Tuesday, May 17. 2011
Grooveshark Playlist for those still checking the blog; the original music suggestion is now at the end of the list.
NOTE: Two songs (Bon Iver's "Blood Bank" and the Heligoats' "Fish Sticks") have been removed due to the presence of an obscenity in each. ("Fish Sticks" originally went between "Truth Is" and "Brittlesticks," while "Blood Bank" was the second-to-last song.)
Just as with your original creative writing threads, I'd like you to take something from ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him as a starting point – a setting, a character (you can invent another one based on that figure), a theme, a plot point, a particularly beautiful image or line of dialogue/prose – and run from there.
The usual guidelines – use fairly school-appropriate language, edit your work, present a piece that’s substantially profound enough to reward your reader for their time, etc. – remain in place. The only new requirement is that your writing must be inspired in some way by Rivera's work; whether this inspiration comes from his language, characters, stories, or themes is entirely up to you.
You may write poetry or prose, fiction or facts (or some mix of the two). You can write from a variety of perspectives – first-, second-, third-, hybrid, etc. You can use dialogue. You can establish a contemporary setting, or set it in another time and place entirely. You can experiment with form, style, and voice; in fact, I encourage you to do so, because anyone who wants to write well – at any level – as an adult needs to seem both versatile and natural. (Plots, themes, and characters seem like they should be just as difficult to master, but you’d be surprised how easily those ideas can strike; form, style, and voice require practice, and it takes a while for these to become as organic as the stories they serve.)
For example, you can continue the story in the first vignette from its true conclusion – the day the boy stops drinking the water. You can take “A Prayer” and boil it into a poem – or use the desperation, love, longing, and guilt that lines the story as your subject. You could do something entirely different!
At the end of your piece, please explain the source of your inspiration (for example, “Inspired by “The Children Couldn’t Wait”). If you want, you can even explain how your work relates to the story – what about “The Children Couldn’t Wait inspired you to write? You may or may not choose to reveal exactly what is going on in your work, or whether what you have written is real; again, the choice is yours.
People who wish to submit anonymous work to the blog should speak with me. I may want to toss in a couple short pieces of my own, so you really don't need to worry about anyone finding out who wrote post #59. (For all anyone knows, it could be me.)
Rivera proves (quite effectively) in “Vignette #1” that you can pack a lot of meaning into a very small space. If you're writing something short, make sure it has that sort of depth! (I’m concerned mainly with effort, content, and skill – not with the amount of writing on the page. So don’t get tied up in whether what you wrote is long or short enough; write as much as you feel you need to write in order to get your point across to the audience!)
The example I used before is simple: If you have a cheeseburger, wrapping it in a bunch of cotton candy doesn’t help. Needless fluff is needless fluff, especially when there’s a perfectly good burger hiding underneath everything else. (For that matter, don’t forget to add cheese and a bun just because you don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into making the burger!) Find your cheeseburger, figure out how to present it, and sit back and enjoy watching your fellow classmates marvel at your creation!
Finally, I want you to provide feedback when you see your classmates’ work. Congratulate them! Praise them! Ask them questions! Please respond to at least five or six of them, or more if possible; there’s no comment limit for this thread, so if you feel like talking to your peers, follow your instincts! (You can even do this for anonymous commenters; they’ll be reading the thread to see how you respond.)
Your post is due before 11:59pm on Thursday, May 19th. I'll collect nominations Friday, as per the usual. If you won't be at school, please submit your nominations via e-mail.
Although I'm asking you to reply to more people than usual, I am still only requiring written feedback for two of your peers. I encourage you to converse more extensively if you have the time, energy, and wherewithal to do so.
Write well, think well, and – as always – good luck.
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To my Dearest Mama,
For years now you have been leaving water under the bed. You have been protecting our family. You have been falling more and more into your beliefs. You have raised me to believe in God as well. I mean in a sense, I guess you thinking the spirits are drinking the water every night, it would only make your belief grow stronger. You truly believe your helping to secure our place in heaven. You’re making sure we are pleasing the lord. You have believed with all your heart that every night the spirits come in to drink the water, but that isn’t the whole truth.
Mama, I have to tell you something. I don’t know how to tell you what I’m thinking. How do I do this without destroying you, and me? Mama I want you to know I love you. I want you to know that it was because I love you so much. I was so sad that that you were sad. I just wanted you to be happy mama.
You know the first time I did it, I felt guilty. I didn’t sleep that night because, because I wasn’t sure what would happen in the morning. I didn’t know if you were going to be mad; but in the morning the guilt went away. For the first time when you looked under my bed you smiled. You smiled, hugged, me kissed my head, and then our day began like normal. So, I did again, and again. It was kinda fun at first; but then it got hard. I just don’t think I can keep my secret anymore.
Mama, I’m the spirit that drinks the water every night…
Inspiration: Vignette #1.
I knew what the he was going to say, but I didn't know when he would say it. I was sure it'd be in the first paragraph, but it didn't even happen until the end. I really like the way you worded the revelation; it leaves a lingering feeling that I can't accurately describe.
I'm glad that you got that feeling. That's kind of what I wanted people to feel. I knew people would know it was coming, but I wanted it to leave you feeling, Wrong.
Shelby, I too was interested in the way you were going to have the boy tell his mom. The way you beated around the bush a little then going straight into it, sounds exactly how a child would do so. I loved the way your punctuation helps to tell the boy’s story! Great job!
Wow Shelby I love that it's in a letter, that this reflects how the child is to afarid to confront his mother in person, so he does in a letter! Throughout all of it I was thinking "When is he going to tell her? Why isn't he saying it?" but it just an example of how terrified the child is telling her, how anxious he is to come out with it...so he side tracks a little. But at the end he ended with it, I think this suits it better because it's like closure then just having it in the middle. He at the end, finally releases his darkest secret and guilt he's been holding onto so long...he's free finally! Thank you for sharing this with us, Shelby!
Wow! I am just caught staring at that last line. That line has so much meaning that I can't even describe. The way that you say "I'm the spirit that drinks the water every night..." is so powerful. You could have easily said "I was the one who drank the water." But by saying "I'm the spirit..." it just gives you that weird tingly feeling inside you. Great job!
This letter you wrote really expresses the innocent of the child. While reading this letter, I hear a little boys voice inside me head. I guess if I were a doing something really guilty, I would too write a letter to tell my mother what I did wrong but in this era I would mostly use email and then avoid her calls.
Thanks to everyone who commented! I'm so glad that I got my major points across. It makes me happy to know that my vision was shared with others!!
This was a really impacting piece. Not to get boringly technical but i think that the repetition of the word "mama" really emphasized the point that it was a child that was finally admitting his actions to his mother.
If you have time, i would love to read how you would think that mother would respond to reading this letter. It would be a fascinating read.
This is amazing! When I read this vignette at home, it didn't really impact me, perhaps I was reading it during a commercial break. When Mr. Feraco read it to us in class, and explained the deeper meaning of the story, and how it has nearly 50 themes, I saw the importance of the scene. Your letter brings out the same type of importance and structure, and it's written very similar to the actual vignette. I liked how you didn't just get to the point, like in the story, you rant on, before getting to the point.
How interesting I was just listening to Tupac's Dearest Mama Song then reading this emotional approach towards the mothers of our lives. Thanks for bringing about the importance of the mom's who cares and protects us.
Wow, this was such an interesting blog. I really enjoyed reading this letter and seeing how the boy finally told his mother the truth. It was a great idea how the boy kept telling his mama that he loved her and he cared about her a lot to make her feel adored and then break the news to her. Great work!
shelby, this is really amazing. You've captured all the boys feelings perfectly. I love how you put it in a letter as if he left it for his mother after he had left.
This is really powerful.
I like the last line - it's hard to explain but it seems to me the most direct but fitting way to let out the secret.
“The Spirits! I hear you!” the mother whispered as she jumped from bed. She tippytoed towards the door and peaked over the brim. Her frail eyes could only deduct a bleak silhouette of the spirit. She rubbed her eyes frantically so she could finally see with her own eyes, a spirit. As her eyes opened, her heart suddenly sank. It was her son standing before her, drinking the water to the very last drop. The boy whispered to himself “I'm sorry mom, please forgive me.” Her face was pale with no emotion. She waddled back to her room ever so quietly to make sure she wasn't heard. She crawled into her bed motionless, wondering what had happened. She thought to herself “maybe he was just really thirsty that’s all.” She thought it was a viable option since the summer nights were sometimes unbearable. The mother said to herself “It had to be, he had to be thirsty, why would he drink the spirit’s water?” The next night the mom awoke to a sudden noise. “Aha! The spirits! You’re back!” she exclaimed as she ran out of bed. As she peaked over the brim of the wall she couldn't believe her eyes. It was her son standing before her, drinking the water to the very last drop. The mother snuck up on her child day after day for weeks, yet she could never accept what was going on. What the son never knew was that every night she would watch him drink the water, and everyday her heart would sink. The son believed that he was fulfilling his duty by helping his mom, but in reality he was stripping his mother of the only thing she truly had.
Inspired by: Vignette #1.
I dont have much more to say than I absolutely love what you wrote. I feel as though I could see this all happening as I read it! Great job.
This is a great piece of writing Tyler! I love how you let the mom realize what was going on. Everything needs something to believe in and it was just stripped away by her son. This was very creative. Great job Tyler!
Ooohh, a twist in the story.
The mother snuck up on her child day after day for weeks, yet she could never accept what was going on.
I like how you wrote that the mother could never accept that her son was drinking the water. Was it because she thought her son was kind-hearted and didn't want her to be disappointed? Or was it because-- like what you commented on Michelle's writing-- she has nothing else but her faith left and she wants to keep it pure, even if it means finding out that there are no spirits? What did you mean when you wrote it? Maybe she was sad because of the situation that they're in, her son had to mature faster than other kids?
The son believed that he was fulfilling his duty by helping his mom, but in reality he was stripping his mother of the only thing she truly had.
It's a sad ending. You make it sound like faith was the only thing she had, like it was tangible, but what about her son?
I love the the imagery you used, Tyler! I felt this is a more vivid and more intimate extension of how Rivera wrought it. I feel your's can connect more to the audience, that you somehow lifted it up to a higher level of detail. I also the incounter with the mother and her son, so beautifully described/presented! Very well done, good sir!
This is really creative because its in the viewpoint no one would really expect. I like how you state that the son thought that he was helping her when in reality, he was stripping of the only thing she had. But then i would have to pose the question, if he were to never drink the water than the mother wouldn't even have the option of refusing to believe what she saw and would just have to accept, staring at the full glass of water, that the spirits never drink the water. The way you made it so that the son would whisper his apologies to his mother really seemed to depict his guilt at his actions. The reversal of your story is truly a fun twist to the vignette.
Wow, this was what I had imagined as I read the story. Often as I read, imagination in my mind takes over and I think of scenarios in which the story doesn't contain but of what I think should happen. I can imagine a shocked mother's face as she watches over her son drinking the water each night...
I love it Tyler! Finishing off the vignette this way was brilliant. A little sad because the mom figured it out and couldn't handle it, but in the end a good ending. Great job Tyler!
This is writing at its best Tyler. You really captured the emotions. Really great work!
If there is a devil, then there must be a god. And isn’t also right to believe that there are angels? But it isn’t so. We suffer. We work in the fields all day, with the sun burning onto our backs and our work unnoticed. We are unnoticed. We have no voice. No one hears our silent screams and yearnings. The angels won’t come to help us because they don’t exist. God does not protect us because He isn't there either. The Devil is only in our imaginations.
Why do we try so hard? Why do we keep believing and hoping that the future will be full of opportunities and happiness? What have we done to deserve this misery and suffering?
We are alone. We may be together, but no one realizes we are here. They don’t hear us. They don’t feel us here. We are not even forgotten. We don’t live, or belong, anywhere. We merely walk and keep on walking. There is no end for us.
Why do we have faith? Why do we turn to hope when we know it may prove fruitless? Why do we trust in God and angels and want to believe in the Devil? Why do we live?
Because we are humans. We live on all these things, hope and faith, like they are food and water. Without them, we are nothing. We would not feel or believe in anything. We will not move on towards the future.
I was inspired by many ideas: the theme of invisibility, loneliness, and faith; the concept of being human and why we believe and hope; and the “…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him” and “A Silvery Night” stories.
Because we are humans. We live on all these things, hope and faith, like they are food and water. Without them, we are nothing. We would not feel or believe in anything. We will not move on towards the future.
That's my favorite section out of your whole piece because it's true. Although hope and faith isn't my food and water, but it's something to believe in. And it may not necessarily be in God or a god (because I don't believe in one, or a specific one, or any at all... I'm not sure yet), but just believing that justice will be served, that good things will happen to good people, and that eventually everything will fall into place is what helps people move on in life. I can't even verbally say why or how believing in good will help me in life, but it sometimes gets me through tough times.
I agree with Juliet, that one passage has such a powerful impact for it is prominent in our society. We all need that hope or faith in order to stay afloat. It acts as a rebound when we have no where else to hide, for our faith will always be by our side.
I agree with Juliet as well. The way that people can find a belief or a faith in some sort of hope in times of great hardship is somewhat perplexing for me. However, i do agree that it is our water. Without it we cannot survive because without hope, tomorrow becomes pointless.
Also, it seemed as if you took on the voice of the child in "And the Earth did not devour him" in the beginning. This piece really brings to light the small questions about the existance of higher beings that people come to think about once in a while.
You did a good job Miguel. I like how true your work is. To some, faith IS their food and water.
Hmm...because my mom used to be Roman Catholic, I used to believe in to some extent the existence of deities. The doubt that your characters express here is similar to a thought that I once had when I was alone in a car many years ago and I've been completely atheist since then: I like the fact that your piece applies to people of various backgrounds. Because we are all humans, I'd say that there are some things that will shake our beliefs.
Wow, I love what Michelle wrote, I agree with what she said, and it was a great story, and i enjoyed reading it
I liked the way you started off. It really came right off the bat. I agree that we live on hope like food and water. Without that single bright light, there would be no reason to live life or to even go to school.
First anonymous post in forever...
Sometimes I feel as if I do not know who I am. I am too many different people. I have no consistent identity. To my teachers, I am a smart girl who can keep a discussion going. To my mom, I am the selfish daughter with an attitude. To my dad, I am absolutely worthless. To my best friends, I am trustworthy. To my boyfriend, I am beautiful yet difficult. To my peers who do not know me well, I am stuck up. To my counselor, I am vulnerable. To guys I first meet, they think I am easy. To my sisters, I am a life-ruiner. To my aunts, uncles, and grandparents, I'm an intelligent "A" student with mounds of self respect and a big future on my shoulders. But to me... I don't know who I am. I never have. I still don't. And I am afraid that I never will.
Everyone's perspectives of me confuse me. Why is my dad's opinion of me and my friend's opinions on me so different? Why do the opinions of my mom and my grandparents stray so far from each other? Whose opinion of me is right? If I cannot form my own opinion of myself, who's am I supposed to go by? I live with my mom and sisters- I've lived with my dad for the majority of my life also. Since they should know me the best, are their opinions correct? I don't feel worthless. I don't feel rude, or selfish, or like I ruined anyone's lives. So are they wrong? Are they right? How do I find out who I am? Who I've been? Who I will be? Does everyone know who they really are? Where does one even begin to figure out who they are? What if I am rude one day, but the next day I feel giving and happy? Which trait describes my personality then? Can personalities and identities change from day to day? Are they supposed to? Would that even make it a true identity?
I want to know who I am. I want to know what will make me happy- what will fulfill all of my needs, and what will bring my true character out. I want to be able to remember all of the terrible things that I've went through, and I want to be able to use it to better myself. I want to make a change in my life- a positive one. I don't want to "make a complete turn...and end up- in the same place." I want someone to ask, "Who are you?" And I want to be able to answer. I am not asking for much- I just want to be defined.
This piece was inspired by the short story "The Lost Year." The short quote I used in my piece is directly from the story. The character in the of this piece has a problem defining himself. He is paranoid and stressed, and everything in his life is uncertain due to his lack of identity. He doesn't know who he is or where he is going, and it is interrupting his entire life. His inability to give definition to his character becomes so bad that he cannot even remember his own name. We all want to be able to be defined and have a distinct identity, and the character in "The Lost Year" and myself are no exception.
I too agree; lacking knowledge in your identity will leave everything else in your life uncertain.
Although, every person has different ideas about your personality, you should take into consideration what part of yourself you leave open to them. For example, your best friends do no live with you, nor share clothes, shoes, hair brushes with you. Therefore since your friends and sisters are exposed to different sides of your personality, they are going to have different views on which you really are. For advice, I believe you are a little bit of who everyone sees in you… how else would each person see the traits if they are absent in you?
I feel the same exact way, I can truly connect with your piece. But maybe we, ourselves, willl be the only ones who know our true selves. You are the only one who will ever know the real you. As I am the only one who will know true self. Even though we wish others would see our potential the way we do, but maybe thats the point. Great work.
hmm... the questions that you pose in your blog excerpt are truly difficult ones. As i read through this, i couldn't help but want to struggle with you through your problems. As i continued to read through your passage, i thought back to the beginning of second semester when Mr. Feraco posed the question of who we are and what defines us to us. For me, it seemed as though he answered it right after he said it.
I think that what he said went something like,
Every action a person takes is a part of them. i do not believe that a person can detach themselves from their actions. If by chance, a kid were to get drunk and drive straight into a tree than no matter how responsible he is at school, what he did and how he acted the night he got drunk is a part of him.
All in all, humans consist of multiple different sides. When you consider what everyone thinks of you , you have to also consider the fact, that everyone individual you have named in your blog is different. Each one of them likes different people so even if you are insufferable - most likely not - to one person, another person may praise you as one of the most perfect people they know.
I would think that the most satisfactory answer can be found when you look into a mirror. Your face shows who you are so if you can, make each different expression and understand how you appear. I think that it would help your solution a lot.
Hmm... well. If nothing i have said really seems to help. Please take consolation in the fact that you are truly a good person. No matter what anyone else may think of you, the fact that you are insecure about yourself and actually care about others, is something only a good person can do. I hope that you will find a satisfactory answer.
Also, sorry if i may have given a ton of useless advice. I understand that what you have written was inspired by a story and you may not really be feeling what you have written, but well... i still hope it helps.
I too felt lost, especially this year. What you wrote about what people thought of you made me cry, not only because it is my exact situation, but because it reminded me what i went through to find myself
I would like to share something with you if you don't mind. I was told things like you and did not know exactly who i was since everyone had different opinions of me. In the end i exploded and broke into tears for hours, and i began to think, deeply and i searched to find within myself who i was.
