informed us that two people died in the rapids last week. I decided that I felt safer in my car rather than so close to the churning water. I noticed my dad winced with alarm after this information and I remembered that he could not swim. I glanced around to see three other yellow boats just the same as ours. We came upon our first rapid. The water became fierce as it gushed around jagged rocks. I could hear the water slapping the rocks and everybody in my boat starting to scream with anticipation. I felt like my breakfast could have come up as I looked ahead of us! Under Billy’s watchful eye we went through the rapid with ease, with only a few minor mishaps accredited to us all being beginners. When the rapid was over, Billy joked, “Damn, Ohioans are a little slow with commands, ain’t ya’ll?” We were all still recuperating from our first real rapid, that none of us even thought about defending our beloved state of Ohio. After two hours of rapids, our stomachs started to growl. The sun hung directly above us as we floated up to a little beach. I looked around for a table or porta-potty but spotted nothing. Then, Billy informed us that we attained the luxury of getting to eat on the beautiful beach, with no tables but a few good logs to sit on. “So where’s the restroom?” Kensey questioned as a worried look clouded her face.

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“Women’s are up the river cause their skirts go up and men’s are down the river cause their pants go down,” Billy told her. So we ate a much-needed meal in the wilderness, and my sandwich had a little extra crunch from all the sand. The next thing I knew, we were off again and I could feel the rays of sun penetrating my skin. I could hear the rush of the water and I knew we were coming upon another rapid and by now I was growing used to them. Billy warned us that this was the biggest rapid, yet, so be ready for anything. We were off and immediately the boat started shaking. “Right, row . . . now watch out for this big rock, it has a strong undercurrent,” Billy cautioned. Billy started yelling over the noise of the rapids, “LEFT, row! We need to steer away from this rock!” “LEFT, LEFT!” Billy screamed. The boat was out of control, and I heard Kensey’s piercing scream. I could feel my heart racing, then my body hurtling to the water. I glanced up to see the entire boat flipping on top of me. My dad was plunging right at me! His eyes were huge with fear like a child who just saw a monster. He had his fists clenched tight around his life jacket, and his face was ghost white as he hit the water only inches from my face. I smacked the water; it was as cold as an icebox and then I slipped under. Oh shit! O my God, I can’t breathe! My eyes were wide open, but I could not see anything. The current was so strong, and it just kept pulling me under. I kicked my legs as hard as I could but my efforts were useless. I felt

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the huge rock, Billy had mentioned earlier, trying to pull me under. I continually gasped for air, but none was there. I felt like the hours were ticking by and I began to think about everything I still wanted to do in my life. I knew my life was not accomplished . . . I just could not die! Death by drowning in a West Virginia river, what a great way to go! I hit the rock hard trying to get away but my efforts were useless. I was about to drown and gave up kicking, it just seemed useless. Finally, on my last ounce of hope, I heard a muffled scream. “I see her!” an unfamiliar voice shrieked. My life jacket brought me to the surface, as I coughed and gasped for air. Yes, I am alive! I started looking around, seeing everybody’s worried eyes on me. The water drifted me towards the boats; I floated along in a daze, still trying to recover from what had just happened. I spotted my dad; he was sprawled out on the boat panting like he just ran a marathon; thank goodness he was okay. I started kicking my legs and headed towards my family. As I swam closer, they all looked terrified. I wanted to reassure them that I was okay but I could not speak. I waded up to the side of our raft, where Billy and Mark each grabbed on to my life jacket and hauled me in. Billy looked at me with apologetic eyes and stated, “I’m sorry, are you okay?” “Yeah, I . . . am fine,” I coughed. Wait, I lost my helmet and my oar? I did not even realize that. Billy continued to ask me questions but I did my best to assure him I was okay, when actually I was scared out of my mind. I really saw my life flash before my eyes and I was not

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about to go in that water again. At that moment, I decided I will never stay under the water long enough to ever have the feeling of drowning again. Then, I felt the boat lurch forward a little faster than I was expecting, causing my stomach to be thrown for a loop. At this point I was just looking forward to stepping onto solid ground. “Look up there,” hollered Billy, “that there’s the white flag or what I like to call, the finish line.” The finish? YES! I surrender! Then, Billy’s eyes lit up with anticipation, as we still had one rapid to go, he bellowed, “Here it is, but it’s the worst one of all. Here, if ya’ll fall out, well, good luck . . .”

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The Letter Dear Dad, Are you ready? Today is the big day! No worries, I am more nervous than you, I promise. My hands are shaking so badly that I had to type this letter, instead of write it. I do not know why I am so nervous, but, I am going to have the death grip on your arm as we take those steps down the aisle. Dad, remember he will never replace you, you have always been the number one guy in my life, please never forget that. I just want to start from the beginning. I have heard stories that you wished and prayed that I was a boy, but just your luck, another girl! A dad of three girls, aren’t you lucky? You will never get your football player, sorry about that. To be honest though, you could never trade me for a son now, right? Somehow I turned out very similar to you. Scary. I was different from my sisters growing up but that is because I have a little more of you in me. They followed Mom’s footsteps and loved to read, write, and play school. I was just the opposite. It was like pulling teeth, just to get me to read a word. I just wanted to be outside playing games and chasing Penny around. I have been at your side picking up sticks, planting the garden, and even carrying wood into the house. Growing up I followed in your footsteps. As I grew older, you helped me discover my passion for sports. Probably before I could even pick up a softball, you were teaching me how to throw. Starting in first grade, I always knew that mom and you would be watching, which turned you into my biggest fans. Not only softball, but you supported me in soccer, track, band, volleyball, and basketball. That is a lot of time sitting on the bleachers but looking back it still means the world to me. Remember when we went to state for CYO basketball? You definitely won coach of the year. You have always been my coach in life, on and off the court.

