I guess you could say I'm in a bit of a nostalgic mood; why else would I aimlessly skim through every Word document I've made in the past 11 years? Regardless, I found several discoveries to be interesting.
I apologize in advance for the length of this blog post – it contains excerpts from stories and essays I've written over the past 11 years of my life.
Pelican Marsh Elementary School:
2000 : The Soccer Game
In the second grade, I 'published' a personal attempt at a novel – entitled The Soccer Game. It was loosely based on real people, with the protagonist being my best friend at the time – Andrew. It was a modest 8 pages long – each soccer match only took up one paragraph. Talk about attention to detail!
One trademark of the story was someone kicking the soccer ball halfway around the world, hitting someone on the head, and the ball nonchalantly bouncing back to the United States. I like to think of myself as a 'realist'.
Copies were sold to classmates and friends – primarily interested in reading how their friends were portrayed. At a dime per copy, I made a 'killing'.
2001: "Pizza Pizza!"
While I have no idea the purpose of the following essay, I will say that I enjoyed finding it hidden on my external hard drive.
I enter my neighbors mansion. The mansion is said to be haunted. There has not been anyone in the mansion for years. A door that is always shut is open a crack. I decide to venture in the door. I see, feel and smell many things. I cannot believe what I see!
As I enter, I see many unusual, large posters on the walls. When I gaze at them, I notice they say Bob’s Pizzeria. Then, I go into the kitchen and see many telescopes. I also notice many piles of lettuce. I wonder what lettuce is for in a pizzeria.
As I’m staring at the lettuce, a person with a chef’s hat comes over to me. I look at the lettuce stacks and I see a piece of lettuce disappearing! I blink and stare at a turtle that is staring back at me. I gaze to the left of the turtle and see an owl sitting on some pizza ingredients with a telescope. I notice the owl is inspecting the toppings for bacteria.
Then, I realize how good it smells. An aroma of pizza is in the air like clouds in the sky. Furthermore, it smells like lettuce, tomato and bread are gliding in the air. When I took a deep sniff, I also smelled a little pasta. How wonderful it smelled!
As I exit, I feel a little sad. I wonder if I will ever see the magnificent pizzeria again. Who knows? Maybe someday, I will!
Note to parents: Was I ever tested for ADD?
2001 Continued: The Soccer Game 2
After receiving positive reactions for the original, 'The Soccer Game', and having a desire for even more money in my pocket, my budding entrepreneur self soon 'self-published' my second novel – 'The Soccer Game 2'.
This sequel was more than double the length of the original – a whopping 17 pages. Not much changed in comparison to the original – except for the price. Blaming 'inflation', I charged a full quarter for each copy. Not only did I use up 2 reams of my dad's paper, but I efficiently made enough money to buy a Game Boy Color!
2002: Letter to a Penpal
Hi, I love puzzles.
I just got a 3D 912 piece puzzle.It will probably take me a month to do.My biggest puzzle ever done is 1700 pieces
My pet cat Henry is so cool!
He does 2 back flips in a row.
Once I scared him and he jumped 3 feet straight up.
Your key pal,
I don't blame my penpal for never writing back…
2003: The Soccer Game
Two years later, it was time for an overhaul of my original series. I spent countless hours during the summer, and early in fifth grade I published a revamped 'The Soccer Game'.
This time I sextupled (that's a real word) the original length – making it a 42 page novelette. An excerpt follows:
One cloudy Sunday, Andrew laid in his bed thinking about all the things he could do. He could try to drown his pet fish, or play soccer with his best friend Trey. He eventually decided on the last option.
After he called and Trey said, “Yes,” Andrew headed toward Trey’s house. As he was coming over, he didn’t notice a soccer ball flying over his head that was kicked by Trey.
At that second Operation Pigsfeet was starting. Ralph Pigsfeet was the #1 on the CIA’s most wanted list and everyone in the CIA was looking for him. “OPERATION PIGSFEET IS NOW COMENCING,” a CIA general said. “We have successfully gotten a tracking device on Ralph. We also have a $50,000,000 radar that will pinpoint his exact location. Only one is in existence! Here it is!” Then he went to hand an agent the radar. At that exact second, Trey’s soccer ball broke into the room, hit the radar and broke it, and then bounced out of the room on its journey toFlorida.