I realized that there will not just be just one way people view me as, because everyone has different opinions. Some may be true and some may just be things they speak out of there....you know what. The advice i give you is look within yourself and do a self evaluation of yourself. Are you a selfish daughter, or a difficult person. I can assure you that whoever you are you are a beautiful person. Although they are your family sometimes instead of making us feel better about ourselves they make us feel worse without knowing it. So try to find yourself i know that in the end you might be all these things put together or be something completely different, nobody is perfect in others eyes, because what perfection might mean to you might be different from the perfection that others have in mind. If they love you they will accept you for who you are, no exception.
only you know who you really are, all those opinions are just, well opinions and they should not define you. We are all a variety of emotions and characteristics, don't worry you are not alone, take your time and find your true identity, but do it to please you, not anybody else. Trust me it is a tremendous satisfaction.
When I read your first line, I immediately thought about how I can, in many ways, relate to almost every main character in just about every story I've ever encountered. That aside, I've found that my personality is the most consistent around friends - I'm sarcastic and laid back, yet usually willing to help anyone in need. I can't really help anyone search for his or her identity but I'm willing to bet that most people want those around them to think about them in a "certain way." Thus I'd say that the more naturally a person can act without letting this thought influence his or her decisions, the closer that person is to his/her true self. Whenever you're around people with whom you can do this the best...well, there you go.
"Well there is still hope!"
"Hope for what? No one cares about us. No one knows we even exist."
"Sure they do! They just haven't done anything about it yet, but they will."
"When? We have suffered for so many years already and nothing has been done. At this rate, nothing is going to be done."
"Well, I'm pretty sure soon they'll give us a chance."
"How? How can we get this chance? It is so unfair! What did we do to deserve this life? We didn't do anything bad. We were just born into this life without a choice to decide what kind of life we want to live. We have no control of our life. Who determines what type of life people get? Who decides that these people get to be rich? Who decides that these people get to be poor? WHO? It is just unfair! It is impossible for our lives to get any better!"
"You can't be so negative. You always have to be positive."
"Thinking positively is only for people who have a chance."
Inspired by Vignette #4
Brandon, I couldn't agree more with your passage for your words speak truth. How can one be optimistic if their is no probably chance of success. The last line that states "Thinking positively is only for people who have a chance." encompasses what I feel to be truth in our society today.
Brandon, I completely agree with Tyler. That last line really hits home. Your completely right. Loved this piece.
I like the way structured your writing. It is very clear on what was your main point. I agree with you that only people have chance can hope for better. I had a personal experience related to this, that is why i understand.
Vignette #4 was one of my favorites. I like the way you incorporated the uncertainty and the far-fetched hope. Excellent.
I really like the message that your piece sends about hope. However no matter ho bad the situation and no matter how long nothing has gotten better hope will always remain.
It hurts so much… too much .
He doesn’t stop! He keeps repeating it over and over again.
It swarms in my head like angry bees, it just gets louder.
It gets louder and stronger and stronger-
All of it happened so slowly, I’m so scared, can’t we stop?
Half my body was twitching, wanting to impulsively hit him.
But they all shoved us into one another, I didn’t hit them. Honest!
I didn’t want to hit them honestly!…Did I hit him? No I didn’t! I didn’t want to!
We all were hurt, will they know?
They’ll know for sure, there’s just no way they won’t-
Oh no. Oh no! I’m dead for sure, they’ll kill me! No! Maybe, no. Possibly….no they’ll know soon enough.
What can I say? What can I tell them?
All that happened was hurt…
I keep thinking, and thinking, and thinking.
There is no escape, I don’t know when this began.
I keep thinking about never thinking, afterwards darkness sets in my mind.
What do I have to remember again? Maybe something about Dona Bone-
No something about Ramon and Juanita, they loved each other-
No there was a fire, it was an accident right? Glimpses of a silver night…
Something happened, something didn’t that should have…what was it again?
Dad he was in pain, he was moaning really loudly outside the chicken coop-
I was helpless, I was angry…I was furious at God, why was I furious at him?
Didn’t mother always say the poor get into heaven? That it’s in God’s Hands?
I was so thirsty, I couldn’t sleep afterwards, I wanted to tell her-
The truck a little before six, a drunken woman driving it…sixteen people;
These words float in my head, these distant words that come to me-
From distant memories… a memory of peace and belonging.
A single moment of sheer beauty in a peculiar place I discovered, all by myself-
Me and no one else….what were the words again?
Ah I can see them now! …Oh yeah I remember the words!
Don’t Forget Me .
Why are these words, and only these words, burned in the back of my head?
I didn’t lose anything, the woman was wrong of what she said.
I had everything, I had all the pieces of everything, and I put them together.
I had all my memories again… I know where I’ve been.
I know who I am now… I am here .
The first piece was inspired by the story It's That It Hurts. I wanted to pick out the stories I thought really could stand as the key stories of how the character defines himself, what he's going through, what he feels, and what is happening around him that he witnesses that he can't stop by himself. I believe It's That It Hurts, The Lost Year, and Under The House serve as the beginning, middle, and ending of ...And The Earth Did Not Devour Him. They're the strongest stories that the narrators speaks of that define who he is as a person, what made him who he is, and why he is who he is.
The second story is The Lost Year, why it being the second not the first? Because I wanted It's That It Hurts to be a memory he is recalling-something that affected him so much...something that hurt so much in his life. Then afterwards being thursted into a confusing haze of trying to piece all of his memories, trying to recollect them after having such a deep blow from a painful memory of his past entering his mind unknowingly. The Lost Year reflects of how the narrator blocked everything from his mind, the memories he has but are lost-distant from him from simply opressing them. The Lost Year being second in this piece because it's him slowly gaining back what he opressed-what he unwillingly lost.
The third and finaly story is Under The House. The line "I Know Where I've been" was inspired by the song in the popular musical/movie, Hairspray. I was listening to it while typing this piece and I can see such a familarity with the story ...And The Earth Did Not Devour Him with the song. It seems they match perfectly put side to side one another. Also how Queen Latifah sings it so passionately, so emotionally, and so strongily like she felt it/experienced it herself just helps emplafies the message of the song-which ultimately is the message Rivera is saying to us. The narrator at the end claims himself and memories again. He gains clarity, strength, and direction...just by finding himself again.
I really enjoyed how you mixed three stories into one continuous post. It almost reminds me of how Rivera goes out into italics for a few pages at the end. The transitions between stories were really great and I found your writing very interesting. Very unique work. It summarizes the main character's journey in an even shorter amount of space than the book.
I love how you seem to replicate the ending of the book, as Darell said. The stories and each memory that you wrote down seemed to just pop into my head as i read the passage. It seems as if this is a conclusive narration of the boys final moments before he finally realizes what he is and why he is there. You pivotal stories were well chosen and the fact that you made the first stanza of your poem(?) center through the conflict of "Its that it hurts" seems to deliver your message all the more clearly. The sufferings that the child had to go through are clear in your writing. A brilliant piece.
"Look at him wearing that shirt everyday. It's disgusting!"
"Yeah! And he smells like cabbage every time he walks by. He doesn't even shower!"
"They should just move back. They don't belong here."
"Some better life they are living. I wonder what it's like where THEY are from. It doesn't seem like their lives could be worse."
"They're probably the kings of their country!"
"I hope not. If they were, I'd hate to see their peasants."
"Yeah. I don't know why he's here. Shouldn't be working with his dad? Everybody knows he can barely speak and read English. I bet you he can't even read in his own language!"
"Ya whats the point. It's not like he's learning anything. He just stumbles every time he has to answer."
"The teacher likes for some reason even though he's the stupidest kid in the class."
"Whatever. At least we're learning something. He should just go back to where he came from."
If this causes anyone offense, I didn't mean for it to. This was inspired by the racism in the story, particularly It's That it Hurts. This is taking it a little more extreme by providing conversation between two racist boys in the class. It goes into more detail, and potentially the mindset that classmates of immigrants might have. Again, this wasn't meant to offend anyone, and I'm truly sorry if it did. If it does offend anyone, reply to this, and i'll edit and change it.
You writing in all actuality reminded me of the story about the teacher and the kid that gave his only button. The racism in the story is clearly depicted and i would think that this would also go with the vignetter about the barber and the man but when you said that it all came from "It's that it hurts" i was actually quite surprised. But then i remembered the kid that spoke the the kid in the bathroom and yes, i would think that this is an accurate rendition of what the kids at the time would be thinking.
I like the bluntness of your dialogue. You didn't try to fluff it up at all, and I felt as if people would actually be saying that. I don't think it would offend anybody, since we've all been victims of racism at one point or another.
Racism is a problem and I loved the bluntness of your piece. It takes the realism of the situation and puts it in people's faces so that they can see it for what it really is. Great job.
This was very upfront and as others previously put it, blunt. It's not pretty but what you say is definitely true.
I promise you, my love
you are the only one
I want to marry you
to be with you together
but I will wait
wait just for you.
Like you promised,
I will wait until you finish school.
I will not flirt with anyone else,
I will only remember you.
I can support you,
but I will wait.
Wait, it is better to wait.
I promise you too,
I will only love you.
Father wants me to finish school,
so please wait.
Wait and then we can be together.
It does not mean that I do not love you
I truly love you,
So I hope you can wait.
I promise you,
I will only be with you,
and no one else.
When I get back to Texas,
I will take her away with me.
She will come with me,
for she has betrayed me.
I love her, I love her so much.
I look at her picture until dark,
yet I don’t remember what she is anymore.
She promised me,
Soon I’ll be back in Texas,
She promised me,
she will be with me.
It won’t be long now.
It’s not that I don’t love him anymore,
I do, I still love him
however, there is someone else.
Someone just as sweet,
he is a smooth talker.
Yet, I will not part from him.
I am not getting involved with another,
I can’t, I won’t...
I really love him a lot
Soon we will be together again,
just like he promised,
just like I promised.
This poem uses two different voice and was inspired from The Night the Lights Went Out. These two thoughts were from the beginning of the story where they were going their separate ways and the thoughts that raced through them when they were apart. Even though I do not think much of ‘love’ however, this story made me feel upset and bitter. These two couples truly loved each other and that is very hard to find today yet, they are not together in the end because of jealousy and betrayal with a mix of misunderstanding.
I enjoyed reading this - though that sounds a bit sad. The fact that you put confusion on the girls part during the last stanza really seemed to make the entire accident a misunderstanding. The scorn that the guy shows for the girl at the beginning of the third stanza seems to drift away as he continues to think about her. I, as well, do not think much of love but in this story it is so prevalent how blind it is. The sheer obsession that the guy feels as well as the possessiveness even after they break up show his feelings for her, though at that point i am highly doubting whether it is love or not. However, i, at the end of the story, do not think that what the girl felt toward the guy was love. Much like romeo and Juliet, i think that what the girl felt towards Ramon was some sort of obsession for a certain quality that he had or something. though i'm not really sure. After all, love is blind.
I agree with you love is really blind. I guess only the author and the people in the story would truly know what the characters are feeling for each other.
I know exactly what kind of feeling you’re going for. Great job with this poem!
Hey Amber. Your poem flowed really well!! I liked it a lot. I could tell who is talking for each little section and it's really realistic. My favorite part is when she says:
"Soon we will be together again,
just like he promised,
just like I promised."
Hey really liked you poem especially the part where u mentioned that she would be with him and nobody else,only him.
"When I get there... I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?"
"Just that. I really don't know what I can do with this life of mine."
"You have plenty, mi hijo. Other people would kill for what you have."
"I don't know. Sometimes I just wish I could leave my wife and son behind and start a new life."
"Don't talk like that, m'ijo."
"But it's true. I feel like they're a burden on me."
"You love them don't you?"
"Well yeah, but--"
"But nothing. They are always there for you, and you should be there for them."
"Well then, what should I do when I arrive?"
"That's up to you. Only you can decide what you want to do with your life. If it was up to me, I would keep working in the fields. Maybe I'd even find a job in a nearby city. I'd keep working hard, to put my children through school. Eventually, they might have a life that we can only envy."
"But why should my son have what I don't?"
"... I don't think you understand what it means to be a father, mi'ijo."
"I suppose not."
"So what will you do then?"
"I don't know. All I know is that I will live and die, without the world ever knowing my name."
"It doesn't matter if the world doesn't know your name, so long as the people close to you do."
"I guess. Maybe I will stay. At least until my son will be able to start his own life."
"That's good to hear."
Inspired by both When We Arrive, and the vignette that starts with "Why do y'all go to school so much?". I wanted to show how desperate the migrants were for a better life. The son doesn't know what to do, and he thinks his only option is to try to start anew. His mother, who is infinitely more wise than him convinces him of how good his life is, and ultimately makes him stay. I think that we often take advantage of the opportunities in our life, and sometimes, we need someone to make us realize what was right in front of us.
I like you play of dialogue. personally, i struggle to make two characters interact so well on paper. One factor that appealed to me most about your story was the fact that one is so positive, the model figure for a father or a hopeful person and the other is falling face first into doubt. The more pessimistic one seems only to care of himself and in the end is convinced by someone other than himself to stay with his family and support them. It's kind of sad in a way because, as you most likely intended, it shows the desperation that people had during the time.
How a son's burden can be lifted from his mother is a question that can soon turn into a viable solution. Nice and simple dialogue describing a mother's reasoning to turn her son to understand the ups and downs of life.
Sid, I really appreciate this piece for exemplifying what it means for us to live, with all our opportunities, and what it means for the less fortunate to live. We have so many paths, and we toss so many as well, away. It really gets me thinking of the culture we live in today, and how saddening it is that we strip other people of what they deserve.
Your dialogue brought up a good point: not all parents would want to give their children what they never had. There are parents that (wants to) forsake their kids, like the one in your dialogue. That's why we have things like the Child Protection Services. I also like your theme of sacrifice. Why should the dad sacrifice himself if no one except his kids would remember his name? The only answer is "that's what it means to be a father."
The scorching sun was blazing as the workers picked spinach. Over the long period of time these workers had been working together, the men formed bonds and became like brothers. “Javier, I hear your daughter is turning five today. Congratulations!” says one of the spinach pickers.
“Thank you Benito. I am looking forward to the end of the day so I may see my little Adelita. After saving up money for a month, I went to the store this morning before work and bought her the doll she has wanted for quite some time. I cannot wait to see the look on her face when I bring her back her present tonight. I love my Adelita more than anything in this world,” replied Javier.
“It is my anniversary with my wife today too,” chirped in another worker. “I cannot wait to go home and eat her delicious chiles en nogada and pambazo! My wife makes the best chiles de nogada in the whole country. No one can match her cooking prowess.”
“He speaks the truth! I love your wife’s chiles en nogada, Felipe! Allow me to come and celebrate your anniversary with you and your lovely wife.” exclaimed a worker.
“Don’t push it Andres. I suppose you can come over later tonight and I’ll see if I can give you the leftovers. Do not get your hopes too high though. I intend to devour everything tonight!”
The workers laughed and continued to work, ignoring their aching backs and profuse sweating due to the promising night they were to have with their families. For once, the workers even ignored the jeers and taunts of the White people who passed by.
Finally, the sun began to set. It was five forty-five. The men hurried onto the truck, playfully pushing one another to get onto the truck faster. The engine ignited and the men cheered for the night to begin. As the truck moved along, the men bragged about who was going to have a better time with their families. Then, a sudden swerve threw the men off their seats. A crash had sent the car rolling. Before Javier could apologize to Adelita for not being there for her birthday, an explosion ended his life along with those who had hoped to see their loved ones that evening.
This story was inspired by vignette #10. I was infuriated when the irresponsible woman, who decided to drive intoxicated on the road, ended the lives of sixteen immigrants who had lives of their own.
I don't know if it's just me being emotional because I'm so mentally exhausted, but that was beautiful. Beautiful is an understated comment.
It brought tears to my eyes. When I read vignette #10, I was mad at the woman because she was stupid to be driving after drinking. Your piece just gave Rivera's vignette more feelings. The workers have families, too, and maybe that's what they were exactly talking about on that uneventful day. And to think that they died in the hands of a woman like that, I'm even more enraged at her.
Kuan-Yi, i love how you elaborate on their lives and explain how each worker had something in their lives worth living for. I felt so sorry for the workers through your story. Well done!
I really liked how you gave names and life to the invisible workers! The story really revealed the hopes and love of the migrant field workers. Good job!
Your piece is extremely well-written! I agree with Juliet, it was an emotional piece to read. You brought in a different perspective to the situation, telling the stories of the men on that truck. For a moment, I saw hope and happiness, the men were looking forward to their plans for the evening. They didn't let the long work day get the best of them.
This one really brings out the individual people that were impacted by the accident. Such a sad story...Too bad that's the way of life...sigh...
The contrasting perspectives of the immigrants and the drunk woman was really unexpected yet deep. I enjoyed reading it a lot. Wish you made it longer!
You did a really good job taking specific dialogue from Rivera's other stories and putting it into this one. It adds a lot more when the characters are more personal.
She found it while she was thinking about the future: when she would leave the city after being here for all 17 years of her life. The yellow canary awkwardly fluttered around in the grass. Its right wing was wounded and it couldn't fly. She didn't know what to do: bring it home, or leave it and hope somebody else will find it? But she knew her father would get mad.
"There's not enough food at the dinner table, and now you want me to feed a bird? Are you out of your mind?!"
There was a knock at the door. She quickly covered the small cage with the cloth and set it down next to her bed. Her mother peeked through the door and told her dinner was ready.
"I'll be back, Tweety," she whispered. "Don't worry, I'll bring you food."
A few weeks passed, and she started thinking about when Tweety would be able to fly again. The bird was her best friend, her child... how could she ever part with it? She wanted to keep it by her side forever, but in her heart she knew that she would have to let it go one day.
"Who will be there for me when you leave? Who will sing me sweet melodies when I go to sleep? What will I do without you?"
A few more weeks later, its wing was completely healed. She cradled the bird into her hands and took her to the windowsill. After a long pause, she opened her hands. Tweety stretched its wings and flapped them for a bit. Nothing. Tweety wasn't ready to leave.
"Sweetie, it's dinnerti... ACK! WHAT IS THAT THING DOING IN HERE?"
Her father pushed past her mother through the door and furiously yelled at her. He screamed about responsibility and liability and after awhile, she stopped listening. He didn't understand. He didn't know what it was like to be her-- without a soul to confide her true emotions to, without feeling any real connection to the place she grew up in. She refused to cry. She refused to let him have the satisfaction that he broke her down. He threatened to choke the bird if it wasn't out of his house within a week.