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When I went to college it was so different, a change I was not ready for. We spent a lot of time together during my first eighteen years and even in silence, I loved your company. You no longer being around, this is what hurt me. I was not there to drive around and run errands in the truck. We could no longer watch the Bengals together. I lost someone that was always around, and I took that for granted. But, remember junior year when you finally received a cell phone? Then, I felt like I talked to you on the phone at least once a week and you also became quite the texting champion. We have stayed close through college and I know you will always keep me updated on the sporting events at Marion Local. Hard to believe that it is finally the day that you will be giving your youngest daughter away. None of us will be carrying on the legacy of the Schwieterman name but we will always hold it in our hearts. No tears today, please and thanks. I have only seen my old man cry a few times and today let us just celebrate! We have had a good life together but I am ready to start the next chapter in mine. No worries, you will still be one of the main characters. You two have been the best parents a kid could ask for. It is weird to talk about, but I know you will be the best grandpa to my children. You will be their number one fans in life as well. Dad, I love you so much and thank you for walking me down the aisle today. I will be seeing you soon! Your youngest daughter, Nicole

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Fiction Masterpieces Another Brilliant Idea “Polly, Polly!” Mrs. Henderson yells to her only daughter. Upstairs Polly snuggles under her covers. She decides that if her mom cannot see her, she would not have to get out of bed. Then, she hears the footsteps. Boom. Boom. Boom. Slowly, they progress up the stairs. If mom comes upstairs, it is never a good sign. Now what? I have to think quickly. The perfect idea pops into Polly’s head. She decides to lay opposite of her door. So, when her mom walks in the room, she will not see her open eyes since she was not actually sleeping. Polly’s brilliance strikes again. With the creaking of the floor, Polly knows her mom entered. Polly, looks at her dresser, and forgets about the mirror. So, she ends up staring her mom directly in the eyes. Polly never did like that mirror. Oh no, Mom did not see that. I closed my eyes fast enough. The image of her mom’s red face sticks in Polly’s mind. Her mouth is a straight line, which did not have even a hint of smile. Polly is also pretty sure smoke is coming out of her ears. She wants to take another look to be sure, but she does not even dare. “Pollerina Madison Henderson, I know you are awake.” her mother states in a stern voice. “This is your one warning, if I have to come up here again, no television tonight.” But, my favorite show is one tonight. I must get up NOW. Polly’s body starts to shake with nervousness, because now, she has to think of another idea. So, she rolls over and pretends to stretch her arms. Polly rubs her eyes and does her best performance of just waking up. She un-does her covers and looks towards the doorway. 15


Surprisingly, her mom has already left the room. Polly hops out of bed, deciding she needs the perfect outfit on her first day of second grade. Last night, she tried on all of her clothes but did not hang them back up. The hunt around the floor begins, as she needs to find her purple pants and tie-dye shirt. Once dressed, Polly models in front of the mirror a few times. On her last run-way walk, she poses and blows a kiss at the mirror. Now, she is ready. The decision was which shoes to wear; lime green or bright yellow? Polly contemplates for a few minutes and then her mom’s voice starts rumbling back up the stairs, “Don’t make me come back up there!” Shaking at the knees, Polly decides she would just wear one of each. Polly takes a hopskip and a jump down the stairs. At the table sits her favorite food. Blueberry pancakes. Yum. She runs up to her mom and gives her the biggest bear hug her little arms could muster. Her mom’s face was slowly coming back to its normal color but still no smile. “Good morning, I’m glad to see you are up and dressed. Polly, why are you wearing two different shoes?” Mrs. Henderson questions. “Well, you see Mom, I couldn’t decide which ones I wanted to show off. It only made sense to wear one of each.” Polly replies in a matter-of-fact manner. Polly’s mom just shakes her head. She has always let her child dress herself because it is said to help with her creativity. Sometimes she regrets this decision but decides not to change her mind now. Polly shoves the pancakes in her mouth and announces, “Done,” with her mouth still full of blueberry mush. “Please, don’t talk with your mouth full and finish your milk,” Mrs. Henderson responds.

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Finally, the two are off for the first day of school. The bell rang just as Polly nudges into her new seat. Her assigned seat is front and center of the classroom. Her new teacher, Mr. Green, begins to start with the classroom rules. To Polly this man resembles her Grandpa. He has gray hair sticking off his head and when she walks by him the smell of coffee fills her nose. Unlike Grandpa, who is always smiling and loving, this man has sad eyes with not even a grin. Polly gets butterflies in her stomach every time this sad face looks her way because she is still unsure of this new stranger in her life. Now, Polly had heard these rules what seemed like a million times. So, she reaches for her new Barbie coloring book and starts her creation. “Polly, Polly, POLLY,” Mr. Green says, slowly getting louder and louder with each word. Polly looks up to see Mr. Green standing right in front of her desk. His head is shaking, he is not impressed. “Now Polly, you need to stop coloring. What do you think we will be learning about this year,” he questions. “I’m not sure Mr. Green. I guess if you are a good teacher and teach me something, I will learn,” Polly responds as she puts her coloring masterpiece away. A hint of shock crosses Mr. Green’s face. But, Polly just answers the question as honestly as she can. The rest of the morning is rather boring and Polly tries her hardest to pay attention to Mr. Green. Finally, it is lunch time and her class heads down to eat. There they sit on her plate, the dreaded peas. Now at home, if the meal is not finished, she cannot have her dessert. Polly stares at the brownie on the other side of the plate and wonders what would happen if she eats that first.