By this time Andrew was at Trey’s house, the ball was there. Andrew said, “Nice kick.”
Andrew then started to play goalie. Trey kicked the ball so hard it caught on fire. Then they watched as the flaming soccer ball soared over their heads.
The very second Trey had kicked the soccer ball; a scientist had discovered the solution to global warming. The scientist hastily wrote the solution down on a piece of paper so he would not forget it because he has a short term memory. Once he was done writing the solution, he held the paper high up in the sky and screamed, “YES! After 15 long years, I finally did it!” As he was doing this, however, a flaming soccer ball zoomed at the piece of paper and burned it to a crisp. The flaming soccer ball then bounced into the ocean and returned to North America.
As you can see, I had a sadistic sense of humor even back then. Copies sold for $.50, but sales were halted after I was kicked out of the media center for using too much paper.
I'm currently thinking about revamping the series yet again – this time making it a full length novel for elementary/middle school students to enjoy.
Pine Ridge Middle School:
2004: Miscellaneous Pretentious Essay
In my 6th grade English class, we had to write our opinion of 'the most important character trait' . I thought my teacher would be impressed if I used synonyms for every word (besides prepositions).
Occasionally in existence you are obliged to compose a pronouncement whether to perform the pleasant or the malicious deed. Kindness… the paranormal personality characteristic! The cosmos might be such a superior location if one and all were compassionate. Merely envision, every human being existing in sympathy.
Just see in your mind's eye, being capable to thumb a lift wherever you crave for, reminiscent of 50 years in the past. Furthermore, if you were to gaze upon a news channel on the television, all you see virtually is heartless citizens. That and an immense extent additional possibly could occur if each and every person in the human race was benevolent. Not any longer would you be obligatory to bawl on your personal shoulders because no one is present to soothe you. Simply consider… if each person in humanity was sympathetic.
This essay taught me an important writing lesson – "Simple is best."
2005: Potatoes vs. Spaghetti
In the 7th grade, my English teacher gave us a list of persuasive essay topics to choose from- including school uniforms, co-ed schools, and serving fast food in school. Bored with the topics, I asked my teacher if I could come up with my own.
"Like what?" she asked me in a semi-mocking voice.
Without any delay, I suggested the first thing that popped into my head, "Potatoes vs. spaghetti?"
She quickly cast my suggestion aside by saying, "Are you kidding me?"
Obviously I wasn't, for the following day I came in with the following essay:
In a dark, gloomy world, there was once a time where spaghetti was preferred more than potatoes. But this is a new era. Potatoes can be cooked many ways, have a unique taste all their own and can be used as projectiles. A world full of potatoes begins now!
During the medieval ages, people thought that potatoes were a fatal poison. People stayed away from potatoes like oil and vinegar in a salad dressing. However today, that rumor has been disproved and the legacy lives on. Potatoes can be cooked in numerous different ways. They can be fried, baked, mashed, creamed, liquefied and boiled. Meanwhile, spaghetti can be boiled and fried. How boring! Potatoes are a much better invention then spaghetti!
MMM MMM GOOD! Potatoes can have many different tastes. In the Spanish dish papas frites, potatoes have a fiery Mexican flair that will excite your taste buds. Furthermore, French fries provide a British crunch that is delicious with a little quantity of salt sprinkled on them. Last, baking potatoes, then slicing them open and adding mango salsa is just plain scrumptious. In addition, you couldn’t survive if you ate only pasta for a long time since pasta does not supply many nutrients. You could survive off of eating a potato a day since they’re full of nutrients like homework in school! There is just no comparison between potatoes and spaghetti.
If you’re allergic to potatoes but you have a few in your fridge, have no fear, they can be put to a good use. After all, who needs weapons when you can just have a potato gun? If you hit someone with a potato, you get the added bonus of humiliating the person you hit which spaghetti couldn’t do for you. For an added flair, bake it in the oven, then it will explode upon contact like you shot a rubber band at a light bulb. Meanwhile, let’s look at spaghetti. Is there something called a spaghetti gun? I don’t think so. This is living proof that potatoes are superior to spaghetti.