"Once I leave, life will be better. I won't be anybody's responsibility and I can live my own life, do my own things. I can leave all this behind. Just 20 more days."
She opened her hands again. The bird stretched its wings and started to flap. Tweety rose through the air and propelled forward. At long last, she was gone.
"I'm sorry, sweetie, but we just don't have the money to send you to your dream college. You can go to that college, though, it's still 2 hours away. We can visit you on the weekends, but it's still far enough from home. It really isn't that bad."
She wished she was Tweety, but her parents didn't understand why.
This story is about a girl who gives a bird a chance at life, but she doesn't have that luck to fulfill her own dreams. Tomas Rivera wrote this collection of stories to tell the lives of the Chicano community. I was inspired to write a piece not specifically about the lives of a certain race, but about emotions that many teenagers may go through--of wishing to leave, of not being able to leave. Only some emotions in this piece were based on my own feelings.
Wow. That really struck me. I loved it! I love how you wrote this piece based on emotions that teens go through, because your right! I have those moments when I wish I was a bird too. Amazing work Juliet.
I really love your piece. It really drives home because I understand how your character (and, I assume, you too) feels. Sometimes, I feel like wanting to get away and live my own life too.
I really enjoyed how your writing mirrors your true feelings. Its hard to find people who put their honest feeling in their writing. Great Work
Time Does Fly
“I hate this, I want to be able to be on my own, be free, and do what I want when I want. I wish time would pass by more faster, I want to be older.”
“Be careful what you wish for. Time will pass; it is already passing by so fast, look at you. You are not longer a toddler, no longer struggling to hold yourself, no longer slurring your words together, you are older and with each passing second getting older.”
“But I want to be able to do things on my own, to travel the world or at least just be able to go to the mall by myself with my friends without needing a ride. I want to be able to get into concerts and enjoy life the way it is meant to be.”
“Life is meant to be enjoyed in many ways. Time will go by fast, before you know it you will be graduating high school, college, getting a job, getting married, having kids, and eventually you will be seeing them build their lives too.”
“Yeah, but that will take forever to happen.”
“You are still too young and naïve, one day you will look back and see that I am right and by then it will be too late.”
Years flew by, her life unraveled, miracle and tragedies passed, and now she was a dying old woman. As she looked back on her life, she remembered this particular conversation with her mother. She began to cry. She realized precisely what her mother was trying to advise her. She understood now. She knew now that it was too late, her mother was right, *time does fly*.
Inspired by Vignette #7. This piece stuck to me the most because ever since I was a freshman I kept telling my mom how much I just wanted to graduate already and move on with my life, and she kept telling me, “Time will fly by and before you know it, you will be graduating and going off to college”. And here I am now, graduating and going off to college in a couple of weeks. *Time really does fly*.
Heidi's was really inspiring, it was a great story, and it related to Earth to devour. Great job.
An Innocent Soldier
I was shipped off as a boy,
Just an innocent child.
Now I’m surrounded by gunfire,
Alone in the wild.
Been walking for days,
Or has it been weeks?
I can’t find my way out,
My future looks bleak.
How is my mother?
When will this end?
I have letters written,
But no place to send.
The jungle people yell
And they spit on me too
I just want to go home,
But what can I do?
No food to eat
Or water to drink.
The sun beats down on me
It’s so hard to think.
The war has changed me
As I’ve wondered this land.
I’m no longer a boy,
But a very lost man.
I’m done with my walking
It’s been weeks or months now
I’ll put my equipment to good use
Click, click, pow.
I'm guessing your inspiration was "The Prayer", right?
It's a sad ending, but a good poem. I was hoping that the boy would be anxious to reunite with his mom, but now he's become like a war mongrel (or that's what it seems). I'm curious as to what the ending would be if you wrote more...
This is really great Jonathan. I get the sense that this is the son thats spoken about from The Prayer? If so I like how you went with the opposite view of the spectrum with your poem, capturing his feelings since we already know his mothers.
"Well it's that time of the night again."
He crept under the bed to drink the water.
"Now that I drank the water I can-"
whispers to himself. "Darn! After all these nights I finally got caught!"
"Hello? Is there anyone there?"
"Sorry to wake you mother, it's me."
"What are you doing?! That glass of water are for the spirits!"
"I know, mother. I'm must confess now. I have been drinking the water every night so you'll believe that the spirits drank it. I did this so you could wake up every morning and do what you had to do."
"Why didn't you just tell me? I knew something was wrong when the water in the glass was gone everyday. You should be afraid of me giving up just because the spirits didn't drink the water. I'll still wake up and do my work. "
The boy felt guilty for all the nights he had drank from the glass. All he had to do was to face his mother and tell her the truth. But why was it so hard? He didn't know. All he knew was he was going to be okay and his mom now knew the truth.
I was inspired by Vignette #1. People shouldn't be afraid to tell their parents anything even though it will break their heart or make them believe in something less because they will still love them no matter what. After all they are your parents. Who could love you more? Of course they would be disappointed in you but in the end you know everything will be okay.
Tammy I like your ending of your vignette. Even though the mom found out she didn't take it as hard as I would have thought. Great work Tammy!
That was a really interesting way of ending your piece. Most people probably would've had the mom more angry or hurt because of her faith but you took it in a completely different creative direction. Nice job.
What have I done...
What have I done...
It was meant to scare...
Didn't mean to...
What have I done...
What have I done...
They should've put me away...
Why am I still...
He should still...
What have I done...
What have I done...
The water wasn't worth...
I only wanted them to...
What have I done...
What have I done...
This poem (if you can call it that) was inspired by "The Children Couldn't Wait". It is supposed to be what was going through his mind after he killed the kid and walked away without going to jail. I chose this mindset for him because the shot was only supposed to scare the boy and he later regretted it and tried to kill himself.
Really good perspective from the boss. Makes it seem as though he actually cares for the workers or in this case, the little boy. Good job.
As simple as tis post is, it really gets a point across. I'm sure a lot of people looked at this man and immediately feel that he is heartless and could care less about the little boy, but you went the opposite way. It is an interesting thing to think about and to wonder if it really affected him the way you made it seem. It is a great extension to The Children Couldn't Wait.
You have a really good idea, but I think your poem/ words behind his thoughts are a bit simplistic. I'm sure that he is thinking more than a couple of phrases.
I see where you are coming from when you say it is simplistic, but when I was writing it, I imagined him being in shock after taking an innocent life. Since the boss is a human being just like anyone else, the mental and emotional agony he could be going through would be so tremendous that he probably can't even think straight.
I like the simplicity used in this poem because it is enough to get the point across but still shows the emotional state the boss may be in. I felt anger when first reading" The children couldn't wait" knowing that as a human he felt it was okay to just take a child's life like that. I like how what you wrote is from the boss' perspective and shows that he still has feelings for what he has done. Well done.
An interesting approach to a unique point of view on a harrowing character. Great job in striking the pose of an act so brutal.
Thank you for making lemonade out of lemon. That is kind of careless of me to make such a comparison. A life is lost, a child's life. How can any one not be greatly affected? Thanks for waking up my senses.
It was really interesting to see your perspective on the farm owner's death, Erika. However, I still do not feel sorry for him.
Neat piece anyways!
PERIOD 2? 3?
I thought this was really creative! It was simple, yet clever! well done!
The repetition you put in the poem really got to me. It is understandable why he would freak out after killing someone. I thought was put together well..
I know when a person is really scared, the same thought will repeat in his mind again and again. Guilt haunts the boss, and each of his incomplete thoughts display sign of regret. Good job!
I’m different. That’s why everyone treats me the way they do. I do not understand why they do that, why they call me such names, or why they purposely bump into me in the hall way. I was only eight years old and I didn’t know too much about this. The only thing I knew was that I had to get back at them.
You know, when people find out who you really are, they treat you differently. Almost like you’re trash. It starts off with a look, then a stare and after a while they begin to pick on you. You know, call you names like, little brown boy or Mex. Those really got on my nerves. After a while, I couldn’t take it anymore…I needed to do or say something. So I decided to stand up for myself. Well I got so angry that…I hit him. I had hit another person. Blood game gushing out of his nose like a fountain. Everyone saw what I had done and I didn’t know what to do. So I ran, I ran as fast as I could, but not fast enough. A teacher had seen me down the hall and caught me. I knew that everything was over. After today, things were going to get harder. That day I realized that my life was never going to get easier. To them I never had a name, but a type. And to them I’ll never have a name, but a new type every time…
Things are different here, because everyone is different. I came into here scared that I was going to lose my self again, but when I came here I almost felt like I wasn’t the only one…everyone was different and I could accept that! Why couldn’t those kids when I was eight?
I now have a name. A name that I am called by and people respect me. I am no longer judged by how I look or the way I speak. I now know that people aren’t looking at me and immediately thinking “look at that Mexican kid…” I feel as though I can live my life the way I am supposed to. I can be who I am now.
This was inspired by It's That It Hurts In reading this short story, I really felt the emotions that this boy was going through and I can feel his pain and hardships
I really liked this story you wrote, it shows the hardships the boy had to go through in a way that probably we all could connect to. Good job.
I like how your piece really defines what identity is. The struggle to be who the boy really is, is pretty difficult to write. Your words really moved me. It hurt to read the piece, because of the troubles the boy continues to face, but when he gets to high school things are different! I'm glad you ended on a high note.
I think alot of people can relate to this feeling. Everyone wants to be respected and have a name for themselves. Not just that mexican kid or that white kid. People are searching for themselves and sometimes lose sight of who they really are because of what other people think and it's a scary thing. I really like how you brought this up and how you made so others can connect to it.
Dear God, Jesus Christ, keeper of my soul. I thank you for giving me word of my son, O Lord. But he has been killed in battle. My dear sweet, noble child has been killed by the bullet. He has been shot through the heart. The heart dear Lord, that I beseeched you to protect. Bless him O Lord and encompass him with your love. O Lord, dear Jesus, please help me in my faith. He was the sweetest child, so gentle and so caring. Why dear Lord. Why!? Have I not prayed enough? Has my faith failed to satisfy you Lord? Please, tell me, show me, why my dear son has perished in battle, so far away from me. He was so sweet, so innocent, dear Lord, you took him too soon.
Mother Mary, Jesus Christ, I beg of you to answer my pleas. Why has my precious child been killed by the communists and the Koreans and the Chinese!? Please, why did you not shelter your faithful servant? Here I bring you one if his toys as sacrifice of my faith. Look, it is so small and precious. It is a sweet memory of him dear Lord. Father of us all, why have you taken my child!?
I remember and still keep the promises I have made to the Virgen de San Juan to pay her homage at her shrine and to the Virgen de Guadalupe. I have done nothing wrong. My son, my child, who still bears in his death a medallion of the Virgen de San Juan del Valle, has done nothing wrong. Sweet Jesus, he wanted to live! He has done nothing wrong. The happiness I felt when he was with me, from when he was nursing to when he had to leave, has vanished now, Dear Jesus. He has gone from my life and is now in your arms. Please tell me why? Why?
I have prayed every morning to night, begging for his safe return, back into my arms. I have asked, pleaded, begged, for you to return him to me. I have offered my own pulsating heart in return for his, Lord. Begged you to rip out my very own beating heart in return for his. But then, why? Why has a bullet, shot from the gun of a communist pierced by dear sweet child. My child, who so very much wanted to live, Lord. Why is my heart still beating, living within me when my purpose is gone?
Please Sweet Jesus, take my heart. Take this broken heart. Worn by the sorrow of life and give his back to him. Make him whole once more Jesus. Make him come back to me. Dear Lord, Virgin Mary, please, take my own wretched heart and give me his in return. My own heart, which beats and flows the blood you so desire through me, take it and I ask for nothing but my son in return. Return him to me Lord. Let me see his smiling face and allow me to embrace him once more. One thing is all I ask, Jesus. One thing… And that is to take me instead. Tear my heart out and give me my child back. My sweet purpose in life. My dear boy. Dear Lord, please give me my son. I ask nothing else.
Extension - an add on that i thought was a little over the top but thought that i might as well add it.
The woman crumbled in the aisle of the church. The entire congregation watched her as she wept her soul out in sorrow. None could feel pity as they had seen her come every Sunday, to pray for her son. They knew the ending that waited for her.
When the day turned to night, the woman gathered herself up and walked calmly out of the church. Her face was red and the streaks of tears could be seen. She had no vieja to return to. No family, she was now alone. When she came home, she spilled all of her son’s toys out onto the floor and began to pick them up one by one. Each held a different, special memory. The tears that had stopped, started once more as she made her way through the memories.
Morning came and the woman was still there. She was staring at a small cup of half filled water. She remembered what her son had done for her when times were too hard to bear. Back when the family was together and she had three instead of one. Before he went to war, he probably knew that he would die there, he told her of how every night he would drink the water that she left for the spirits, so that she would be able to continue doing her duty.
They both had been through so much for each other, now half of the pillar was gone and the other half needed to crumble.
So crumble she did…
Hm... this was inspired by The Prayer. I enjoyed reading the piece and was charmed by the panicked voice that Rivera used. I attempted to try and replicate the voice but i think that i altered it as i was writing. Initially, i wanted this piece to represent her waning faith as her most dear wish in God is broken but then it ended how it did. I'm not sure how really, it just kind of ended up writing itself if that makes any sense.
The second part sprouts from the small excerpt from Under The House when the people speak of how the woman would eventually begin to pray aloud without realizing. It was kind of touching how she loved her son so much.
I deeply apologize to those that feel even a little offended by my piece of writing. I meant no harm.
I love The Prayer and extension of it Joycey was wonderful! Your's was an insight of what the mother was thinking and the reaction she would have after hearing her son was shot. How she just has nothing to live for anymore and just questioning over and over again like the boy in ...And The Earth Did Not Devour Him story. I like how it really tranistion beautifully from Rivera's original piece into your's! Wonderful and gripping work as usual Joycey!!
Wow...This prayer is very interesting and it has so much voice. I really liked how you add in what happens after she prays. The book always leaves out the "what happens next"
A beautiful letter based from the mother's faithful belief in the Lord and a heartbreaking describing a mother's angst for her son's return. Nice written letter exemplifying an emotional prayer.
This is a really emotional piece of writing. I like how you took the mother's desperation and turned it into sorrow. The writing conveys emotion so well. I really enjoyed reading, I thought that your writing could almost be a part of the book. I thought it was a good way of concluding the story in the book.
Great job, Joey! You perfectly showcased the mother's unhealthy faith in God (I believe it is unhealthy because I am not religious). It was very believable that it was the mother's voice.
The woman was said to have left the scene with only bruises and scratches; my mom- one of the sixteen dead. As I lie in bed and pray, one of the questions I ask God is: why do bad things always happen to good people? Mother never sinned… or cursed; she only prayed and provided for her family. Even though she is unable to be here with me, I will never forget the lessons I learned for her each day. I must now follow in her footsteps, sacrifice for my siblings and discontinue my education. Reading, writing, and prayer should get me through life, right?
My creative passage was inspired by the vignette: “A little before six…” and “Why do y’all go to school so much?” Both stories extremely stood out to me, and while reading the book I would go back to those stories and re read them, they are so short but are packed with meaning. They are my favorite!
I was surprised that anyone would write a piece from "A little before six..." in all honesty, the story was a bit puzzling for me to read. The sacrifices that the child of the mother states that she will make kind of makes me feel like she will struggle so much to find happiness in her life because, after she makes those convictions, she is not living for herself any longer, she lives for other people and those types often find, i think, happiness difficult.
Beautiful, short, and strong.
16 people dying because of one person is sad. I like how you talked about one specific family and why his mom did not deserve to die. People who don't sin get punished, but for what reason? It just shows how unfair the world is. Great job Marissa!
Honestly Marissa, this was great. I really like how you connected to something that is going on in your life right now. Like Joyce said, it was beautiful. I read it like five times. I loved it.
“My friend, I think it shouldn’t go like this. Wasn’t it the home – no, the land – of the free – free? Isn’t it supposed to free? Free for all, or free only?”
“Life is like a box of chocolates, and you never know what you’re gonna get…...”
“I’m tired, I’m sick, I’m hot, I’m thirsty, and I’m in rags. I’m sick of being here. It’s not worth it. Why do I need to endure this living hell? For what reason do I deserve less, to be less, and to live less?”
“What am I supposed to do? What do they want from me? What do I need to do? I live to work… and I work… to die. Isn’t there supposed to be some meaning in life? Isn’t it what people used to say – that life is a journey which we all have to go through?”
“I came to work, not to play. I work hard day and night. I work twelve hours a day, every week, every month, and every year. I try my best to work my hardest. I am a good person. I am responsible. I am hard working. I am me – no, wait – that IS me.”
“Whataya want from me? Give up? Or else what? I’m sick and tired of this. I’ve had enough. You can’t do all the work yourself. I can’t stand alone to see all this madness continue. I will not let this evil continue to dwell before my eyes.”
I originally wanted to make a short story like Rivera did with his vignettes, punching in as much meaning as I possibly could into only a few paragraphs, but I seemed to have gone off track. Instead, I have written a short dialogue, from the same person, from different points of time in his life. It is not to mistaken as to involve the voice of an immigrant of the Chicano migrant community only, as I have also written it from the point of view of a son of a boss in charge of them also. He is no ordinary white though – he is an American who sees that freedom and equality should not only be limited to himself or his own race – but rather to all Americans who came into the United States to help build that “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The first two dialogues are set out in a setting where the boss is greeting his migrant worker, who is trying to remember the “Star-Spangled Banner”, but forgets parts of it. The reason of mistaking home and land is to put out the message that the “land of the free” is not a home to anyone – there are no trespassers and anyone is allowed in there. Also, in mistakenly taking “free for all” and “free” only, I wanted to portray the idea that there was still a doubt as to whether the migrants were included in being one of those whom were free. “Free for all” meant all whom lived upon this very Earth, whereas “free” only by itself meant that only free people were allowed.
The “life is like a box of chocolates” line is where the boss’s son realizes that what his father was doing was wrong, and he pities the migrants, though he also knows that life is sometimes unfair, and that there were times when there wasn’t a choice – it might as well have been destiny.
Afterwards (beginning from the third phrase) are the worker’s and boss’s son’s dialogue, and it alternates between them back and forth. The worker hates to be there working in the field, under blazing heat and sunshine with hardly any water – like all the migrant workers whom we have read about in "…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him". The boss’s son, however, believes that what his father is doing is wrong, and he wants to change what he sees. This is why, in the last dialogue, he argues with his father that he himself can’t do all the work alone, and that was why he needed his workers. He argues that he respect the workers and treat them well, because the workers were doing something that he did not do and cannot do alone.