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Will her mom coming running out of the mysterious closet? Will the brownie shock her when she touches it? Nope I can’t do that! Mom will know. She always knows. . . Contemplating this problem she decides to just feed it to her dog, Eddie, who is always under the dinner table. So, as sly as possible, Polly slips the food under the table and lets it drop. The little peas roll and bounce all over the floor. Again, Polly has come up with a brilliant plan. Just as she was checking to make sure Eddie was finishing the food under the table, a lunch lady walks up. “Honey, why did you just throw all of your peas all over the floor?” she asks. “Well, ma’am I don’t really like peas,” Polly responds in the sweetest voice she can. “You do not have to eat them; just leave them on your plate. But, now I am going to make you pick up all of these peas. You cannot throw things on the floor,” the lunch lady responds in a very firm voice. Polly slowly stands up and goes around picking up each little green dot that she could find. A little embarrassed, she sits back down and eats her much wanted brownie. Finally, lunch is over and back to the classroom. The rest of the day Polly just parks herself in her seat. She decides she did not need to get in any more trouble today. The last bell rang and Polly is the first to leave. She has to use the bathroom really bad but did not want to interrupt Mr. Green. In the bathroom, Polly goes pee and pulls up her pants. Then, all of the sudden her zipper just will not move. I can’t walk out of here with my fly undone. That is not a good way to end my first day of second grade.

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But, Polly’s brilliance strikes again for the last time of this school day. She decides to just put her pants on backwards because nobody will notice then. So, Polly squats low to the floor making sure nobody is in the bathroom to realize her perfect idea. Luckily, the bathroom is empty. Polly proceeds and turns her pants around. She walks out of the bathroom as if nothing had happened. She looks in the mirror and is happy with her decision. The front of her is looking good. Polly walks outside to where her mom’s red mini-van was parked. As she walks towards the car, Mrs. Henderson notices her pants on backwards and just looks down. Wondering what her “brilliant” daughter has thought of now. In the meantime, Polly walks proud and tall, with her Dora underwear peeking through her open-zipper on her behind.

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The Home Another party. Another spill. Another person falling down my steps. Once again the red and blue flashing lights appear through the windows. Will these boys ever learn? Try not to let so many people inside. I am literally going to collapse. It appears they are bringing boxes inside. Then, from under my roof they left. Finally, those filthy boys decided they’d had enough of me. Thank goodness. In the long months of winter, it was always cold as ice in here because they never used the heater. The boys never cleaned anything and left all the dirt, I am surprised they could still see me. They just one day decided it was time and packed up and left. Peace and quiet, at last. But, the feeling of abandonment swept through me. Now what? I may have a leaky roof and paper-thin walls, but I am still here standing strong. They could not just leave me like this. I felt so alone. However, once again, they showed up. All six of them! High squeaky voices, now this was going to take some getting used to. They filled up their buckets and rolled up their sleeves. Never have I ever been given such a makeover. My walls filled with color. Then, ‘ouch.’ Oh, the holes in the wood. They hurt me one nail at a time and not just in one place. These girls decided to cause injury to every part of me. Finally, I had enough of them. I decided they could not just come in here and beat on me. First, I tried to back up the water. It was just a harmless trick to scare these, a little too cheerful, girls away. My water started gurgling in both sides of the sink. I laughed inside as they took buckets of water out, one after another. Now this will scare them away. Negative. They called someone, who probably called someone else, to come here to mess with my pipes. So, in the end I had to come up with a new plan.

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Next I brought on the leaky roof. I decided I would just let a little bit of water through to scare the girls back to their parents. Nope they all just looked up at me and laughed. This was no joke. Why are they not crying? Once again another repairman came to solve the problem. Fail number two. Finally, I had it, the ultimate evacuation method. I would mess with their Internet. Let us see how these ladies deal with this problem. They all sit frustrated, as they can no longer go on their Facebook and other Social Medias. I am laughing as one struggles to try and take a quiz. But, I am telling you, they have a repairman on twenty-four hour speed dial. Ridiculous. These are some stubborn college girls. I have done almost everything I can think of without harming myself too much. That’s when I decided to open up my mind. I started watching as they made breakfast together. They seem to do everything together which is different from my other tenants. I started to laugh and enjoy their presence. So, if I could not fight them off, I had to join them. Never have I surrendered to my tenants. But, just between you and me I have learned to love these girls. I may be slowly falling apart but it is the warmth of this family inside, it keeps me alive.