*This article was sponsored by the Potato Farmers of America.
My teacher regretted ever doubting me.
2006: It was a Perfect Lift Off
The only guidelines to writing this nonfiction piece in Mrs. Roll's class was that it had to begin with the quote, "It was a perfect lift off."
It was a perfect lift off. Amy felt the ground around her shaking. She felt as if she was on an airplane that was inverted. Then she started to feel queasy.
“I guess I shouldn’t have eaten mom’s tuna surprise,” Amy said. She then went to open a window to get some fresh air.
“OH…MY…” Amy was too bamboozled to speak. She was out in outer space, orbiting the earth. She picked up her pet cat. As she stroked him she said, “We aren’t in Florida anymore, Fuzzy!”
Then something perplexing happened. Her cat slowly began to morph into her dad. She hadn’t seen her dad for years! “DAD!” she said. Amy went over to her dad and gave him a big hug.
Amy suddenly woke up. She was sweating fervently. Eight years ago, when she was 5, her dad mysteriously vanished. Everyone told her that her dad must have died but she refused to listen. She was the only one that didn’t give up hope. She was certain that one day, she would find her dad.
One week passed. She had the same dream every night. Each night it got increasingly vivid and realistic. However, on the 7th night, something astonishing happened. Her cat, Fuzzy, whispered to her, “Daughter, you are the only one that believes in me. If you want to find me, lightly punch the brick on the chimney, the one that says DO NOT PUNCH on it.”
“That’s convenient,” Amy said.
Then she woke up. Amy thought for a while and then she went to the chimney. Her heart raced as she saw sign that said “DO NOT PUNCH,” on it. Amy thought of what could happen. The house could detonate, something could happen to her cat, or anything bad could happen. She shuddered, and lightly punched the brick.
“Well… that’s a relief!” Amy said. Nothing happened. She spoke too soon. All of a sudden, her house jolted upwards and into the atmosphere. Amy fainted.
While there isn't anything spectacular about this essay, I find it intriguing because it's the first one where I notice my 'voice'.
Barron Collier High School
2007: Turtle Monologue
This turtle monologue was written 20 minutes before it was due during my drama class early freshman year. I thought it would get me a decent grade – little did I know that Ms. J would notice my potential lying beneath the surface and 'force' me to get involved in drama club by performing it on-stage.
Looking back there's many things I would change about it, but nostalgia makes it one of my favorites.
Well… I don’t know… where to start… My turtle girlfriend, she dumped me yesterday. (beat) She said I was moving too fast. But I loved her, so I decided to make her jealous to try to win her back. So I got in my car, and went to check out the turtles at the beach. When I got to the beach, I immediately found myself a foxy turtlette. I went up to her cooly and said, “Are you a parking ticket?”
“Huh? I like muffins.”
“I… realize that… but are you a parking ticket? Because you got fine written all over you!”
“Like… I don’t get it.”
“Whatever idiot, want to go to the movies?”
Well… then she called 911 on me and said she was getting turtlenapped.
After the police let me go, I went to the movies to try to hook another turtle. There wasn’t any especially attractive turtles… the movie theatre was empty. Well… there was… this one turtle. She would make a gorilla look sexy. Anyways, I went up to her, stroked her undershelly, and said, “I may not be Taco Bell, but I sure can spice up your night.” Well… then I realized… she was a… 500 pound male sumo wrestling turtle.
That’s all I remember God; did I make it to heaven?
2008: The Million Dollar Muffin
In my sophomore year I undertook one of my more ambitious projects – writing a parody musical one-act show. This built on my previous turtle character, but added a full storyline, singing, and rap. This one-act never performed, but won the Critics' Choice award at our district playwriting festival.
Following is the prologue to the show:
(CHORUS comes onstage with a boom box. CHORUS puts it down and presses play. CHORUS breaks into a rap.)
Two muffins, both licked by Zeus,
In fair Paris, where our play's set loose.
Ancient blueberries break to new flavor,
Uncivil soup makes civil hands unbraver.
Forth the almost fatalness of this foe,
Some crazy chef tries to take a life.
No misadventure piteous overthrows,
Do with that muffin bury their woes.
The fearful passage of the French marked chef,
His annoying accent makes you wanna go deaf.