Day one : So I just arrived at this plantation…and the sun is just too unbearable; even for me!!! I felt sorry for this kid I met who was with his dad because he seems so thirsty. Hopefully they’ll give him more water since he’s just a kid.
Day four: Worked my butt off today and I get to finally sleep now. That kid I met is starting to get on my nerves though. Keeps complaining about wanting more water. The boss isn’t going to give you any more water because you’re working on the hour rather than on contract so STOP COMPLAINING! I swear that kid is going to get into some big trouble one of these days…
Day ten: He died. He died. He died! How cruel can this earth be?! I was going to the restroom to relieve myself, but while I was walking behind the broken wood fence I saw the boss holding a gun. At first I thought he was practicing his aim, but then I saw the kid. I had to stay where I was because I couldn’t afford to get fired from my job. Then I saw him shoot, I mean are you crazy?! Shooting at a kid! I saw the water turn red seconds later... I didn’t know what to do, so I fell to the ground and started sobbing. I think the boss saw me but he was probably too anxious to confront me; so he fled. I will never forget this day.
Day eleven: He saw me. He called me into his tattered office and told me if I began telling people it was him that killed the boy then I would not only be fired but killed. I was shaking the entire time, even after he dismissed me. What was I supposed to do? Then I saw an officer and even though my life was on the line if I told him what happened, I would be at peace knowing that the boy had justice. So I did.
Day thirteen: I’ve been hearing from the other workers that the boss almost went crazy after he was locked up for murder. Unfortunately, he was tried and got off free; probably bribed the jury or something. BUT, I did hear that he tried to kill himself after he was set free? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m free from this hell pit! And to the boy; I’m sorry I was complaining about you; may you rest in peace.
Inspired by The Children Couldn’t Wait
This outside perspective was pretty awesome. I've replied earlier to another entry based off the same story and it was thought he eyes of the boss, but so see it from by standing eyes it's very interesting. This very much so connects to our baseline too with the subject of in justice goes unpunished. The man just wanted to do the right thing and by speaking up he at least attempted to do the boy right even though it didn't get the boss arrested. This was a really good entry, I'm glad I read it.
Wow that was absolutely amazing. I also like the difference in days as it only allows people to think about what could have gone in between the time lapses...
I like the way you reenacted what happened in The Children Couldn't Wait. I like how you did it day by day. I felt like I was actually there with that child watching the boss with his gun. Great Job Jeremy!
He always endured through everything. Every insult, all the suffering, everything. At home, he occasionally had to work, bearing the sun, bearing the pain, ...work, shackling him to the earth. Even school as well, was no safe haven, everybody insulted and picked on him. But he endured. No matter the outcome, he always looked up at the sky to see the bright blue, puffed-up white clouds, seeing the little birds flapping their wings together and chirping vibrant sounds that lifted his spirits. It was all harsh, but so easy to bear as long as he had the sky. At home the small boy asked his parents what if felt like to touch the sky.
“Oh m'ijo, what on earth are you talking to about?”
“The sky! Tell me mommy what's it like to feel the sky?!”
“My little m'ijo, that's impossible, now please eat you super.”
Even after hearing from his own mother that he will never be able to touch the sky, he still endured, watching the blue sky, like he would be embraced by it. At school he daydreamed a lot, looking up, seeing himself soar through the air, no one around and no one to bother him.
Walking home, he saw a group, of what his dad called “gringo”, encircled around a small object near a slightly elevated ledge. At a closer look, the boys were actually picking on a small baby bird who was injured, poking and pulling its wings. He ran towards them, charging in order to grab the small creature away. The group were shocked and fumbled the bird, but the little boy caught him in time, hitting the ground.
“What the heck are you doing, Mex?” “He's trying to steal the stupid bird away from us like they all steal.” “Hey, little lice boy wants to be the bird now!”
They all started to laugh, attacking him, acting like it was a joke. But the boy started to cringe at every hit, every pull, but at all the same time, protecting the injured bird with his curled body. He was shoved a lot, putting in all his effort so a blow won't hit the small bird, but then everything started to go backwards, left, right, flipping all around. By the time he realized what had happened, an intense pain had surged through his right arm and leg. Falling from the ledge, he lay their crying out in pain and calling for help. All he heard was laughing, as it dissipated into the distance over the ledge. Tears started to form, still crying for help, slowly realizing that no one would come for him. He looked up at the sky and all his sorrows almost faded. Seeing nothing but blue and the bright, shining light, all he did was stare. Music started to flow into his ear, and he looked to his left. There, he saw the little bird, chirping away on in his hand, almost looking at him. He kept on listening and listening, staring at the sky, until everything, went black.
Inspired by ..And the Earth Did Not Devour Him and It's That It Hurts because of how in both stories, the little boy was faced with some kind trial. In, It's That It Hurts with his all his worries, the only comfort he found was in the cemetery. And in ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, the boy was faced with the question why to himself and God. In both, I found myself sort of memorized by how Rivera puts together what a small boy goes through in the Chicano community, and wanted to write one of my own where there's both a free(?), yet sad feeling.
Matthew, i don't know if you intentionally did this, but I really enjoyed the symbolism you put in your sky. I felt as though the sky in your story represented the cemetery. It was a place where the migrant workers could get away from reality and it was like their solace. Nice job.
He never thought and
that year was lost.
He would drink the glass of water,
The water began to turn bloody.
Feel his heart beating,
my very own heart.
Lost in action.
Tell me, where is it?
Don't forget me...
It's that it hurts.
Don't forget me...
It's that it hurts.
But for us what does it matter?
Don't you remember?
Something in my heart
I was forgetting all about it.
Then it all became clear to him.
There is nothing.
Now he understood everything,
Without a word.
He was unable to do anything
What have we done to deserve this?
There were clouds in the sky.
He looked down at the earth.
What he most desired in life,
know what had happened.
"I'm afraid I'll forget"
The intensity of the child's desire,
Not even fire can destroy them.
All the lights of the town went out,
Lost consciousness to what was happening.
It wasn't long before words began to appear.
Tired of arriving....
We never arrive
The spoken word was the seed of love in the darkness.
The lost year,
in reality he hadn't lost anything.
Discover and rediscover and piece things together,
That was everything.
He knew he was there.
I was inspired by the entire book. I decided to do something a little different with my blog. I took quotes from almost every story and vignette and strung them together into a poem. All of these are word for word pieces of the book. The poem deals with the ideas and themes set forth in "The Lost Year" and "Under the House". The poem is about lost identity and the process of finding it. It deals partly with the hopelessness migrant workers have to face. At first "my very own heart" is lost. Identity is lost and it hurts. There is a point of hopelessness, where there is nothing. He cannot do anything to find himself. So, instead of looking to the sky, he looks to the earth. His desire is to remember. His desire is to find himself. Even this hopelessness cannot extinguish his desire. He becomes tired of "never arriving" and never finding himself. The spoken word becomes a seed, a way to find the identity or culture. In the end, the lost year is no longer lost. Everything is remembered and identity is found. And, "That was everything".
When I saw this I was like NO WAY!!! How could someone use every single story and vignette in one poem!! I was shocked and I like the way you made it flow. It is like one whole story put in one! Well done Darrell!
Wow this is really good!!! I really liked how you incorporated all the stories into one poem. Great job!!
I really liked this. I like how you were able to combine all of the stories together. Well done!
“What was that?”
“Huh? Nothing it was just your imagination, go back to sleep.”
“Are you sure? I could have sworn I heard something. Let me go check it out.”
He got out of bed and walked around the house.
“What was it?”
“You were right it was nothing.”
“There it is again! Tell me you heard it this time!”
“Go away! No! Not now! Why are you here now? Go away!”
“What’s wrong son? Is something wrong? Why aren’t you talking?
“It’s him! It’s him! The devil is right in front of us!”
“Son, there’s nothing calm down. I’m here. Don’t worry go back to sleep.”
I was inspired by A Silvery Night and how people go crazy because they did not see the devil. People are controlled by paranoia since it causes endless amounts of fear of the unexpected. Paranoia is only scary when you think about it too much. If you pay no attention to it then it won’t be scary for you.
Interesting conversations between the son and the father. It seems very realistic because I think everyone has those moments where everyone is sleeping and suddenly there is the creaking sound. I could imagine in my head what exactly was going on when I read this.
I love how you used words like (creak) and (silence) to help show the scene. Very well done.
I can actually hear the creak and the conversation between father and son. Well written!
Oddly enough, everytime I read over your post, I keep recalling, "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe. I liked the addition you've added onto the story. It'd be ironic in a way though to see the sudden character shift, as the confident boy comes home only to swiftly change his persona to that of one filled with fear as he lays down to sleep in his bed.
After a long, hot, dry day working in the fields, I was looking forward to dinner tonight. My wife said she was cooking my Julianito’s favorite meal tonight. She prepares this meal every Sunday, because it is a good way to end the day after a day at work and at church—praying for the well-being of our son. Today was different.
My neighbor Doña Virginia hollered my name as I was walking up the steps to our house. She was waving a white envelope, and told me to stay there. She brought the letter to me with an apologetic look on her face. She mumbled that the mail carrier had gotten Saturday’s mail mixed up, and she had a letter of ours. She muttered, “I’m sorry,” and with that she returned to her house.
I wasn’t sure what she meant by that, because the mix up wasn’t her fault. I opened the letter, and there it was. The message we hoped we would never receive. “We regret to inform you that your son, Juanlito Gonzales has been killed in combat.” I had to hold in the tears. I had to be strong for Gabriela. She’s been praying for his safe return, I honestly don’t know how I’m going to tell her.
I dragged myself into the house, and Gabriela greeted me with a peck on my cheek. She said that dinner was almost ready. She went on talking about her day, how she volunteered at church to make care packages for the soldiers. She made one for Junalito. When she said his name, it broke my heart. I could no longer hold in the tears. I started bawling, and Gabriela knew what was wrong. She saw the letter clutched to my hands. She didn’t want to believe it. Her face turned pale, and screamed “NO! NO! NO! Not, my baby!” Together we wept, hugging each other tightly for comfort. It felt so unreal. Our son was working alongside me nearly a year ago, and now he’s gone.
We didn’t have the strength to eat dinner that night. We went into Juanlito’s room, and sorted through his belongings. Recalling each memory we had of our beloved son. We saved the pollo rostizado for dinner tomorrow night. Tomorrow we will begin making tamales. (Tamales are usually made and eaten during Day of the Dead—day to honor the dead).
Inspiration—A Prayer was extremely difficult for me to read, particularly because it highlighted the unconditional love parents possess. Regardless of whether a parent may seem affectionate or not, they truly love their children, and would do anything to save their child. This story really displayed the other side of a parent, the one that isn’t strong, the one that desperately pleas and prays for things to get better.
Clark's writing made me tear up, but your writing gave me the chills. I got it right when the dad said he had to hold in the tears. In my mind, fathers are the backbone of any family in tough times because I've never seen my dad cry before even when I'm mad at him and tell him I hate him. When you wrote that sentence, this cloud of sadness just came over me.
Even though it's a relatively short piece, I felt so many emotions reading it. At first I thought you were just bringing a message about hope. Then when Doña Virginia came with the letter, I thought it would be a letter from him saying he's well and alive and he'll be home soon and everything would turn out okay. Then... well you know what happened.
I like it a lot.
This was truly a nice story. I could really feel the pain that the family was experiencing.
I find the parents' disbeliefs to be realistic and I like it - it's a contrast to how many stories these days depict characters as more desensitized toward deaths.
I really enjoyed reading your piece a lot. It brought out a lot of emotions and I feel like you connected the stories really well
This town… normally, I would stay the hell away from it. I planned to for the rest of my life; yet, curiosity and…a number of other things urged me to come back. Some might call me a chronically depressed person; I’m only twenty-five, and my wife died of an illness five years back. I’m not particularly rich – maybe slightly better off than are others of my background; yet, I’ve spent the last five years on alcohol, tobacco, and what little gambling I could manage with my light wallet. Why am I back? A couple of days ago…
“Mom? Why the franticness?” said I between long, tired drags. I had gotten back from working at an automobile parts shop – and a few rounds of poker – but I told no one of the latter.
“Your aunt just called,” said mother. “She told me that Don Laito and Dona Bone have been murdered.”
I froze. Do those names sound familiar? Of course they do – these two traumatized me – caused me to do the unthinkable. I won’t question why anyone would want to murder the two, for all of their neighbors would know deep down, as would I. On the other hand, to my parents the two are just family friends. “…Why?” managed I in a squeaky voice. Again, I could more or less guess why but I could not think of anything else to say.
“God knows. Such decent people…laid to rest by wretched fools with knives. Who could do such a thing?” said mother, clearly distressed. I did not reply, but I went over in my head all of the implications that this could have for me.
So a few days afterwards, here I am in the accursed couple’s town. So then…
…Is my secret safe? I mean, I have several secrets – but did the two…take THIS one to the grave? I couldn’t resist the urge to find out – fate has already taken me down to my knees…surely at this point it won’t hesitate to curb stomp me? As the clock struck 11:50 pm, I heard my relatives quietly snoring in their respective beds. Déjà vu…? No, can’t be. Isn’t this the first time I’ve…snuck off at night? Of course it is…I was a good kid. That couple…ruined me…but even after that…
I lumbered out of the house clumsily. Why didn’t anyone wake up…? I don’t know or care…I made my way to the grave. Not the graves of the villainous couple – to the grave of that one wetback…the supposed “cellar” that Don Laito had me dig. As I got there, I got down on my knees and, using my bare hands, dug frantically with newfound energy. I don’t know how long I stayed there but at length, I unearthed what appeared to be a ribcage. I sighed with relief and laughed maniacally – uncontrollably – and I thought to myself…right where we left it. As I turned around to make sure that I was alone – a precaution that I felt unnecessary – I saw standing there a hellish apparition, certainly not of this world. As my eyes turned wide, I fell backwards; I then turned myself over and attempted to crawl away, but the Devil was in front of me. As I screamed in terror, I remembered the words of an elder from so many years back: “But he doesn’t appear before them until later, when each of them is alone, and he appears in different shapes.”
I’ve regretted several nights; I’m not sure which of these I regret the most. As I blinked, it seemed to me that there was…darkness there and nothing more. I closed my eyes again and, as I passed out, I heard footsteps from several directions – maybe they heard my screams…but the Devil will scare them away, won’t he? He has to – otherwise they’ll see me in a grave…with a skeleton…
I decided to make the central characters of two stories (Hand in His Pocket and A Silvery Night) the same person because they both have something to hide and this would make some degree of sense. The boy who called the Devil did so in part to find out whether God exists and according to religion, both of these entities would know if he had helped bury a murdered man. Now, a lot of people seem to think that depressed people don't care about anything - this isn't necessarily true: what they do care about is the fact that they could be even worse off than they currently are (I would know, and this is also seen in It's That it Hurts). This, combined with the boy's (or man's, in this story) numerous addictions, contributed to the intense paranoia and the hallucination at the end. I specifically involved the Devil in the story because of the fact that even if the couple knows, this entity, along with God (both of which might or might not exist in the man's mind), supposedly know everything and thus having attempted to call the devil at one point would strengthen the boy's paranoia. This story shows what negative things guilt can cause a person to do, in contrast to the somewhat more positive effect of guilt seen in The Portrait.
You're good, dude. I consider this a horror piece, and I don't like reading scary stories, but your piece kept me hooked. You connected the two stories nicely, and... well, now I'm a little scared to go to sleep. The part that got me freaked was when the boy started laughing "maniacally [and] uncontrollably" because you portray him differently than what I imagined when I read the two stories at first. I felt like the boy was being corrupted by the immoral couple in Hands in My Pocket, and the boy in A Silvery Night was just innocent and curious. You bring a different perception, and... your piece is scary good.
Hmm...I actually didn't intend for this to be scary so much as mystifying. Thanks for the feedback though!
The devil is such an imposing figure in the mythology of our times. You have put up a distinct tale concerning the every day people's curiosity concerning this intimidating character.
Well written. Creepy, but good. It seemed fitting to put the two central characters as the same person. Now that you put it that way it sort of makes sense, even though the two persons may not be the same. I wasn't expecting for the Devil actually appear since in The Silvery Night, it seemed as though he doesn't exist.
Well as I said, I didn't actually intend for him to exist and the boy in A Silvery Night concludes that he probably doesn't exist but there's always that lingering doubt. Thus I figured that having him hallucinate about the Devil would be fitting.
He looked at it differently,
He saw change
Others saw stalemate.
Life is straightforward,
Others made it complex.
Life is adjustable,
Others held traditions.
Rivera turned grief into liberation
Others were stuck in one dimensional retaliation.
Inspiration: Rivera’s fresh, bold attitude and actions towards the circumstances of the time.
I feel the same way about Rivera's ideals. They were basically beyond his generation, and even beyond our own in a way. He fought for an unspoken people, and gave them a voice. Few in history were able to achieve what he did, and we hold them in the same light.
I like how you chose to do Rivera. I feel the same way about him. Good job.
I agree with your views on Rivera. They are very true. It was short, but so true.
“Hey, wake up”.
Are you talking to me? Alas …. No one there!
No one, someone, does that matter?
Do I have to do what I am told?
“If you want them to know that you exist then do as you are told”.
Who is talking?
Why are you taunting me? Show yourself, you coward!
I feel hungry, thirsty and exhausted and yet I must endure.
Why am I so confused? I want to remember but I cannot. It is all a blur.
“It is hazy for a reason, my child; God is trying to be merciful. It is better off that you do not remember.
It is better off this ‘year’ remains ‘lost’”.
Who are you? I cannot be dreaming all these for my eyes are wide open or are they?
Inspired by “the Lost Year” – when you are lost, helpless and yet intrigued by what beyond the veil, you will wonder, “do I want to go there?”
In the Hispanic culture, there a different way in which we celebrate “The Night Before Christmas”; Christmas eve is a very important date in my family, we all unite at my grandmother’s house and exchange gifts with one another. We have had this tradition since I have memory; honestly it isn’t the present what matters but the fact that we unite every year and we do not forget that date. We also know the meaning of it, while many of my friends in Mexico celebrate that the next day Christmas they are going to have presents under their Christmas trees, my family and I remember the day Jesus was born.