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From the Outside A short, old man was taking his morning stroll around the neighborhood. A new family had moved in to the little ranch house and he could see it from a distance. It was a beautiful, April day with not a cloud in the sky. The house looked quiet and vacant and the viewer wondered what the family was up to today. All of the sudden, two little girls came running out of the house screaming. His first thought was: Is the house on fire? Should I go help? The onlooker stood still, debating on what to do. The girls started scrambling around the house. He could not tell, but maybe they were on fire. His next thought was: Where are the girl’s parents? They could not be home alone, they were too young. The girls continued to scream and run around, filling the quiet, spring air. The man watching decided to keep walking along the road. As the man could see what was going on a little better, he realized the house was not on fire. He could not figure out why the children were running away. That’s when the parents came out. The girls seemed to scramble away from them. His next thought was: they finally escaped from being held captive in the house. Now, he debated if he needed to save these girls from their parents. He, again, was stuck in his tracks, not knowing what to do. The dad was holding something in his hands. The onlooker just could not figure out what it was. It did not look like a gun, and it better not be. He kept pointing it at the screaming girls. The viewer had had enough and decided to move even closer to know what was happening for sure. Now the stranger was just one house away. That was when he saw the truth of the situation. There were colorful specks, all over the yard and each of the girls had a basket. The dad was holding a video camera watching his little girls running around picking up every single

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Easter egg in the yard. That is when the man remembered it was Easter Sunday. How could I be so stupid? These girls were not on fire, not being abused, but just finding what the Easter bunny left behind. The viewer was ashamed to think that something bad was happening, because looking at the parents’ faces; he knew they loved those little girls. Finally, all the eggs had been picked up and all of the girls were running back to their parents to show off their treasures. They did a group hug and the dad kissed each of them on the forehead. It was a picture perfect moment. The onlooker wants to go be with the family and share their happiness. But, he is scared, as his own children left him many years ago. He starts to turn around, in hopes that the family never saw him walking. But, then he hears the father’s voice. He wants me to take a picture of them? The elderly man strolls over to the family and snaps a picture. They say their thanks, even offering him some candy. Then he continues on his way. He misses that love. If only he hadn’t made the ultimate mistake. If only his family still loved him. I wish I could take it all back.

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Poem Masterpieces I’ll Never Forget She held me close. She was there when I cried. She watched me with those loving eyes, In the home that raised me. I took my first steps. I tried my first cereal. I was potty-trained, In the home that raised me. He taught me how to throw. He showed me how to drive. He was there to catch my fall, In the home that raised me. I will always love that house. Even if I go far away, I will always come back. To the home I’ll never forget.

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Too Perfect The man of the house, he was the big shot. Everybody wanted him, kind or not. He chose me. Why? I don’t know. They said I was lucky, I went with the show. He took me out, a time or two. We laughed a lot, that’s when I knew. He was my prince, the man of my dreams. How could it be so perfect, even at the seams? Of course, it was no fairy-tale. Not a perfect ending, only a fail. He had another, blonde just like me. I should have opened my eyes, so that I could truly see. The man of the house, of course he needs more. I was not good enough. That’s when my heart tore. I hurt for a long time, left him by his door. He became very angry, called me a stupid whore. He chose me, Why? I don’t know. They said I was lucky, I went with the show. 26


I put up my walls, cried myself to sleep. I learned my lesson, because he broke me.

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The Change The cold rushes over me as the door swings open, Oh no, it can’t be that time of year again. The crystal, white mysteries float to the ground. I sadly realize they are here to stay. I crack the door, with an ounce of hope. The smell of flowers fills my nose. Hooray, for the change as light floods in. Back to the time when everything is green again. Up is the screen door letting everything through. Warm winds blow the sweat on my brow. The grass is turning brown with thirst. These long days of sun, have hit it the worse. It’s about time to swing the door shut again. The leaves are creating mounds on the ground. The campfire smell is nearing an end. We roast our last marshmallows, before hibernation starts again.

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In Silence “Where have you been all night, little missy? I’ve been pacing around this house like a dam fool!” She stands looking like a deer in headlights. “Well, don’t you have anything to say for yourself? No, I do not want to hear any excuses, you should have called.” She pulls the phone out of her pocket, as the shattered glass falls to the floor. “O, so you broke your phone as well? Have I not raised you better than that?” She just shrugs her shoulders and opens her mouth. “Do you realize how worried I was about you? I called all your friends and their parents!” She closes her mouth and looks down at her feet. “So now you have nothing to say for yourself?” I almost called the cops, I was so worried.” She just shrugs onto the chair and tears fill her eyes. “What? Now you want me to feel sorry for you? You are going to be grounded for a few years little miss.” Her cries sound like a puppy separated from her mother. “Fine, do you want to finally explain yourself? Please go ahead, this ought to be good.” She doesn’t speak as tears wet the floor. “Wait, Honey is everything okay? You are home now.” She flips on the lights. Her mom notices: the bruise on her eye, the scratches covering her arms, and the blood running down her legs.

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Now, her mother, is left with nothing to say.

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The Perfect Measure A cup of orneriness, a dash of stubbornness, and two sleeping pills creates the recipe of a father. An ounce of intelligence, a gallon of love, and a hint of discipline makes the perfect mother. A tablespoon of leadership, a sprinkle of temper and two cups of happiness bakes to be the sister. A handful of protecting, a teaspoon of gladness, and a bit of crabbiness stirred together becomes a brother. Never forget the most important part. Add the father and the mother, don’t forget the sister and brother. It always creates the perfect combination.