The continuance of the Spanish scam,
Which wastes the money of the man.
Thirty minutes of your life you'll spend.
What here shall miss
Our toil shall mend.
Hint: This prologue parodies one of Shakespeare's most famous shows.
Following the success of last year's 'The Million Dollar Muffin', I wrote a new parody musical (using only Broadway songs) based upon the story 'Alice in Wonderland'.
My idea of explaining the back-story to all the 'Alice in Wonderland' characters was good, yet certain aspects in my plot were left lacking. It was also caught in the middle ground – not absurdist theatre like my last piece, yet nowhere near realist.
It received critical reviews at competition, but despite my unhappiness at the time, I have come to realize that most of their criticism was the truth. Now I see facing rejection was an important learning experience.
2009: Sea Turtle Essay
Mr. Humphrey – my marine biology teacher – didn't know what he was in for when he told me it was okay to 'be creative' when writing a sea turtle research paper.
As I chill with my bale of fellow sea turtles, I overhear a joke which is said by Ralph the loggerhead turtle. He jokes around and says the following: “Last Sunday I went out to eat with my girlfriend. We got all dressed up; we thought that we were going to have one “shell of a time!” At the restaurant, my girlfriend said that she’d like to order some soup for me- the turtle. The idiotic waiter brought my girlfriend and me a bowl of turtle soup. My girlfriend then said, “Hold the turtle! Make it pea!” Our bale, which is a group of sea turtles, laughs and then proceeds to happily consume a smack of jellyfish. As I eat lunch, I wondrously ponder my ever interesting life. Not only do we loggerheads have the largest funny bones of the sea turtles, but we also are one of the most interesting and most unique turtles ever to be studied by humans.
I am currently enrolled in Mr. Crush’s elementary school class and am in the class Reptilia. My name is Squirt Cheloniidae; Cheloniidae is my family name. My genus sounds similar to what I ate for dinner last night; Caretta. Nerdy scientists usually call my species Caretta caretta. (Alderton, 2005).
2010: Brandeis Supplement
2010 was the year of college applications… my first year of them that is.
While I decided against applying to Brandeis University for the Fall of 2012, I highly enjoyed writing their following supplement:
Topic: If you could choose to be raised by robots, dinosaurs, or aliens, who would you pick? Why?
Sitting on fences merely makes men indecisive. Although redundant, this expression holds true.. Personally, I’d much rather stand on fences than sit on them. I know what I want, and I want what I like. Therefore, if I had to make a decision between being raised by robots, aliens, or dinosaurs; I would without a doubt choose to be raised by 'robotic aliensaurs'.
When hypothetically answering a hypothetical question, why stop at one set of imaginary parents when you can possess all three? By being raised by 'robotic aliensaurs', I would truly get the best of all three worlds. Upon waking, I would have a robotic machine tending to my every whim and desire. After a completely automated six course breakfast, I would learn to soar through the sky with “papa” pterodactyl, and would take singing classes in the afternoon from the A Land Before Time dinosaurs. After dinner, “auntie” alien would teach me how to control minds, and together we would figure out how to take over the world with the aliens from Independence Day.
As a fence standing yet decisive individual, I would choose all three choices because when it comes to robots, aliens, and dinosaurs; the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts.
Needless to say, I was accepted.
2010: International Sequel Writing Competition
Late in my junior year, Ms. J helped me enter competition with over 24,000 other participants. The competition gave our school free copies of the Montooth book series, and gave us the challenge of reading and writing a page of ideas for the book sequel. I did so, and several months later found out I was runner-up in the competition.
And a Special Achievement for Student Avery Segal…
Although only one entry could be selected as the Overall Winner, Managing Editor Meghan S. Christian is also pleased to announce that she is citing 11th grade student Avery Segal of Barron Collier High School in Naples, FL for Special Achievement on his remarkably well written entry with extensive plot developments. Congratulations to both Avery and his teacher, Ms. Johnston!
My blog and YES Abroad scholarship have helped me accomplish one of my long-term goals – writing more. A recap of 2011 is forthcoming, but I do want to say that I've had a blast writing- and especially love reading people's comments while I'm abroad.
Thank you – to all of my faithful readers.