Also a really funny thing is in new year’s eve, when the clock rings 12 each ring we eat a grape and make a wish, twelve grapes for the twelve months that the year posses, twelve wished that you get to make, and twelve bells before the new year arrives. And by the time you look at everybody their mouths are full with grapes, because they can’t beat the bells by chewing.
Having the opportunity to share this date every year with my family does not have a price, I am sure I would not like to spend it any different. I love that my grandparents used to share some really interesting stories with us before each of the families left, because well there are 6 children of then, and they all got families so we just shared some experiences. Now it has gotten harder to get my grandma to tell us stories, since my grandfather passed away, it’s been five years and I can truthfully say that thanks to him I learned how to appreciate many of the things my parents provide for me.
In the book Rivera explains that the mother wants to provide her kids with something special for Christmas, not the repeated oranges with nuts; they have really good kids, and they do not ask for much but their hope of getting something different for the next Christmas was decreasing, since they got the same things over and over again. It was not the present that would have make the mother happier, but at least she trying giving them something better than what they used to get for every Christmas, although she did not succeed the children knew that at least she tried and that was an example which the children could follow for their future, so that once they were parents they would know the meaning of sacrifice and what a parent will do for their children.
When you lose hope, it is hard to get it back, because you do not see a point for doing anything in life, in other words at that point life lost its meaning for you. I believe that parents as a whole, most likely are going to try and give you hope for continuing with your life, too keep learning, and keep growing until you become better that what they were, nothing will make provide them with more joy than to see you succeed in life.
All I have to say is that I am thankful for the family I was born into, although we are not perfect I believe we a fairly close to be the perfect family people could envy.
And I am they way I am for the wonderful guides that I was given as parents and brother, without them I do not believe I would be the person that I am today.
Inspired by The Night Before Christmas.
“´¨`•.¤ ELENA V. ¤..•´¨`”
Hardly do people ever mention that their family wasn’t perfect – they often complain of how they don’t have something or are less fortunate than others. I believe that no one is born perfect – neither are anyone’s parents – so I really appreciate how you say that you love and value what you have today.
By the way, that is a really good picture of a grenade there – really, really like it. Good job!
I really like the bomb thing in your post as well as how you related it to your life. Good job.
Did you make the bomb yourself, or did you find it online? If you designed it, how long did it take you? It looks good.
Son cradles a gun like his mother cradling him
His mother once carried him, like how he now carries his backpack
It was once his mother's fragrant cooking that once enticed him, now it is a soldier's bland ration
His worry is his life, as is hers
She still weeps tears for him, but son has long run out of tears over his fallen brothers
The pain she feels longing for him is nothing compared to the pain he feels from war
The shells pounding on his mind, body and soul has transformed him… inhuman
As her eyes close for her late night sleep, his eyes closed for eternal peace
Saddness and helplessness came across the lines ..........
It prompted me to think in the story or in real life, often times a young life was lost in the war and the whole family focused on the sad event and forgot about the young family members.....that is even sadder.
Soon I will be alone,
Facing the darkness.
With no guidance.
WHAT am I going to do?
Tears dripping down,
I realize this is miserable.
Spending everyday with you,
laughing, crying, fighting.
This is love,
Something that I will treasure...FOREVER.
As we all move on together,
You will get older, so do I.
I am SCARED.
I want time to freeze at this moment,
where I am still a child
Who always rely on you.
I always complain about your action,
That is because I have so much to say.
You get off work late at night,
I wait for you by the door the same time.
My happiest moment is to open the door for you,
and see your kind face.
Something I hate arguing with you,
it HURTS me so much,
but I cant control it,
then afterward, I regret so much.
I don't want to move on to college,
Living somewhere far from you,
I would cry every night.
I know that I need to grow up,
but I love you too much.
In order to make you happy,
I would try my best in college,
I would get a nice job,
I can buy all the things you dreamed.
I WILL NEVER DISAPPOINT you.
Thank you for all the things you've done to me.
Love You Mom!
I really love how you related yourself to the book, in the way of departure, love, and how you feel, in relation to how the book depicts these themes. Good job!
That’s a really cool poem, especially since you dedicate it to your mom. We are all soon to graduate, and everyone’s going to have their own lives away from their homes. We will soon miss our moms and dads, and that is a very good point you have made out. I wonder how we are going to feel when we do reach that point….but maybe we never will……….
Regardless of the emotions, the pain that your parents bring you, in the end they are your parents. They worked so hard to bring the best out of you, or so they thought was the best. Acknowledging their hard work is all they ask. They may never truly understand you, and there may be nothing that you can do to fix this. They may hurt you more than they will ever understand. But they are your parents, and they will always be your parents.
I understood now. I cannot believe how stupid I have been then. And even now, I still am stupid. I am now thirty one. I am diagnosed with some unknown disease which cannot be cured. It has been one whole year of taking various kinds of medicines and remedies. I was told that my life expectancy may last up to ten more years before I hit that day. With such a limited life time, I have talked with my friends from the good old times, and gone out and done many things that I can with the few years of life that I have left. I found out that my brother has married and had a baby. A few years later, the baby was then six years old, old enough to talk. I asked him, "what do you want most in life right now?" He replied, "I wish I can see into the future ten years from now."
The young boy was shocked, he did not know what happened. As he lay there on his father's brother's lap, he was crying and did not know what to do with the sudden collapse of his father's brother's body.
This story was inspired by Vignette #7, with the story of the grandfather and grandson.
Wow! I didn't perceive the story to be that way at all! This is a very good piece! I really liked it.
A young boy stands in front of the theater, staring at the movie showing schedule.
One o’clock , I have one more hour until the movie starts. I should probably go get my haircut.
He runs his hand through his jet black locks and walks across the block to the nearby barber shop. Taking a seat by the counter, he waits for his turn to get his hair cut.
He sits down, noticing the cold eyes of the white men getting their hair cuts. The amount of glances set on him put him in an uncomfortable position. He sits and waits for twenty minutes.
“Excuse me, I was wondering how long it would take until I would be able to get my hair cut?”
“Can’t cut your hair, boy.”
He must be busy. I’ll just wait until the next barber is finished.
The boy sits back, patiently waiting another fifteen minutes until the other barber was done with his client. Walking towards the chair the barber barked:
“What do you think you are doing?”
“I need a haircut.”
“I can’t cut your hair.”
“You can’t or you won’t?”
“I can’t cut your hair.”
“Because…you don’t belong here.”
“I can’t cut your hair. It’d be best if you left.”
He felt his blood begin to boil as he raised his voice:
“Listen, I deserve as much of a right to get my hair cut as these other gentlemen do. If you do not wish to cut my hair then I will sit here until you do.”
The barber helplessly looked around for a lending hand from the other barbers. One gave the barber a look as if to say *get rid of him or the boss will cut you*.Whispering, the barber says:
“Listen, I wish I could cut your hair, I really do…but you see you could ruin the reputation of this barber shop. No Chicano has ever gotten his hair cut here before. I myself am part Chicano- my mother was an immigrant. It pains me to not be able serve my people either. How about a deal: If I cut your hair, will you promise to never come back again?”
“Yes, I swear upon my word. I am grateful for your offer, Señor.”
A few days later, word on the street was that the barber who cut the boy’s hair was fired. The boy returns to the barber shop to confirm this rumor. And upon walking towards the shop, he stops at the sight of the barbershop. The shop had been vandalized and the windows were busted through. A man walking down the street took one look at the shop and muttered to himself:
I was inspired by Vignette #5; I wondered what the outcome would be if the boy were to get the haircut and this was the result. I tried to keep Rivera’s way of having nameless, unidentified characters to emphasize the lost identity that this culture was searching for. This small, unrecognized group of people has to overcome the pain and suffering, physically or in this case, emotionally.
Christine I like how you finished It was an hour before! I would not have though of this kind of ending. I was surprised at your ending though. Even if it was something unimaginable it was very powerful at sending its message. Great job Christine!
I rally like the way you constructed your writing. I enjoy how to continued on elaborating on the situation. After I read the story, I was confused. I guess every person have a different opinion on the way the boy think.
Great job Christine. I really enjoy the piece you wrote inspired by the vignette. I liked how you kept the boy without a name so it applied to any person who had experienced the same living a community where the Chicanos were oppressed.
I really enjoyed this piece. I think your perception of this story really matches the unsaid parts of the actual vignette.
Hmm...seems a bit extreme but nonetheless I like the fact that there exists a clear difference between what one person wants and what society as a whole wants - it's a more realistic way of depicting some antagonists.
Reading And the Earth did not Devour Him had an affect on all of us I am sure, I can say that with such security because I know I was affected by this story. Not only because I relate with most of the stories, but because of what I experienced today. I was excited to write about how I related with the book and what story made my eyes fill with tears…but instead I want to share a story with you, something that relates with the book we just read, and to the audio about Martha.
Injustices are made everyday but today it has been the cruelest of all of them. As most of my friends know, I am very hard headed I do not like seeing other people suffering. Although I am quiet to most, you will eventually know that my expressions and gestures are representing what is going on in my mind.
4pm today a single mother of nine children was arrested for driving without a license, this was very bad, not only because she was stopped without having something against her, but because of this arrest, she was deported.
4pm today nine children became orphans. Their mother was not going to pick them up from school today, their mother was not going to cook them dinner, and their mother was not going to share with them the news that she had finally won full custody of all nine of them.
At 4pm today most of us went home and saw our mothers, we got the chance to be rude and tell them that, “we did nothing at school today” for the millionth time, we had a chance to have an argument with our mother. Tonight we have the chance to kiss our mothers goodnight.
These children are as old as 15 and as young as 11months, they have two step brothers, one of them with a wife. As I am speaking they are desperately trying to locate the mother, and figure out how they are going to keep the children together. They fear that if social workers come they will be separated, knowing that they have to pay rent in ten days or they will be evicted, the two step brothers are running around trying to find work.
Yes work, not people who they can ask to borrow money from, but work. I asked one of them “wouldn’t it be easier to find someone who can lend you the money?” they answered, “No, we are responsible for these children because that was the last thing our mother said to us, if we let others lend us the money how are we being responsible, we need work to earn the money with respect and therefore not go in to debt with anyone.”
The strength they have right now is admirable; knowing that their mother is not there and they are still keeping their promise to her gives me a sense of pride. Pride because being Mexican we have been raised to respect our mothers, whatever they ask us must be done without exception. One of the brothers is young and is not married, the other brother is already married, and they both moved into their home and became responsible of the children without a hesitation.
I can assure you that wherever this mother is tonight she is not worried about her children because she knows her sons are caring for them. Just like in the story 'what his mother never knew', these two brothers are keeping this mothers faith alive, the faith that will give her serenity of some sort. I said that there are many injustices made everyday this is one of them, nine children have no mother tonight she was brought over here at the age of eighteen, she is almost forty years old and she was deported because a cop was having a bad day and had to do his job. And what is left to do? Nothing, the two brothers now have to be both a mother and father to these children and wait and see what becomes of their mother.
These situations happen everyday and unfortunately just like Martha’s situation there is nothing to be done; I know if someone is reading this there has to be a sense of frustration, because even though it is 9pm as I am writing this I am still frustrated that our country separates families like this, what if they did not have these two brothers? What would become of them now? What did these children do to deserve this?
Brenda this was simply fantastic. You made your blog so personal and so real. As we just skate through our lives everyday, we forget how many people are struggling just to get by. Awesome job.
yes it is very true we forget to look outside our bubble and do not realize the struggles of others.thank you for reading it.
I was really touched on the thing you have listed on what can just happen at that. We are constantly thinking of our pain and problems, but we never thought about how others suffers much more miserably
All he ever wanted was to be happy. That's all anybody ever wants. Isn't it?
Why then... why is it that we're always searching? He spent all of his years searching, never really ever finding.
Seventeen years spent trying to give back to his parents the greatness they gave to him as they crossed into America. He grew to be great, bound for more.
Seventeen years spent trying to get his older brothers to stop picking on him. He learned to forgive.
Seventeen years spent trying to be everything his mother wanted. He grew to be more than what she ever imagined.
He made it. Concentrated. Educated. Integrated himself into the American culture. Ready to launch forward into his promising future.
But it was not enough. He wasn't ready to leave. There was something he was still chasing.
The college acceptance? No, that had not brought it. Local acclaim, hometown heroism? No, that had not brought it.
It made his mother proud, his brothers respectful. But still, he chased and turned with every circle being incomplete.
He is completely, utterly lost. But he searches.
Inspired by The Lost Year. In this piece, I just basically put the sense of desperation and loss Rivera tries to paint into the context of an ordinary life. This story means something new to me every time I read it and that's because its so relatable. Each time I read it, it brings to light all the things a person can lose. What is so scary about all this is that when a person loses something like this, something that is more a part of them than an arm or a leg or five dollars, they barely even notice that it is gone. When you realize that its finally gone, or that it was never really there in the first place, its really hard not to feel completely thrown.
Your piece was so raw. I really enjoyed reading it. It really embodied the desperation and the hopelessness that Rivera uses. But for me, I think that even the most desperate stories give me hope.
This is really touching Nathalie. I can really see and feel the emotion from this piece. I've read The Lost Year a few times as well and it really does add something new each read.
In a way, I feel like I can identify with what you wrote. At this age, I believe that we are still trying to find something. That something I do not necessarily know what it is. But I do knows that it is something deep within ourselves. Hopefully, we will be able to find it.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am sorry, I am sorry for not telling you but, that night has haunted me for as long as I can remember, I still remember how I found him cold and motionless. They were laughing like it was a joke, the cackling echoes in my ears, they killed him and were laughing and I thought these people were liked what if anyone saw them. I always wanted to say it was them….they did it, they did it for the money, they were greedy people, they stole a lot of things, why did people like them? They tried to make me steal, but I couldn’t. Why don’t people see them for who they truly are? They made me dig his grave, help them bury the body. Why? Why couldn’t you come for me? They gave me the ring, the ring he was wearing I kept it to remind me. Remind me of what they did to me, what I did. I am sorry, I am sorry that I didn’t have the courage to tell anyone.
The boy with the hand in his pocket
I was inspired by Hand in His Pocket
I really like your idea (look below your post). I did not plagerize you by the way.... I submitted it at the same time! I liked your letter btw.
How did you guys come with the same idea and hand it in at the same time? Are you guys really that lucky?
Anyway, I really liked the idea of the boy writing back to someone to express his guilt towards what he had help do with the murder. Though he wasn’t the one who decided – nor executed – the murder, he was unfortunately forced into it by the couple. He must have felt terrible, and I do actually believe that he might have done something similar after the night of the burial.
To Whom It May Concern,
I know it is peculiar for a letter like to arrive in the police department but it’s just been eating at me for years now. I was a mere child when it happened and I didn’t think it meant anything… I didn’t think anyone would miss him. It was the year that I had to board with Don Laito and Dona Bone. It was the year I murdered someone. I don’t think anyone misses him or that he was even a great part of the community but I feel that no matter how insignificant my crime was there still needs to be justice. Recently I had a nightmare, it involved everyone in the Chicano community being wronged, being mistreated, being ignored and nobody paid them any attention and I felt as if I continued to mask my crime then there would be no end to this crime. Every night I lie, thinking back to the night that I buried that man. The ring that was given to me is a burning reminder of the hideous events that took place that year. Enclosed in this letter is the ring as I felt that it would be symbolic as the burden is lifted off my shoulder. I hope this injustice will be put to court even if that means if I am put into jail. This event has traumatized me and haunted me almost every moment of my life. I conclude this letter by saying, that I am sorry. Sorry, I didn’t do this sooner, sorry I was so foolish, and most of all… sorry to my community for betraying them.
Inspire by Hands in His Pocket
i don't know how we did it but i like how you wrote yours towards an authority figure as oppose how i wrote mine like a stream of consciousness aim at who ever but good job on yours
Tears rolling down her eyes, no one offering help. Amidst the workers in this drenching weather, Amelia only was laying down in a shade for coolness. The throat burdened by thirst, she cannot even call anyone. While everyone was working, saving water for their love ones, a mother had her daughter by the side while picking tomatoes. The little child noticed Amelia fainting by the three, holding out her hands for aid. Julia went up to Amelia then offered the last drops of water for Amelia. While everyone ignored the pleas for help, Julia noticed a sign for water, thus simply giving hope for a stranger. Amelia was astonished by the kind help of this young girl, then standing up, taking the girl back to the fields.
This was inspired by “The teacher was surprised”. It exemplifies how one person can make an impact through a simple task, a sacrifice worth noting within a person’s life.
Having the little girl sacrifice the tiny amount of water that was left was really sweet. Great job, I liked this a lot!
I liked how your almost last line said that a sacrifice is worth nothing compared to basically saving someones life.
I agree with you and I thought it was very insightful on how you talked about sacrifice.
A Boy: I pray that I remember the lost year.
A Mother: I pray that the spirits enjoy the water under the bed. If they drink it I will continue my duty.
A Boy: I pray for some water...so if I go to the tank I pray that the boss doesn’t fire us.
A Mother: I pray that my boy is not missing and alive. I will give you anything. I will give you my heart. Just bring him back alive. Please.
A Man: I pray that there is work in Utah.
A Boy: I pray that it doesn’t hurt. I want so badly to become a telephone operator. I pray that maybe I wasn’t expelled.
A Boy: I pray that I get an opportunity.
A Boy: I pray that I can get a haircut. I see no reason why I couldn’t.
A Boy: I pray that the devil is real. Because if he is not then...
A Worker: I pray that the man will teach us skills. I am so tired of working in the fields.
A Boy: I pray that my family does not have to suffer again. They don’t deserve it.
A Boy: I pray that I remember to confess all my sins and not forget.
A Man: I pray that our love lasts forever on this beautiful wedding day.
Ramon: I pray that my girlfriend keeps her promise as I will stay true to her.
A Man: I pray that when we arrive we get what we deserve.
A Boy: I pray that there is someone out there that knows what I’m feeling.
This piece was inspired by “A Prayer” and includes various characters from many other stories praying but never getting an answer. I myself believe in God and I also pray. It is just frustrating sometimes when one prays and all they hear is silence. It is even more frustrating wondering if prayers will ever get answered.
I am very impressed the way you wrote. I had fell deep into the questions where I know that NO ONE is responding. This is amazing
I liked how you showed the different characters not having their prayers answered.
I really liked the fact that you used inspiration from one story to tie together the entire book. I'm agnostic - meaning I'm uncertain of my religious status - but I understand what you mean when you say that it's frustrating when God doesn't answer your prayers or even give you any sign of Him receiving them. The whole thing's a mystery.