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My Thoughts (Revision Responses) Non-fiction: The Final Touches In all my years of schooling, I have never been introduced to revising works in workshops with this layout. I do really like it. This is different than the ordinary pass your papers around during class and write comments. Interacting with the other classmates has helped me learn about my work and how to change it for the better. My two essays proved positive feedback from my peers. The first, many said that I was engaging and my use of imagery was astounding as I captured them in the moment. The second, they enjoyed as it was a little heart-wrenching as I talked about my wedding day. Both stories did need a little bit of work. But, each classmate I worked with put in there two-sense and helped fix my grammar errors. I would first like to focus on the changes in my first essay. It started off as a journal with no quotations or internal thoughts. It was just thoughts on paper. After re-reading this journal I knew I could turn it into an up-beat story to read. I added more detail and gave the characters voices. The first workshop proved that I was correct and my peers enjoyed it. One of my peers did give me a suggestion on the title which at that time was, “Where Is the White Flag” and change it to be more personal. He gave me the idea of, “Where Is My White Flag” which I thought sounded much better. I tweaked a few parts in the non-fiction story to match this new title and I felt it gave more meaning to the piece. I fixed a lot of grammar errors in Billy’s dialogue, as my peers helped me point out other ways to write it. In the end, I am very proud of this story and excited to show it off in my portfolio. The second story, I wrote, was actually a letter to my dad. This was an in-class free write where we were supposed to write a letter to our six-teen year old self. I decided since that was 32


only four years ago I would write a letter to the future. A future to when hopefully I will get married. According to my peers the letter started off strong with a little tear-dripping talk about letting my dad walk me down the aisle. One group member wrote this line to be there favorite sentence in the essay, “Dad, remember he will never replace you, you have always been the number one guy in my life, please never forget that.” I also like this line. In the first draft my group members told me it started off so strong but I needed to work on the end. They said I needed to bring more emotion. So, I was back to the drawing board. I decided to insert another paragraph and emphasize that I am the youngest daughter. So, I added a paragraph about nobody carrying on the family last name and tried to bring out a little bit more emotion. Also, my second group pointed out that is seemed a little odd to end with “Daddy’s Little Girl.” They wanted to know if it was a pet name. At first I really liked it but as I kept reading the ending I decided that’s not how I wanted to end the piece. I changed the ending to, “Your youngest daughter.” Something about being the youngest makes the readers feel a little bit more because now all of these father’s daughters are married. This essay my peers really helped me develop more and I know there insight made my letter stronger. While reading my pieces of work out loud, I also noticed changes I wanted to make. It was from different wording, to maybe adding a coma here and there. A specific example of this is, “You and mom were my biggest fans . . .” After reading this excerpt out loud I realized that it sounded funny, and I needed to change the wording around. I decided, “Starting in first grade, I always knew that mom and you would be watching. . .” sounded a little better. So, reading my works out-loud was another nice change this workshop brought to the table. Not only did I learn from my peers, but I also had my eyes opened to different ways to write. It is fun to have the opportunity to read others’ work. This gives me ideas and helps me

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step out of the box to the large amount of different ways to write non-fiction. I wrote two long pieces while other classmates wrote multiple short, intriguing pieces. I used an “I” voice in both of my pieces while others did not. I learned a lot just by revising works for others. In the end, I have grown from this first workshop. I feel my two pieces have been tossed and diced into portfolio worthy pieces. My peers helped me tremendously along the way and I am grateful for this. Now, “Where Is My White Flag” and “The Letter” are polished and ready to take on the world.

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Fiction: Where to Start? As the second workshop began, I was very unsure of my pieces. I like non-fiction because I am very good at telling stories of my life. This fiction project, threw me for a loop. I would not say I am not creative. But, in my major there are no creative stories; it is more cut and dry. Where to begin? I was lost for a little bit just staring at a white computer screen. First, I looked through my journals. Then, I decided on topics I thought would be interesting and started to scribble down notes. At least it was a start. Each of these stories tested my skills in a different way, whether it is starting from scratch, using a different perspective, or revising a journal, they taught me how to write more creatively. The first piece I wrote about a young girl named “Polly.� I used this name because it is short, simple and easy to pronounce. Some of my group members told me I needed a name that had a hidden meaning behind it. Ultimately, I decided that if this is aimed at young children, they will not understand a hidden meaning. This piece started off as a bunch of scribble on a paper. I wrote down main points that I wanted to happen during the story and went from there. This was new to me because I did not have the complete story in my head. I wrote it once, then again, and again. All revisions I did to this piece were a little more than I was used to, but I wanted it just right. The next problem to my paper, my first group found, was that most children books are in present tense. During the first draft, I accidently wrote in both presence and past tense which became confusing. I decided to go with all present tense and I think it works well for the story. I would like to build on my new character and see what other adventures the world has in store for her. The second piece, I based on the house I live in. But, I decided to make it from the houses point of view. It sounds strange, but I always wondered what the house would say to us if it

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could talk. So, I decided to give it a voice. Let her tell her part of the story. The start of this piece was very choppy and did not flow. Through fixing it, with each groups help, I came up with a good piece. Actually, in both groups this was almost everyone’s favorite story. The first group told me to add a little bit more in at the end on how the house, all the sudden, decided she liked her tenants. So, I added a few more sentences in hopes that it would clear ideas up. Writing from a different perspective was a new challenge for me. The third piece was actually from a journal prompt in class. It was the one where we had to write about a situation from far, medium, and close range. As I was looking through my journals, I decided this could turn into an interesting fiction piece. So, I worked my magic and mustered up a new piece. The first group was completely freaked out by the old man. They wanted to know why the “murder” (as they called him) was walking around this neighborhood. After re-reading the story, I decided they were right and that wasn’t the point I was trying to get across. I re-wrote the beginning and tried not to tell too much about the old man. But, also I made him not scary and just and ordinary elderly person. I also decided to put internal thoughts into the paper. A couple students and my teacher recommended this and I felt it was a great idea. My teacher also recommended summing up the paper about what happened to the elderly man. I did this a little bit but I still feel I left the paper open to interpretation. If I was reading this paper I would want to know “what the man did.” But, with the way I left it, the world will never know! I really enjoy this piece but I want it to stay a short story. In the end, I am impressed with myself on how the stories ended up. I never thought I would come up with three papers; with one starting from nothing, another using a perspective of an object, and the third from a journal I wrote weeks ago. When I sat down at my computer with

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a blank screen, I would have never dreamed these papers would come from my mind. Ultimately, from this experience, fiction is not too bad and I have learned to like writing it.

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Poems: In the End Poems. I may have laughed if I was told at the beginning of this semester that I would write five poems, and I would actually be proud of them. But, ultimately I could not be happier with my poems and truly adore them. I think the hardest part for me was getting started. I did not even know how to begin writing a poem. First, I looked through my journals, then I went to using just one word, and finally I resorted to writing something about my life. The first poem, I found in one of my journals. I liked it but something just did not feel right about it. I thought about it and decided it was the last line. I repeated “In the home I’ll never forget” a few too many times. So, I was back to chicken-scratching and had a few ideas until I found the perfect one, “In the home I’ll never forget.” I decided to use this for the first three stanzas, to change it up. I kept the last stanza the same because I felt it wrapped up the poem and help incorporate the title. Also, after peer/teacher review, I realized I had grammar errors in all of the stanzas. Once this was fixed, the poem is now ready! The next poem I would like to talk about is “In Silence.” I honestly think this is my favorite piece. Something about it just moves me and again, I thought of this idea from my journal. It was the journal where you had to write just quotes back and forth between people. Obviously, I tweaked this a bit and only had one person talking and one silent character. The first thing my group pointed out was that the mother would notice the blood on the girl’s leg right away so this did not make sense. So, I went back and changed the last stanza adding in the line “She flips on the lights.” I felt this made it seem like it had been dark before and now the mother can see. Also, some people wanted the poem to keep going or have a different ending. I decided to just add one last line, “Now, her mother, is left with nothing to say.” I was pretty proud of

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myself for this because it reverses the entire poem as now the mom is silent. I am proud of this piece and excited to show it in my portfolio. After looking through my journals, I moved on to picking a word and trying to write a poem about it. The word I used for “The Change” was seasons. Honestly, this is my least favorite poem. I still like it but I just feel as if it has been done before. I do like how I started each stanza off referring to the door. Honestly, in this poem other than a little bit of punctuation there were few changes. Moving to the next poem, again, I decided to pick a word and this time it was, “boyfriend.” Oh boy, I could go about a hundred different directions with this poem. Since the word is so broad, I decided I wanted to try and rhyme to hopefully catch and keep the reader’s attention. I ended up and deciding to repeat a stanza which I thought proved very effective. This is not a poem of my life even though I refer to “blonde, just like me.” I just thought, blonde, sounded the best there. I was also very happy with the final result of this poem. For final poem, I decided to write about something very important in my life. Well, thinking about life the most important thing to me is family. With my family as the main ingredient in my life, I decided to write a recipe about it. The first title I had was, “Together,” and none of my groups seemed very impressed. I kept re-reading the poem and then the title came to me. The final title I decided was, “The Perfect Measure,” and it seems just right. At first I did not realize that I had “perfect” in front of mother and I am glad this was pointed out to me. (maybe it just felt right because she is the mother of the household) I decided to take this out and just leave perfect in the last line, that’s where it belongs and is most powerful. In the end, I have grown to love the poems. I worked hard in making these absolute masterpieces. Whether it is from using a journal prompt, picking a random word, or picking a big

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part of my life; I found a way to write five different poems. Now I am excited to re-read over all of my works of art from the semester and put them all together into one finished product!

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At the Beginning (Rough drafts) Non-fiction: Original Drafts Prompt #3: Try This 2.8 Thirteen Thirteen is an unlucky number and while I was thirteen I did not have the best of luck. During this summer we decided to go white water rafting as a family. The first two hours went great and were so much fun! Then it all went downhill from there. There was a huge rapid coming our way and I braced myself for the rough ride. To my surprise our boat was not ready for this. We went over a rock and our boat went sideways. I vividly remember hearing both of my sisters screeching at the top of their lungs. My dad was on the opposite side of the boat as me and when we flipped he came crushing towards me. My dad’s face was ghost white and his eyes seemed to be protruding out of his head. My dad cannot swim so literally his life-jacket was his life-saver. The last thing I smelled was the fresh water and that was when I went under. I opened my eyes and they started to sting and I could not see anything. I started to thrash my arms just hoping to take another breath of air. I did not do anything my instructor told me because he said if I was ever stuck under water in a current do not move, so the current will pop you out. I vividly remember thinking this was the end. I was beginning to give up hope. That was when I took another breath. I continued to blink as I realized I was back above the water. I felt my head and realized I lost my helmet. I could hear people yelling in the distance, “I see her, I see her!” I heard my guide yell at me to pay attention and try to swim towards his voice. I ended up next to the boat and they pulled me in. My mom was the first to embrace me and I did not want her to let go. I continued to cough and gasp. I was shivering from 41


being cold or scared or both. To this day I am scared to hold my breath underwater for very long; this childhood incident has had a lasting effect on my life.