I agree with you. Although I am nonreligious, I still “pray” sometimes for good grades or other stuff. However, we are not likely to get the answer from God or any other person we believe in. Religion or any form of faith only serves as some encouragement to inspire people to stay positive no matter how bad the situation is. We should believe more in ourselves instead of praying. A student will not be learning anything by just praying but not doing work, neither will a woman lose weight by praying a thousand times everyday. Praying helps people to keep faith and hope, but for the working part, we really have to rely on ourselves to make what we pray come true. I always believe that “there is a will, there is a way”.
I love this piece Tyler! The way you repeat the beginning idea for each story is really cool. It helps to make the piece to pick up in pace, and your ideas are great.
“I hate this so much. I just can’t stand this heat. It is so exhausting. Toiling on these fields for so long, I am sick of it! They are working us like animals. I wish…”
“Little brother, calm yourself! We must keep working. Come on, come on, just a few more hours and we’ll be done for the day. Look if we work well this summer we will be able to get a car. We can then find better work.”
“Yes, all I wish for is a decent job. But how we will ever get enough money for a car? The boss barely gives us enough to eat and he took away the pay of our friends, just for drinking extra water. He might take away ours too!”
“Brother, opportunities will come. There will be a way.”
Word quickly spread through the farm that a man would come to teach the workers carpentry. Everyone was excited. The little bother felt more optimistic. Maybe he and his brother would not have to move away to find better work.
“He is here! Finally, big brother we can do something different. We can be carpenters!”
“Yeah, what did I tell you? The opportunity opened up, didn’t it?”
It turned out that the man was not planning on teaching the workers at all. He made sure to keep them out of the house while he was inside. A week later, the workers found out that he had run off with the boss’s sister.
“Why? Why do we try so hard? Nothing. God didn’t not help, no one helped! Big brother, how can you believe that anything will ever get better?”
“Oh, please little brother don’t talk that way. How can you say such things? There will be a…”
“There will be a way. And the poor go to heaven. I know, I know! I quit, no more animal’s work for me.”
“Little bother, we must keep working!”
He left his big brother. He left the farm. There was no other job for him. None.
When the little brother turned thirty he finally realized the truth in his brother’s comments.
The inspiration for this piece came from a number of the stories in the novel. I felt like combining stories while emulating Rivera’s writing style. The basic structure and dialogue of this piece is based off Vignette 4. The little brother is the one who questions opportunity in the vignette and the big brother is the one who believes that opportunities will arise. The setting is the farm from ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. I took note of the generational gap in the …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him and Vignette 7. It appears that the older generation is more faithful and optimistic than the younger generation. The little brother does not have faith in God nor does he believe that anything will ever get better for himself. He is further crushed when the man did not teach him carpentry. This unfortunate event is based on the one in Vignette 6 where the man did not teach the workers and ran off with the minister’s wife. The big brother is more hopeful and finds his little brother’s complaining to be uncalled for. He wants to keep working in hopes of a better life. He wants his brother’s help and provides motivation similar to the father in The Children Couldn’t Wait. I also tried to leave the work slightly unfinished as in most of Rivera’s stories. When the boy turned thirty he realized the mistake he had made. He left a paying job and believed that there was no hope. His brother stayed on the farm and got enough money to buy a car. He left to Minneapolis and found a job as a bellboy. This ending is based off of a character’s discussion, in When We Arrive, of what he would do instead of working such a difficult job on the farm. There are additional stories and vignettes in this work, I hope that they will get noticed.
Dear Lord, Jesus Christ, my savior. This is neither a plea nor a confession, but I feel that I do not take the time to speak to you, to communicate, and to listen often enough. So this is my way of thanking you, dear Lord, for my life, and my family. Dear Lord, though my life is easy now, it has not always been that way. I lost my way, but you were there to guide me back to my path. When I lost my aunt, my dearest aunt, you were there, when I thought I couldn’t go on anymore. I know that she is with you dearest Lord. She is with you in heaven. Sweet Jesus please watch over my grandma. Lord, I see her getting weaker. Please give her strength to carry on. Provide her with the stability that you’ve given me. Dear Lord, I thank you for allowing to me come into life through my mother. My mother is my strength, as she leads me as much as you do Lord. Watch over her as her life is filled with uncertainty and stress. Lord, please guide my fellow classmates in the years to come. Our lives begin, and our journey together ends. Watch over them and keep them safe. Especially Colin. Dear Lord, watch over him and keep him close to you, even though he’ll be far away from me. And Lord, dearest Jesus, guide me through my life, and my future. The future is uncertain, but dear Lord I know you will guide me, and hold my hand through it all. Protect me, please dearest Lord, from falling off of the path you have set for me.
I was inspired by A Prayer. I feel that I, personally, only communicate to God when I'm in dyer need for him. Or even as just part of a daily routine. But I know now that I should keep more of an open communication with him, because he protects me and keeps me safe. When I was confirmed as a catholic a couple of years ago, the bishop leading the liturgy said, "When you pray to God, take time after to listen. Just listen." Now, it's my time to listen.
This post is unedited and raw. Because, a prayer isn't meant to be that way.
It's really touching how you prayed for your family and how thankful you are for them. However, why is it you only pray when you need him?
It's really touching how you prayed for your family and how thankful you are for them. However, why is it you only pray when you need him?
He told me that I was stupid, and ended our conversation. My grandfather, unable to move cast me away because of a foolish answer to a wise old man’s question. Time has passed now. The days come and gone like the sun and the moon. My wish for the ten years I had asked to rush by had come true, as did the next 10. At my young age I thought the faster I aged the better, oh but how I was wrong. I am older now and I wish the time that sped by so effortlessly had slowed down so I could truly capture all those moments now long gone.
As I grew I never really stopped thinking about that brief conversation that I shared with my grandfather. I know now that he saw me as foolish for wanting to rush through life, while all he wanted was it to slow down. I was a fool, I am a fool.
I am the grandfather now, weak and weary. A diminished reflection of that man that I used to be, I know now what my grandfather once felt like. Wisdom in its purest form.
I asked my grandson what his greatest desires were.
What a fool.
Inspired by Vignette 7
I like how you interpreted vignette 7 and I like your piece. It is very true that time goes way too fast. I see it travel fast now and I hope that it does not seem even faster as I get older.
"Don't forget me."
Books, movies, media of all sorts, history even, have used this line. Over and over and over. He'd seen it all before. That was the point, wasn't it? To be remembered. To carve your own legacy and leave your own mark on the face of history, no matter how shallow. Of course, the deeper the better, but even to scratch the surface of the monstrosity is the goal of mankind, is it not? To be remember one must first be acknowledged. One's existence must be made to all, otherwise there is nothing. He knew the goal of humanity. He literally touched on it nearly everyday. Heavy. Bound. Text. It was law to preach it, learn it. Worship it. No amount of running to various countries can stop one from living it. History is mankind's Bible-no God. Religion was history in itself, though it's creditability is highly debatable. These people crawled, dug, killed their to have their names recognized and stand in the face of the world, whether in good or bad light was overlooked. All that mattered was the mark.
It was pathetic, really, in his opinion. To obtain “eternal life” in the on such worthless material that could be so easily defiled and destroyed.
Maybe this was because he felt he was nothing. He felt that his worth had been negated by those related to him. Surrounded him. His best friend: the model student. His siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews: Lawyers, doctors…stars of all sorts. Him? Mediocre grades. Mediocre social life. Mediocre, mediocre, mediocre… “Why can’t you be like your brother? What’s with these grades?” …Again and again… “We don’t want you to be the best. We just want you to try your best. We want what’s best for you.” Over time it evolved. He heard those same words over and over but eventually he started see other meanings that those words held… “It’s ideal if you do your best but if you don’t meet the standard set by others, we’ll be disappointed.”
He was going to be remembered, he was sure. Remembered for being the worst in the family. The world. For being completely worthless. The failure of the lot. He couldn’t, can’t, won’t deal with it. So he decided, ‘I don’t want to be remembered. I don’t want to be known. I just want to disappear!’ Better to not exist than exist as the blemish on a perfect record.
It was pathetic, really. He had decided. He would live his life in a mediocre fashion. He would die in a mediocre fashion. And then....He was going to disappear. Forever.
The quote is from "It’s That It Hurts," and everything just kind of spiraled down and got out of control from there. I reversed the theme of the story.
I feel sad that people do become forgotten over time, even before we die. We are who we are – not defined by who we are or by what we do, but by both. We don’t earn the grades others do because we are different intellects – individuals with a unique mind that cannot be replicated, nor replicate. We are not like others – we see things through different eyes. That is sometimes what parents seem to get, so I really agree that sometimes, it might just be better to just disappear.
But I also believe that things get better. At the end of the darkness is the light, but before the light is the darkest part of the night. So, if we go through that darkest part, things might just get better.
** DISCLAIMER: This "poem" is written in an urban kind of format, formally know as rap. It flows better when you give yourself a little beat and get your MC on**
Words sink in like poison from mouth to mind
Dealing with disrespect trying to keep up with the daily grind
The years keep on progressing but our progress is on rewind
But what can I do?
My daughter needs new shoes and the season of picking is honey dew
Tio Roberto is slowly dying from the flu
I’m stuck in this life as if I’m plastered in glue- elmer’s
Every move strikes my family like a hammer
My son goes to school, but his lack of education makes him stammer
Slurred speech and strong accents makes us vulnerable and weak
When I wake up everyday at 5, I know why one would want to tweak
Barely getting around because the gas tank leaks
Like my soul, it is losing its fuel
I feel like I will always lose when I partake in this duel
Its struggle everyday just keep away from the knife;
Carve my body into pieces
Give my heart away to Jesus
My mother always taught me to be nice and good, do nice things for others, with the belief that you will receive something nice in return soon or later in life. I grew up following that, if I could help someone out, I would. But as I age and grow up, I am starting to sway away from that belief, I think it is bull_____. When I was young, up to elementary school years, and helped other out, I would get “oh! This kid is so well-mannered” or a thank-you and it felt good to help others. Middle school years and up? It was the time that good feeling from helping people out started to die out. It’s like people expect you to be nice and good and you get nothing in return. I asked my mother why, she told me it’s not about what you receive in return but I do not care about that. I wanted to know why nothing good ever happen to me even when I am nice and good. I had to suffer losing my dog, losing my grandfather to lung cancer, losing my chance with my love interests. My grandfather was like me in a way, he was well respected by everyone because he is such generous man but according to my mother’s belief, he should not have been taken away by cancer… but he did. I was nice and good, but my closest companion was killed by some fool driving. I lost my chance with her, I don’t even know why, I was most generous to her yet the bad still happen. I guess nice guys really do finish last, nothing great happens to the good. I still don’t get why I continue to act generous and good when nothing good comes to me.
Your response really hit me hard. I to ask the question: Why do bad things happen to good people?, and I have yet to find a reasonable answer.
I actually disagree with you. Being good has nothing to do with it. Everyone, whether good or bad, suffers. It's just a part of life we have to learn to accept.
I know that everyone suffers, but why do good people suffer if the good do not deserve to suffer? "Because everyone suffers" and "It's just a part of life" are not good enough answers for me.
First of all, I feel sorry for your grandfather’s and your companion’s death. But as always, I guess that death is just what makes us special. Without death, we would live forever – we would be forever – but is that really what we want? I don’t think so. Only because of death do we have limited time, and only because of this do we value our time – time spent with family, loved ones and so on. Every second of every minute of every day, we are slowly approaching our deaths. Like said once in a movie before, death is not what defines us – rather it is what we do in life that makes us so special. Everyone has their own story to tell – their pain, suffering – but instead of taking it as a suffering or pain, let it be a trial to us. Let us take it on – as in a formidable journey – and embrace it so that we may come out enlightened.
After drinking the water for many years he decided that today was going to be the day that he was going to tell her. He wasn’t an official adult yet, but he thought he could be able to take care of himself in case something went wrong after his mother found out.
That night, the boy woke up at his usual time, crept out of bed, and just stared at the water, wondering if he should drink it or not. He heard his mother moving on the bed and backs out of his plan. He quickly drinks the water and said to himself that tomorrow would be the day.
Morning comes. All the boy can thing about is that day is whether he should drink the water or not, that’s it. The day seems to pass unusually quickly and its time to go to bed. His mother places another glass of water underneath the bed and she goes to sleep. He lies in bed for hours wondering about the water and eventually falls asleep. He never wakes up again that night.
His mother wakes up before him that night, sees the water and smiles, and just dumps it out. When the boy wakes up he wonders why his mom didn’t say anything, she just continues her day like nothing happened so he asks her about it. His mother tells him that one night she found out he was drinking the water. His mother tells him the only reason that she still continues working so hard is for him, her son, and no one else. He is the only thing she has left in this world.
Wow! I really liked the twist at the ending, when i started reading your piece I thought the ending would be predictable and that the boy would just tell his mother. But I liked the twist!
The story never really tells us anything about the mother - I like the fact that you made her a strong person who doesn't have to rely on false hope.
I like the happy ending you added on to the vignette. It brings a positive outlook on to what seemed like such a dismal situation.
Mother I hope you understand,
I only drank the water for you,
So you would keep on going,
And I just kept on playing,
Along and along,
I hope you forgive me one day for this the time I have wronged,
But know that I did it for you so you could be at peace
And when you realize that I hope you know that the price at which it came wasn’t cheap,
It is a burden on my heart, long as the Nile,
I’m thinking of telling you but in my heart I know I’ll be silent,
Because the faith you have keeps us moving on and on,
And if I tell you the truth you might just want to give it all away,
If my act keeps your faith going just as strong
As the bond that we have in our community then I’m all, for it
I will be loyal to you forever,
And hope that one day we will all be equal and blessed together.
I was inspired by "The Lost Year". The piece says so little, yet embodies so much. There is so much meaning in so little lines, and the reason I was inspired by this is how much power and meaning is stored in such a little space.
I don't see how this has to do more with The Lost Year than the first vignette, but anyways... this was a very interesting piece. I feel like the boy would have had to be thinking those exact words, yet he could never share them with his mother.
Good Conscience = GC
Bad Conscience = BC
(After catching his workers drinking from the cattle tank his conscience kicks in…)
Work Work Work!
They must work, we must get paid!
We pay them for work, not to get water
Catch them again and make them fear you.
Give them water they are only kids;
They are growing and need more water.
They don’t know that they can wait,
They will work after they get water.
(After scolding the children for drinking from the tank the first time, he catches one again. His conscience kicks in again…)
You told them already, the rules must be enforced!
How about you scare them instead of firing them,
Then you will have better workers.
Grab your rifle that will scare them.
Give them another chance.
They know your rules are not to be messed with.
One last warning should do.
They need this job to help their families.
(After shooting one of his workers by accident out of anger, His conscience kicks in again…)
You did it!
They will listen to you now.
They will work for their lives.
That tank will not be touched again!
You are evil!
You not only killed someone,
You got off scot free…
You deserve death!
(He is driven mad by his conscience.)
Inspired by The Burnt Little Victims
“In this corner is Mike Doher! Champion at 220 pounds! And in this corner, weighing in at 179 pounds, the newcomer rising from the ground up, RAULITO GARCIA!!!” The crowd roared like a god had just been announced. Everyone was looking at Raulito with eyes of admiration and awe.
The bell rang and the fight began.
The two fighters circled each other like two wolves experienced in the art of combat. Although different in size, Raulito had his own advantages through his speed and form. He had been training for this day since he was a child.
Images of the fire that consumed his house and siblings flashed through his mind. His sister laying on the ground burnt while still holding the boxing gloves.
Raulito made for the offensive with a jab across Mike’s face taking his opponent by surprise by his unexpected reach. In retaliation Mike made for the same movement but he was too slow. Raulito dodged seizing the opportunity to throw a heavy hit to the head knocking him across the ring.
Bright red, yellow, orange, all the colors of fire embedded in his head. Why him. Why was he the one that got to live. This question ran through his head every single day of his life.
Mike got back up and the fight continued. He made a quick feint for the body, faking Raulito out taking advantage of his lowered guard, scoring a hit to the face and the back of the head. While Raulito was rattled Mike used his momentum to land more hits until it was his opponent on the ground this time around.
Breathing heavily, sweat dripping down his face Raulito looked up at Mike from his meek position.
The night the Garcia family had seen that boxing movie, there was nothing that the rest of the family loved more in that moment than boxing.
“Raulito! Teach me that move from the movie!”
“Sure thing Juan!”
“Me too me too hermano!”
“Of course Maria”.
Raulito knew he couldn’t keep living by blaming himself for the accident. He had chosen boxing professionally because he knew his parents would be proud and the memories it held with his siblings as a child. They couldn’t be here, but he was, they were living the lives they were meant to have through him and he wasn’t about to let them down when he was moments away from glory.
He got up despite how disoriented he was. Fire was in his eyes. Not the same fire that haunted him all of his life, but passion and drive. This was a man that would not be taken down and his presence exuded that confidence.
Taken aback Mike took a small step backwards and in that moment Raulito was already on him, throwing punches left and right. Struggling to block and his stamina running low he began to get sloppy, that’s when it ended. Raulito saw through every opening and took it landing one last gut punch with all of his power and drive embedded in it.
Mike hit the ground with a thud, and there was silence. The crowd just stared in awe at what they had just seen.
“And our new champion, RAULITO GARCIA!!!”
The crowd broke into a deafening roar.
He did it. He made his family proud. If only his brother and sister could see him now. He was suddenly overtaken by a rush a warmth and happiness as he looked towards the sky. And he knew, even though they weren’t alive, his siblings were smiling at him from their place in heaven.
Why him. Why was he the one that got to live.
I think this a lot whenever I get things that I know others deserve a lot more than I do. Anyways, I like the parallel drawn between the inner conflict and the actual fight - it shows that frame of mind does indeed matter whenever one does something difficult.
“Oh... I hate seeing her like this, all sad and such, makes me quite sad as well”
“Awh, She’s probably like that because her casserole didn’t come out how she wanted it again”
“Oh that was in the past! ... Have you not heard?”
“Julianito… her boy… he’s gone missing!”
“Well where would he be??”
“How in heavens name should I know where that boy might be?”
“Well for all I can assume, he probably be getting himself into trouble AGAIN”
“Oh don’t be so quick to judge... for all we might now, he might even be in danger!”
“Probably not… that boy is always getting himself into trouble”
“Oh stop being so pessimistic towards them… they didn’t do nothing to you”
Inspired by : The Prayer. My piece entails two characters gossiping about what has happened to the family of Julianito. It portrays one character who expresses sympathy for their family, and another who is cruel and harsh towards the family for no reason. I was inspired to write this pretty much because I wanted to demonstrate that one shouldn't judge another person just by assuming about their past but instead they should not necessarily sympathize for them but at least send condolences.