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The Letter Dear Dad, Are you ready? Today is the big day! No worries I am more nervous than you, I promise. My hands are shaking so bad that I had to type this letter instead of write it. I do not know why I am so nervous. But, I am going to have the death grip on your arm as we take those steps down the aisle. But dad, remember he will never replace you, you have always been the number one guy in my life, please never forget that. I just want to start from the beginning. I have heard stories that you wished and prayed that I was a boy, but just your luck another girl. A dad of three girls, aren’t you lucky! To be honest though you could never trade me for a son now, right? Somehow I turned out very similar you. Scary. I was different from my sisters growing up but that is because I have a little bit more of you in me. They followed mom’s footsteps and loved to read, write, and play school. I was just the opposite and it was like pulling teeth just to get me to read. I just wanted to be outside playing games and chasing Penny around. I have been at your side picking up sticks, planting the garden and even carrying wood in the house. Growing up I followed in your footsteps. As I grew older you helped me discover my love for sports. Probably before I could even pick up a softball you were teaching me how to throw. You and mom were my biggest fans and starting in first grade you were at ninety-nine percent of my games. Not only softball but you supported me in soccer, track, band, volleyball, and basketball. That is a lot of time sitting on the bleachers but looking back it still means the world to me. Remember when we went to state for CYO basketball! You definitely won coach of the year. Thank you for always supporting me. When I went to college it was so different. A change I was not ready for. We spent a lot of time together during my first eight-teen years and even in silence I loved your company. You

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no longer being around is what hurt me. I was not there to drive around and run errands in the truck. We could no longer watch the Bengals together. I lost someone that was always around and I took that for granted. But, remember junior year when you finally received a cell phone. Then I felt like I talked to you on the phone at least once a week and you also became quite the texting champion. We have stayed close through college and I know you will always keep me updated on the sporting events at Marion Local. We have had a good life together but I am ready to start the next chapter in mine. No worries, you will still be one of the main characters. Mom and you have been the best parents a kid could ask for. It is weird to talk about but I know you will be the best grandpa to my children. You will be their numbers one fans in life as well. Dad, I love you so much and thank you for walking me down the aisle today. I will be seeing you soon! Daddy’s little girl, Nicole

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Fiction: Original Drafts The Thinker “Polly, Polly!” Bad morning First day of pre-school POLLY ARE YOU ALIVE In the lunch room there sat the dreaded peas on her plate. Now at home if the meal is not finished she cannot have her dessert. Polly stares at the brownie on the other side of the plate and wonders what would happen if she ate that first. Nope I can’t do that! Mom will know. She always knows. Contemplating this problem it was decided she better just feed it to her dog, Eddie, who is always under the dinner table. So as sly as she could, Polly slipped the food under the table and let it drop. The little peas rolled and bounced all over the floor. My zipper it just won’t move. No worries I am brilliant. I’ll put them on backwards and then no one will notice. So Polly squats low to the floor making sure nobody is in the bathroom to realize her perfect idea. Luckily, the bathroom is empty. Polly proceeds and turns her pants around

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Home Another party. Another spill. Another person falling down my steps. Once again the red and blue flashing lights appeared through the windows. Would these boys ever learn? Try not to let so many people inside; I am literally going to collapse. It appears they are bringing boxes inside. Then, under my roof they are gone. Finally, those filthy boys decided they had enough of me. Thank goodness. The long months of winter it was always cold as ice in here and with all the dirt; I am surprised they could still see me. They just one day decided it was time, and packed up and left. Peace and quiet, at last. But, the feeling of abandonment swept through me. Now what? I may have a leaky roof and paper thin walls but I am still here standing strong. They could not just leave me like this. I felt so alone. Then they showed up, all six of them! High squeaky voices, now this was going to take some getting used to. They filled up their buckets and rolled up their sleeves. Never have I ever been given such a make-over. My walls filled with color. Then, ‘ouch.’ Oh, the holes in the wood. They hurt me one nail at a time and not just in one place. These girls decided to cause injury to every part of me. Finally, I had enough of them. I decided they could not just come in here and beat on me. First, I tried to back up the water. It was just a harmless trick to scare these, a little too cheerful, girls away. My water started gurgling in both sides of the sink. I laughed inside as they took buckets of water out one after another. Now this will scare them away. Negative. They called someone who probably called someone else to be here to mess with my pipes. So, in the end I had to come up with a new plan.

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Next I brought on the leaky roof. I decided I would just let a little bit of water through to scare the girls back to their parents. Nope they all just looked up at me and laughed. This was no joke. Why are they not crying? Then another repair man came to solve the problem. Fail number two. Finally, I had it the ultimate evacuation method. I would mess with their internet. Let us see how these ladies deal with this problem. I am telling you, they have a repair man on twentyfour hour speed dial. Ridiculous. That is when I made the ultimate decision. If I could not fight them off I had to join them. Never have I surrendered to my tenants. But, just between you and me I have learned to love these girls. I may be slowly falling apart but it is the warmth of this family inside, it keeps me alive.