I really liked what you did with this piece. The reactions from other people viewing the mothers situation really stands out. This makes me think of The Little Burnt Victims and how people were reacting to the death of the two children.
I thought that this conversation was very interesting and it really brought out the emotion and sensations you were showing and also what you got from reading the Prayer.
I remember the day you told me we were going to be together forever. You looked into my eyes and told me you loved me and wanted to spend the rest of your life with me. I was the happiest girl in the world. Nothing or no one could get me down. I felt invincible. You made me want to live. You gave me a reason to smile all day, everyday and I gave you a part of me that I knew you could break. I never trusted people easily, and you knew that, but you sat down and explained to me that you could be trusted. You told me you were always going to be there for me no matter what happened. You told me you were in love with me. I believed every word coming out of your mouth.
After we broke up, you continued to tell me you loved me and that we would get back together, you just needed to "find yourself" and I believed you. I gave you chance after chance even when my family and friends told me to get you out of me life. I still trusted you and still loved you so much. You told me to come over to hangout and watch movies, which gave me, hope that you still wanted to be with me. We went on dates and you kept reminding me how much you loved me. You keep reminding me that, "We are going to be together forever" and I listened. I never thought you would be the one to betray me.
Now, after a year an a half, you tell me you don't love me and you love someone else. You tell me you don't want to me with me forever. You tell me how you want nothing to do with me. You leave me behind, while you go start a new life with her. You tell me that I was just a phase in your life and you're now onto bigger and better things. I feel betrayed because I gave you a part of me that I knew you could break. I feel betrayed because you were my best friend and I trusted you. Most of all, I feel betrayed because I love you, and it's hard to see you walk away without me by your side.
And i was inspired by the story The Night the Lights Went Out.
Aw man. I almost wish I didn't read that one. Don't get me wrong! It was good, it's just that I'm in the same situation only a year behind. I don't really know what to do, and I can really relate to how you feel.
HAHA, im sorry. I didnt mean to remind you of anything sad. It wasn't about me though, just about a situation ive seen happen. I couldn't imagine going through something like that.
As days go by
As years pass
Secrets are killing me
I can not take it anymore
What am I doing this for?
Well I can not hold it inside no more
Mother I know this causes you pain
but truly I am sorry
As you put the water under my bed
For the devils to take
Sorry for the mistakes I make
I drink the water
As you think it is the devil
The feeling inside me told me to tell you
But my mind was holding me back
Worried, Unhappy, Under pressure
Lies that I told you this couple of years
Is killing me inside, because of all this fears
I was hiding it inside
But now I know its wrong
Rather tell the truth then hide.
Heart broken, can’t look into your eyes
So I write you this poem,
I can’t look into your face
And tell you this
I proved to you I am on the devils side
Lying, Now all I can do is hide.
Son: Mom I have something to tell you.
Son: Never mind I’ll tell you later.
Mom: Tell me now I have stuff to do.
Son: It’s not that important ill just tell you later.
Later that day
Mom: So what was it that you wanted to tell me?
Mom: Tell me.
Son: Okay so… you know you put water under the bed for the spirits.
Son: It was really me.
Mom: Stop joking about things like that.
Son: Really it was me stay up tonight and watch no spirits will come.
That night the mom stayed up the whole night waiting for spirits to come but she saw nothing.
The Next Morning
Son: See what I said mom no spirits would drink it.
Mom: It just so happened the spirits did not come last night.
Son: Watch tonight I will be the one who drinks it.
Mom: Stop joking.
That night the mom and son both stayed up and an hour before the sun came up the son went to drink the water.
Son: See I told you mom it was me all along.
Mom: Why would you do that!!! This is why our life is so hard!!! It’s because you are the one who is messing up the order of things by drinking the water!!! I never want to talk to you again!!!
After that incident I would always see my mom just staring into space like she didn’t know what to do. From that day on she never smiled and we never talked again.
Inspired by Vignette #1
Although you made the mom sound like a lunatic straight from the asylum, I think the ending is realistic. She doubts the son's claims not because the son is a chronic liar, but because the continuous cycle of life depends on that glass of water emptying itself every night. Then when she finally realized that her son did in fact drink the water, she breaks. A lot of stories in the book illustrates the dependence on faith and religion.
The boy returned home from the knoll. "But if there's no devil neither is there... No, I better not say it. I might get punished." He thought about why people went crazy after summoning the devil. If there's no devil there's no god either. Everything became clearer, and everything became darker.
As soon as he became old enough, he was brought to the fields. He gradually found less reasons to work so hard every day. You saved up money to travel somewhere else to work in another field. You work until you die and then where do you go? What's the point? Church didn't improve his spirits. How could he find respite in a concept that he himself undermined? They were right; It is like their spirits have left their bodies.
Soon, the boy married and had kids. The kids gave the boy new hopes and goals. One day at the dinner table the kids brought up a topic.
"Grandma said you summoned the Devil once!"
"There is no such... that's right. The Devil popped up and I ran like I've never ran before!"
"Now kids, don't fool around with the devil. Everyone who did regretted it afterwards."
The boy believed that he did the right thing. He did not want the kids to repeat the same mistakes that he and many others have made. The Devil should be kept alive.
Inspiration: I took "A Silvery Night" and wrote about the boy's life after he found out that there is no devil. This book contains many stories about faith and how it is the only thing that keeps the Chicano from breaking apart. The fact that a simple act of calling the devil could undermine their faith fascinates me.
I feel like this is the proper ending to the story. Any other ending would have perverted the message that Rivera wanted to get out of this story. I also like the fact that it doesn't take place immediately after he summons the devil. Rather, it takes place after years and years of contemplating the incident.
I didn’t think it would do anything
God, please spare my son. He’s a good boy, and he’s never done anybody any harm. Don’t let my son die in this war that he does not even wish to fight. I’m not asking you to help him win the war; I only want him to be safe, away from harm and bloodshed. I’ve come to beg you to simply protect his life so that he may soon return home safely. He’s my only son... Please don’t let them take him away from me!
Hey! Can you hear me? Wake up! Can you stand? You were hit in the side, but it’s just a flesh wound, right? Come on – I’ll lift you up! We have to get you out of here! We’ve already got a helicopter inbound to pick you up! You’ll be fine, okay? Don’t look at me like that… Hey! Hey! You can’t close your eyes yet, we’re almost there…
Miss, we regret to inform you that your son is MIA.
What’s MIA? I’m afraid I don’t understand…
It stands for missing in action. He was lost in a firefight. His body hasn’t turned up yet, but at this rate…
No… He couldn’t have… No! Please, just leave. I’m sorry. Please leave…
I’m sorry, miss.
God, why did he die? He deserved to live! He was so sweet, so noble, so gentle… He was my only son! Maybe I didn’t pray enough, but it’s no use now. He’s gone; my innocent little boy is gone – dead! If I could give my life in exchange for his, I would. O God, maker of miracles, take my life and bring my son back! I know it’s impossible, but I ask this of you anyway. I just wish I could see him again.
Hello? Mother? I- I’m home. Are you there? Where are you?
Oh my… Is it really you? Son? You’re alive? How? A messenger came and told us you were MIA!
Father! Yes, I’m back, safe and sound…but where’s mother?
God, have you granted her wish? Please tell me this isn’t real…
What do you mean? What happened to her?
She’s gone… Son, she passed away yesterday. She had a heart attack… I know you won’t believe me when I say this, but she offered God her life so that you could come home. I didn’t think it would do anything; heck, none of us did…but she’s gone, and you’re here – alive.
This was inspired by A Prayer. I was curious as to what might happen if God could actually grant her wish and take her life for his. Just to clarify, he didn’t die when his eyes closed and the voice faded out; he simply lost consciousness.
I don't know how to say this. I hope you're not mad at me, but I'm the one drinking the glass of water every night. No spirit ever came to visit us. I always saw the joy it brought you seeing the glass was empty. I didn't want to ruin that. I felt it was my duty to make you happy and drink it. Please forgive me and don't lose faith in God. He exists. I know he does.
Inspiration: vignette # 1 " What his mother never knew..."
Short and sweet, straight to the point. No beating around the bush, no nonsense. That's exactly how I would do it if I were in the boys shoes.
It was a hot day in the summer. The weather forecast did not predict such a hot, humid weather. And it was this particular day, which was the hardest for the children, but not only because they had a harder task and longer work hours. The boss did not treat them very well, not at all. He gives them free lunch, the same food he would feed his pigs. He gives them water, every other hour because he uses most of it for the cattle. Water was very limited and the boss needs it to keep the cattle happy and healthy. Today’s job was to clean up the mess the cattle had left behind. They needed water, really badly. The children especially needed the most. The parents tell them to wait, for just a little longer every time. They are still only kids so they are impatient.
There was a whole tank of water, just for the cattle, very cool and quenching. The children had been sneaking into the tank and drinking from the tank. They have been at it for a while before the boss realized what they were doing. He saw them but he did not go up to them. The next day, the boss did not give them water at all. He told them he saw what the kids were doing and the parents became furious, and then scared. The boss threaten that when he catches them again, just one kid, he will fire them all. They really need this job. The punishment for their children’s act is no water for another day.
It was unbearable. It seems like the days were getting hotter, and the feces more foul than ever. They were working their hardest still, just so they can maintain their jobs. Then one minute, one of the children collapsed. He was dehydrated and he could not move an inch. The dad knew he had to get water. He knew he had to steal the water from the tank, even if it risked their jobs. He grabbed a bucket and attempted to sneak to the tank. Unfortunately, the boss was especially on guard and ticked off today. He saw him and thought now even the parents are betraying him, not to mention he even got a bucket full of water. He looked at him, and then back at the gun on the wall.
They were so happy. Their father managed to come back with water and drank all of it. What they did not know was their father was pretty thirsty, too.
- inspired by the children could not wait
I got confused reading the ending of your story. So the owner stared at the parent then looked to the gun? And the parent managed to walk away with the water without getting fired?
Dear Lord Baby Jesus, I come to you again with gratitude and great faith. You have kept me safe thus far and I am eternally grateful. Many others tell me I would be lucky to get out of this alive, but I know that it has nothing to do with luck. I trust in You, and I believe that You will keep watch over me. I also ask you to help my mother to cope with her suffering. Nothing has happened to her, but if she’s still the woman that raised me, she is unbearably worried about my wellbeing. She is probably asking You to protect me as we speak. Goodness I hope she isn’t trying to make a deal with You. Whatever she says, whatever she offers, she’s good for it; I just ask that You not come to collect. I would hope that You only hear what she has to offer and accredit it to her desperation for my return. I leave you now, as I should get as much sleep as I can while I’m not on fire watch, and I ask you once more to make sure my mother does not do anything she will regret.
This was inspired by A Prayer. I thought it would be interesting to compose a prayer from the son’s perspective.
I enjoyed reading this. I really liked the fact that you wrote this in the son's perspective. It was kind of heartwarming.
This was very touching, and you are able to show the son's maturity and how he truly cares for his mother.
Your piece of work was very touching. If the mother were to hear her son say this, her life would be complete.
Sacrifice is the act to giving up something or to offer something; to surrender. It is difficult to give something up and you do not expect this act from many people. We would think that the rich would donate or sacrifice some of their riches to the needy and the poor but most don’t; some can be considered to be even greedier. We also would not expect the poor to sacrifice anything because they have to treasure on the things they have since they do not have the money to buy any luxury they want; these are the people who usually know compassion.
I do not know too many people like and I wish there were more people of your kind in this world. It is not everyday when I encounter someone who is willing to give up something that they treasure. I know how difficult it was for you to just rip the button off of your shirt, your last shirt, and volunteer that button for the poster. I am so grateful to have you as my student and it is a great honor to have you in my class. Your button means a lot and it will be great benefit. Once again, thank you so much for donating the button and also ripping your last shirt for the poster. It is very meaningful and it is obvious that as bright of a student you are, you also have a great big heart.
I was inspired by Vignette #8 The Teacher Was Surprised… The student in this story taught me a great deal of respect, compassion, and the act of sacrifice. I know that if I was that student, I would not have ripped my only last shirt because it was my last shirt. I do not think that the child committed to this act just to stand out or to feel belonged and rather out of compassion. This child is so special and thoughtful; the world needs more kids like this student.
Speak as “Spirit”
“It’s okay; I saw it, and everything that you did for your mom.”
The boy shocks by the “Spirit”.
“Finally, I’m here right now, you can stop worry about it, I will drink that water from now on, as you mom’s wish or your.”
The boy Recover from the shock and closed his eyes.
“Kid, I saw your courage, your fears, your reluctance, your guilt, but also saw your smile, your compassion, your maturity, your wisdom, your love.”
The boy starts crying.
The boy starts crying and smiling.
“Go, just go, is bed time, I know---it has been a long time. Have a good night, sweet dream.”
The boy starts walk toward his bed, but still doubt and look back each 5 seconds.
“Trust me, I’m here and thank you.”
Finally, the boy turn around and bow to the “Spirit” and run to his bed.
I was Inspire by the Vignette #1. I know my reply might not as same as the style of the book. But, I really think this is the end should be. I was trying to do some reply for each of students who has inspire by the Vignette #1, but I can’t. I don’t know why, most of people think that the end of this story will be the mom finally find out that is her son drink the water every single day which is a really sad end. I think that the boy also wish the “Spirit” can come and drink the water too! In addition, for the second from the last line, the bow is same as “thank you so much or even more” in Chinese culture.
I like this ending! It does seem like everyone wrote about the mother finding out, and I like how the mother will not find out in this one. It is great that an actual spirit will come to drink the water.
Don’t Leave Me
The sky had since darkened
Creating an eerie shadow across the graveyard
Rain splattered against the cement
Blanketing the area in a mist
The mournful cries were slowly drowned out
As the priest went on with his words
Pain ripped through her heart as she gripped her black slacks,
Why didn’t he listen? I promised, didn’t I? Wasn’t I enough?
Her brows furrowed as she felt tears stinging the corner of her eyes
She stood for the longest time, simply staring at the burnt body
His face wasn’t there but they were sure it was him
She gazed off into the distance
When he will come back to her?
He promised to come.
A cold chill ran up her spine as she watched the casket being lowered
She couldn’t bear to watch and decided to walk off
People called out to her
She pushed them aside
With each step, she felt her heart sinking into her feet
Her pulse beat harder, deeper, louder
Till it was the only sound that filled her ears
She wanted to be alone…
…alone so she can escape.
“What should we do with him?”
“We got all the information we need. We should get rid of him”
“No. We still need him to tell us our targets.”
“We’ll fake his death. Bring me that body over there.”
Slowly, their form retreated from him
He sat on the cold metal chair, arms tied behind him
His heart slowly caught in his throat as he listened to their plan
He needs to get out quickly
He promised to come back
The themes of love and death from the Earth Did Not Devour Him and a little bit from A Prayer.
Really great piece Angela! The details are the strength of this post; you used them very well.
Very nice details and use of imagery! It really made me see what was going on.
A recent house had burst into flames with two children burned to a crisp and one survival. An interview was done with the parents of the children earlier explaining the incident. The eldest child traumatized and apparently at fault, discusses the situation with the public. Until further notice, the García family does not wish to disclose the whereabouts of their dead children. The child was reluctant to speak at first, but information was still collected. Donations towards building a new home for them will be collected the following Monday. Other forms of comfort are appreciated. (The interviewer represents the “I” and the eldest child an “E”.)
I: Niño, what made you want to start a boxing match when your parents weren’t home?
E: Well, I am the oldest child and I wanted to be just like my dad. He always said that he wanted us to become the best boxers in our town. So I thought that I had control and told my siblings to do it.
I: How much alcohol did you put on Juan and Maria, Raulito?
E: Yesterday my dad only put like a few rubs of alcohol. But I wished to be more and so I splashed it onto them. My skin was very dry that day and so I didn’t add that much on myself.
I: Was there a reason for cooking while your siblings were boxing?
E: I got hungry and so I decided to cook eggs. I thought that my parents would be hungry as well and so I added more oil.
I: How do you feel about the death of your siblings?
E: This is all my fault! If I had been more careful this would have never happened. I have ruined everything (sobs) and nothing is left for us. Everyone will look at me like I am a killer…a murderer of my own family! (Pauses) But, come to think of it my parents are to blame too. If they hadn’t influenced *us*, then this would have never happened. It is their fault, their fault not mine!
I: I see. Don’t you think your parents are suffering through this experience though?
E: Of course, but probably not as much as me. I am going to have everyone see me as a murderer! They are not going to be looked at that way. As for my siblings, they should have also watched out for the frying pan. My parents should have known better.
I: Well then, what do you think is going to happen next?
E: I think my parents will have to work harder. Next time, I think that they will be careful what they expose me to. This isn’t my fault right, right?
I: If your siblings were still here, would you say anything to them about boxing?
E: The only thing I could say is that they should be more careful. As the oldest child I have to watch them but they have to watch themselves too.
I: Very well then. Is there anything else you wish to add?
E: No one is going to make me believe this is my fault. My parents are to blame. They are to blame! They are the ones who killed my siblings, they are!
I: Your parents had said in their interview that they loved you all very much; you don’t think that’s true?
E: No! If they did then this would not have happened. They have too many things in their house which caused the fire to spread. If they loved us, they would have made it safer. That is not called love, it is called danger!
I: No further questions need to be asked. The child was getting rather emotional and was thrashing about. During the interview, he had continuously pushed the blame away from himself. He was anxious, crying, and extremely depressed. Can we blame him folks?
I was inspired by the story “The Little Burnt Victims”, because of the fact of how the story had ended. As I was reading the story I did not understand the meaning of the title until the end. I wrote about an interview with the child like a news reporter would. Usually children don’t like to have the blame, especially when it is a critical event. I understood how this child felt nonetheless, as an older child to 3 of my siblings; I know what the blame feels like. If one of them gets hurt, I am seen as the one at fault. At times we like to give the blame to others, and say their influence forced us to do it. Is that really what is going on though, or is our fear and refusal of being wrong that blinding? Sometimes the love and worry of others disappear as we give them all the negative aspects. “The Little Burnt Victims” allowed for me to write a piece that overshadowed the warm love of the parents, by the overbearing creep of regret.
Chara! That was an interesting interview. You simply pointed out that we typically go into denial and cannot handle the blame of a tragic situation. The questions that the interviewer asked really brought out this stage of denial that the child needed to overcome.