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From the Outside The tall, lanky old man was watching a little ranch house from the distance. He had a bit of gray in his beard. It was a beautiful April day with not a cloud in the sky. The house looked quite and almost vacant and the viewer wondered what the family was up to today. All of the sudden three, what appeared, little girls came running out of the house screaming. His first thought was; is the house on fire? Should I go help? The onlooker stood still debating what to do. The girls started scrambling around the house. He could not tell but maybe they were on fire. His next thought was; where are the parents of these girls? They could not be home alone, they were too young. They continued to scream and run around filling the quite spring air. The man watching decided to move closer. As the man could see what was going on a little better, he realized the house was not on fire but he could not figure out why the children were running away. That’s when the parents came out and the girls seemed to scramble from them as well. His next thought was that they finally escaped from being held in the house. Now he debated if he needed to save these girls from their parents. He again was stuck in his tracks not knowing what to do. The dad was holding something in his hands. The onlooker just could not figure out what it was. It did not look like a gun and it better not be because he keeps pointing it at the screaming girls. The viewer had had enough and decided to come even closer to know for sure what was happening. Now the stranger to the girls was in the yard next to the old, ranch house. That was when he saw the truth of the situation. There were colorful specks all over the yard and each of the girls had a basket. The dad was holding a video camera watching his little girls running around picking up every single Easter egg in the yard. That is when the man remembered it was Easter Sunday. These girls were not on fire, not being abused, but just finding what the Easter bunny

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left them. The viewer was ashamed to think that something bad was happening because looking at the parents’ faces he knew they loved those three little girls. Finally, all the eggs had been picked up and all of the girls were running back to their parents showing off there treasures. They did a group hug and the dad kissed each of them on the forehead. It was a picture perfect moment.

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Poems: Original Drafts I’ll Never Forget She held me close, She was there when I cried, She watched me with those loving eyes, In the home I’ll never forget. I took my first steps, I tried my first cereal, I was potty-trained, In the home I’ll never forget. He taught me how to throw, He showed me how to drive, He was there to catch me fall, In the home I’ll never forget. I will always love that house. Even if I go far away, I will always come back. In the home I’ll never forget.

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Too Perfect The man of the house, he was the big shot. Everybody wanted him, kind or not. He chose me. Why? I don’t know. They said I was lucky, I went with the show. He took me out, a time or two. We laughed a lot, that’s when I knew. He was my prince, the man of my dreams. How could it be so perfect, Even at the seams. Of course, it was no fairy-tale. Not a perfect ending, but a big fail. He had another, blonde just like me. I should have opened my eyes, so that I could truly see. The man of the house, of course he needs more. I was not good enough. That’s when my heart tore. I hurt for a long time, left him by his door. He was very angry, called me a stupid whore. He chose me, Why? I don’t know. They said I was lucky, I went with the show. 51


I put up my walls, cried myself to sleep. I learned my lesson, because he broke me.

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The Change The cold rushes over me as the door swings open, Oh no, it can’t be that time of year again. The crystal, white mysteries float to the ground. I sadly realize they are here to stay.

I crack the door, with an ounce of hope. The smell of flowers fills my nose. Hooray, for the change as light floods in. Back to the time when everything is green again.

Up is the screen door letting everything through. Warm winds blow the sweat on my brow. The grass is turning brown with thirst. These long days of sun have hit them the worse.

It’s about time to swing the door shut again. The leaves are creating mounds on the ground. The campfire smell is nearing an end. Roast your last marshmallow, before hibernation starts again.

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In Trouble “Where have you been all night, little missy? I’ve been pacing around this house like a dam fool!” Her face is white as she stands looking like a dear in headlights. “Well, don’t you have anything to say for yourself? No, I do not want to hear any excuses, you should have called.” She pulls the phone out of her pocket, as the shatter glass falls to the floor. “O, so you broke your phone as well? Have I not raised you better than that?” She just shrugs her shoulders and opens her mouth. “Do you realize how worried I was about you? I called all your friends and their parents!” She closes her mouth and looks down at her feet. “So now you have nothing to say for yourself?” I almost called the cops, I was so worried.” She just shrugs onto the chair and tears fill her eyes. “What? Now you want me to feel sorry for you? You are going to be grounded for a few years little miss.” She begins to shake as her sobs pierce the air. “Fine, do you want to finally explain yourself? Please go ahead, this ought to be good.” She doesn’t speak as tears pool on the floor. “Wait, honey is everything okay? You are home now.” But, now the mom notices, the bruise on her eye, the scratches covering her arms, and the blood running down her legs.

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Together A cup of orneriness, a dash of stubbornness, and two sleeping pills. Creates the recipe of a father.

A cup of intelligence, a gallon of love, and a hint of discipline. Makes the perfect mother.

A tablespoon of leadership, a sprinkle of temper and 2 cups of happiness. Bakes to be the sister.

A handful of protecting, a teaspoon of gladness, and a bit of crabbiness. Stirred together becomes a brother.

Never forget the most important part. Add the father and the mother, Don’t forget the sister and brother. It always creates the perfect combination. 55


In the end, this was an amazing journey. I am still at the beginning of my life and trying to slowly figure it out. Looking back this is another accomplishment. I have one more year left to show Ball State who I am; it’s still time to chirp . . .

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It's Still Time to Chirp  

Nicole Schwieterman This is a collection of nonfiction, fiction, and poems pieces. I am very happy with my works and hope you enjoy!

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