First!(: Chara!! I loved your interview. So creative. There was one part I esp. liked...
"This is all my fault! If I had been more careful this would have never happened. I have ruined everything (sobs) "
It really brings out the inner child. From how I see it, children usu. put the blame on themselves when they are aware of the level of seriousness. But then the child didn't really blame it all on himself, he ends by pointing fingers at the parent.
One must not blame themselves during a situation that they have no control over. Tragedies happen and the only way we can live a healthy life is by moving on and letting go of the past.
I loved Ramón. I really did. I know I broke my promise to him, but I was hurting. Ramiro was there to help me cope with Ramón’s absence and help me forget my pain. I know I told Ramón I would wait for him, but I just couldn’t wait that long. I was tired of being alone. I needed companionship, which is when Ramiro came in. He made me feel special. I was blinded by his charm and his good looks. I jumped at the chance to feel loved again, a feeling I had not felt since Ramón’s departure. I moved on and I feel terrible that Ramón was not able to. Nonetheless, I am very happy with Ramiro.
This was inspired by The Night the Lights Went Out. This is told in the perspective of Juanita and this is her reasoning for her betrayal.
Who will protect me when I am vulnerable
To stop that bullet, to watch my back
Who will aid me when I am injured
To suppress that wound, to mend my cuts
Who speaks for me when I cannot speak
When I left my family, when they took me
I am only human, I can only ask
Please, protect us
“Dear God, Jesus Christ, keeper of my soul”
Who will protect me when I am vulnerable
To stop that bullet, to watch my back
Who will aid me when I am injured
To suppress that wound, to mend my cuts
Who speaks for me when I cannot speak
When I left my family, when they took me
I am only human, I can only ask
Please, protect us
“Dear God, Jesus Christ, keeper of my soul”
Journal Entry: May 19
Every day is the same now. I wake up and work towards something that is impossible to reach. I work in the lettuce fields with my family every day, from dusk ‘til dawn. We each get paid $2 an hour which is enough to survive. Our life is in these fields you see, but our hopes and dreams are in another place altogether. We dream of a better life-one that isn’t held captive in these fields. The problem is, I can’t remember what exactly we dream for. Once long ago, I knew what we dreamt of, but now it is a blur. I don’t think any of us can remember. We all just go to work while we think of our dream. What was my dream specifically? Did I want to leave this place and become a doctor? Did I want to buy a nice house in San Diego? I don’t know, all I know is that I want to get out. I want to leave this place and this life. Anything is better when you’re as low as you can be. Anyways, I’m off to work now so I’ll have to wrap this up. For now our lives are here, and maybe they will continue to be here forever. One can dream though, and one can hope. Even if our dream is aimless, wherever we dream of is still a better place than here. Who knows maybe one day we can make the impossible a reality. But today, our lives are in the field.
Inspired by And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. The boy is lost and does not remember what he is doing there.
Good mini story. I like how you switch back and forth between having a dream and the farm.
Woman: Dear God, I am begging you, please protect my child. Please bring him back home.
God: I am sorry but I can only grant you one wish. Do you want him back but dead, or, safe but missing?
Woman: I don’t want either. I want him alive. I don’t want to live if my son dies. I want to see him, touch him and hold him in my arms. I will give you my very own heart in exchange for his life.
God: I don’t want your heart.
Woman: What is it that you want then? I can give you anything you want, as long as you bring my boy back home. I will do anything you ask me to do. I can endure even the most hurtful pain.
God: There is nothing you can give me.
Woman starts crying.
God: I don’t want anything from you. I already have your soul.
There comes a knock on the door.
Son：Mama, I’m home.
Inspired by A Prayer.
Since most of the stories in …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him have sad endings, I decided to give this story a happy ending. The woman’s love for his son moves me. Through the repetition I feel the mother’s strong and intense emotions. I feel how desperately she wants her son back. If I were god, I would help her. It was too bad that in the story, she was unanswered.
I thought the ending was going to be sad. I couldn't help but say "aw" when I read the end. I thought the way you connected back to A Prayer was actually really good.
It’s December once again and we are all together
Sitting side by side, no matter the weather
Juan has gone to heaven, but here we stay
Now we look up to see him each day
Little Tomas is scared; he is oh so confused
On how to continue through life; he asks, “what do I do?
I don’t want to work here until the day I die”
I say, “look forward to the future, don’t complain and sigh.”
Maria misses him dearly, she regrets all of her mistakes
What she doesn’t realize is it’s that which made the relationship great
She keeps him in mind in hopes of not letting her memory slack
But she must move on with her life, there’s no use in looking back
Keep your head up; don’t look down
You’re only ugly when you frown
Keep your eye on the prize; look at what’s to come
When you do this you’ll have a successful outcome
Enjoy living in the present, but get ready for what’s ahead
Keep looking for more knowledge to put into your head.
I decided to write a poem that Bartolo could have written and shared with the town in “Bartolo passed through…” (88).
“Daddy, what is this?”
His daughter took her hands out of her ragged jewelry box and placed a dust old ring on his hand. He stared at it for a few moments, not registering what his eyes took in. Then-- The small house. Don Laito and Dona Bone. The wetback. The blood. The years after that incident were the worse. Paranoia had set in and controlled his life. The nightmares had caused contortions for years. Classes no longer went well, and he was on the verge of failing the same grade twice. Completely controlled by the horrors he had seen, he had been tortured by the couple’s constant visits and reminders. And because he wanted to keep his identity. He had only been saved after his wife had stolen the ring and hidden it.
He had found himself again through his lost thing, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to remember who he really was.
Inspired by Hand in His Pocket and The Lost Thing. Sometimes there are memories that are best forgotten.
Great little story. I like how the little girl finds the ring and then makes her dad remember that event from so long ago, and how he is unsure of his identity.
“Don’t forget me.”
Middle school – a time of over-dramatic cat fights and pretentious liars. Although I tried one of the few that avoided getting caught up in the business, I often fell under peer pressure too. Like my other classmates, we sought attention, any way to make a reputation for ourselves. But I was lucky. I had a safe place to go. I took comfort that in a world of status quo and repute, I could always turn to my best friend. My middle school best friend and I often talked about the people surrounding, phone conversations until midnight laughing at the silly antics people would pull just to get a minute in the spotlight. He was one of the few places I could go. But that too changed eventually. He too went to the “dark side,” undergoing an extreme transformation from down-to-earth to popularity-crazed. In an attempt to find greater solace, he lost his one place of ultimate security. So I forgot about him.
My inspiration for my short story was “It’s That It Hurts.” When I first read the quote “don’t forget me,” I was immediately reminded of my friend’s story from middle school. In her friend’s attempt to find a name for himself, he created a huge void in their friendship. I could relate to the twinge of sadness the boy got when he read the quote in the cemetery.
This piece is one in which most people can identify with, which is the reason why I really liked it. Just the other day, I was talking to my friend about how immature middle school kids were. Considering how her brother is currently in middle school, she agreed how they always acted like they were better than everyone else and that they were too "cool" for some things. I guess everyone needs to go through that period in order to truly find themselves. To figure out who they are not and what kind of person they are.
Hello everyone, prepare yourselves to see my continuation of A Silvery Night.
I felt that this story needs to fit the mood of this book a little better in some sense. Please do your best to enjoy this, I hope I didn't offend any Satanists.
The boy slept well, that is for a few moments. He woke up from a nightmare frozen to his bed. It wasn't before long before he started hearing strange noises, before his newfound enlightenment vaporized into the atmosphere above. The moon and stars started shrinking into the darkness. The whole shack started shaking violently, like 1000 sumo wrestlers stomping on the ground with their heavy feet. The boy panicked and called for his father.
“Dad! Dad! What is happening?!”
His father never responded. By now the whole area is covered in darkness. The boy managed to take hold of a small lamp saved for emergency situations. It wasn’t very bright; however it was bright enough to help him maneuver. The boy looked for his father, which was surprisingly easy. The boy stepped on something slimy but firm, followed by an extremely loud hiss. He turned around quickly to reveal a large mass of a slender body almost covering a blue hand. The hand twitched for a few seconds before finally stopping. The boy ran out of the shack as fast as he could, too scared to even utter a scream. The road outside was rough, and he stepped on the sharp rock that he always avoided on his way home from school. He fell and grasped his sole in agony. The boy could no longer run and was terrified. The earth split up next where he lay and out of it and spewed a spectacular amount of fire. From the deepest abyss emerged the ruler of the underworld, Satan in all his glory.
He asked the boy:
“Excuse me, but have you seen a boy around, I think he may have called for me.”
The boy couldn’t speak partly from fear and the heat caused by the hell fires.
“Oh, here you are. I'm sorry I was late; I had to take care of some errands. So what did you want?”
It was a while before the boy’s mouth opened slowly and asked:
“Are you Satan, the devil?”
“No child, I am Satan, THE devil! Is that all you wanted to ask me?”
Without any thought, the boy stood up and yelled:
“You killed my father!”
Satan glanced past the boy to the shack.
“Oh, no that wasn’t me, that is just one giant snake”!
Satan zipped to the shack and back in an instant, holding a swollen snake up for the boy to see.
“See child, your father is right here, he should be fine. Let me just-“
Satan pulled out what seemed to be the stiffened corpse of a man. He tossed it in front of the agonizing boy. The boy flinched back and stared at the body. It was his father, blue with bulging eyes and veins and coated with a thick layer with digestive enzymes.
“All right child, I'm going to ask you one more time, what do you really need?”
The boy trembled as he tried to shake his father awake. He cried and collapsed onto the body of his father. The father couldn’t shed a tear.
“Please, please just bring him back” cried the boy.
“What do I look like? A miracle worker?! Ha! You are mistaken child; you should have asked someone else. Well, I'm off now. Call me back when you actually need something that concerns me. oh, and don’t get too near those digestive juices, they work wonders on human flesh.”
The abyss closed up, leaving a great scar in the earth. Years later, the same thing happened in the local asylum, only that another demon took Satan’s place delivering a letter that politely told the boy to stop annoying him.
I would like to have that cheeseburger now, if you don’t mind.
LOL! 1000 sumo wrestlers? cheeseburger!? you WOULD make Satan humorous. XD
Everyday he reminded his son to keep working hard and to never give up. His son kept asking again and again why he had to work so hard but he never really answered the question.
Elementary school, that was easy. He passed everything with flying colors. His dad still told him to keep working hard and to never give up. He questioned his dad, but didn't get an answer.
Middle school, it wasn't that big of a difference and he got 1 B, the rest were A's. His dad continued to tell him to keep working hard and to never give up. He questioned his dad again, and still didn't get an answer.
High school, a complete change. His son slowly lost his strength in working hard. His dad told him to keep working hard and to never give up. The son still didn't get it. He said he worked so hard all these years and he hasn't gone anymore but more school.
He didn't see what was the point anymore. He was tired and uninspired. Everything seemed so repetitive and tiring.
His dad finally told him that he was jealous of his own son. He was given an education all his life and now he's just giving it up?
Inspired by Just One Thing Missing
Grandfather, If you're listening from the heavens above
I understand why you told me I was stupid
Oh, How I wish I wasn't so eager for
life to pass by without realizing
what it meant to fast forward
Oh, how I was so blissfully ignorant
grandfather of mine
Don't worry, for it stops with me
they will be told before regret has the chance
my dearest grandchildren be given
the gift to live each day, everyday
without letting life sweep by
becoming paralyzed and old
like me and my grandparents
This was inspired by " A stroke left the grandfather paralyzed..."
I like how you talk about in the future and how he finally does understand what his grandfather meant.
Strapped to the chair, all I could do was view the scene in front of me. They were extracting maggots from underneath the man’s skin. If the guy was lucky, the maggots planted in his skull would have eaten through his brain giving him a painless death. “Those creatures are called human bot flies. They plant their eggs on other creatures that may come into contact with people, and that’s when the egg drops onto the individual’s skin. And unfortunately for that person, their heat hatches the egg. The larva once it’s hatched burrows into the person’s skin, and eats the person for sustenance. Luckily for you, we’ve already obtained the eggs for you; they’re in the box located above your head.” The man in the white suit looked at him emotionless. “They’re falling toward you slowly; I hope you know there’s a way that you can save yourself.” The box inched down towards my head; I didn’t even have to strain my head up to see it. I can hear it coming. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the bottom of the box start to open as the gears started to churn. I took a deep breath…
Looking back at all the past events that have occurred, the thing I truly lacked was time. Could you truly say that I don’t own a soul when all the emotions, thoughts, and sensations coursing throughout my body scream out that I own a soul? Could they call me a clone, and treat me differently, despite the fact that everything I feel and do is exactly like them? Why. The anesthetic didn’t knock me out swiftly. I’m still conscious, and I can see every movement you’re making. No, don’t, put down that scalpel. Everything’s fading black, I can’t lose consciousness now. Focus, stay awake, no…
I could feel the nervous movements of the members of my family as we all huddled together. The explosions could be heard even from the cellar. I tried to bring myself to say something positive, even if it was a lie. Something to let them believe that they had a chance and that they could still survive this. But, the moment he saw the pure black splotches of smoke erupt from the flames as he urged his family into the basement, he knew it was time for them to die. What was this odd smell? It can’t be smoke, no it’s not just smoke. It’s a fire, and it’s practically engulfed the cellar now. I need to think, there must be a way to protect them…
The box opened up one fifth of the way and an egg managed to escape from the container inside the box, it fell right onto my eye… I couldn’t tell from the sensation but I’m assuming that they’ve cut open my chest, how much more can they take from me… A tendril of flame leapt onto my shirt, I moved away from my family in fear of it spreading to them…
And then I opened my eyes. That’s odd, I’m alive… The party member realized what had happened. He would have laughed if there wasn’t a telescreen viewing his every move. It was just a dream, or in my case, a forewarning of what’s going to happen… I’m not on the operating table, is the operation done? I feel fine though, and there are no stitches. It must’ve been just a nightmare… I’m in my room. As I looked to the side, I saw the peaceful figure of my wife sleeping. The children ran up to my bed, they look scared. “Dad, we had a nightmare.” I had one too…
“Not yet, you can’t swallow me up yet. Someday, yes. But I’ll never know it.”
...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him
Nice story, David. I could tell that you added a bit of 1984 in it? When I first read it, I thought"what does worms have to do with ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him?" but as the story progressed...I started to notice the related themes.
Don’t Let Me Fall remix
By Haram Park
Well it was just a dream, just a moment ago,
I was up so high, looking down at the sky,
Don’t let me fall.
I was shooting for stars on a Saturday night,
They say what goes up must come down,
But don’t let me fall.
When I wake up, the sun rises to mock me,
My eyes on fire, I need my tears to wash me,
The golden country,
Where’d it disappear to?
I’m forced to wait till the night to live my dream through,
Call me whatever you want,
Call me whatever you like,
I can care less.
I’m a visionary striving for that sixth sense.
In reality, no identity,
Dreams start to envelope me,
I’m lost in a world where my name haunts all my memories,
Who am I?
What’s the purpose I was meant to be?
My eyes are open, yet space is the only sight to see,
Decades go by, but time is still a mystery,
No button to silence sound, no remote to slow things down.
Well it was just a dream, just a moment ago,
I was up so high, looking down at the sky,
Don’t let me fall.
I was shooting for stars on a Saturday night,
They say what goes up must come down,
But don’t let me fall.
The Lost Year
...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him
I'm done with you, I tried to be there I sat and listened, gave you advice and helped you in every which way I could. I don't know why I care why I try when it always ends the same. How can you say you care about me, love me then lie to my face. It's upsetting to think you can say one thing to my face then stab me in the back. I am not one that loses her temper easily but I am mad and I will not forget this. You have a lot to learn, how to act, how to treat people, your place in life because if you continue to act this way there wont be a place for you in my life.
My piece was inspired by the quote we were given in class "I climbed a tree and stayed there for a long time until I got tired of thinking". I don't have a sixth period and usually I hang out with friends during my free period but today I wanted to be alone and just think about all the people in my life and which ones were causing a more negative impact rather then positive.
I really liked the emotions that you evoked through your piece. I agree with you how while there are times when you like being in a crowd, sometimes you just need or want to be alone.
The boy groaned as he walked down the street. It was happening again. He recently started to have abdominal pains and his trips to the little boy’s room became more frequent.
“What is wrong with me?”
The boy was trying to make his way home to his mother. Suddenly, another jolt of pain shot up from his abdominal. Clutching his stomach the boy bent forward in pain. The world around he started to spin. Then, it went black.
When the boy regained conciseness he was in his room again.
He turned his head to the sound of the door opening. It was his mother. She looked up to see her son had awakened and quickly ran towards him to embrace him in her arms.
“Thank God you’re awake! The neighbors told me they found you unconscious on the street. You broke down with a terrible fever and slept for almost 30 hours! When I asked a friend to take a look she told me you might have had food poisoning. Did you eat something strange these last few days?”
The boy thought about it but everything he consumed was also consumed by his family expect…
“What? What did you say?”
The boy started to tense up. Could he tell his mother that he was the one drinking the water under the bed, that there are no spirits?
Or maybe the spirits have given him an opportunity to confess.
“Mother…I’ve been drink the water you leave for the spirits but I guess something must’ve fell in and contaminated the water… I’m sorry for tricking you but you were so happy and I didn’t want you to lose hope… I’m sorry.”
His mother was taken back by the boy’s sudden confession but that soon faded and she pulled the boy in for another embrace.
“I forgive you. You meant well but I want to you never forgive that you are more important to me then any spirit.”
The boy just stayed there in his mother’s arms and for the first time in years he felt a weight had lifted.
This was inspired by Vignette #1. The theme I guess is family VS religion.
I like your take on vignette #1, it is a very nice and uplifting end! But I wonder what fell in the glass.... yuck.
"Somethings are best left unsaid, right?", The boy thought to himself.
As he grew older he became worried because one day, he may not be around to appease his mothers shackling faith.
He became troubled because the smallest of error's could put an end to what he has protected for so long.
He thought to himself again, "There are some things that are better not to talk about or to mention".
He had always believed that what he should tell his mother was necessary but he could never bear the thought to approach her.
He was afraid of her getting mad at him. No, he was afraid that she would spiral out of control.
When his mother was gone, he always felt that something in his life was missing but he wasn't sure what. Sometimes he felt a certain regret and sometimes he didn't, but what was it he thought?
He looked in the mirror one day and thought to himself. "There is something as a child I wanted to express, something unsaid that I needed to let out."
I just want to left alone. If that means I have to hide under somebody else's house, than so be it.
Why would I want to be left alone you may ask? Well, so I can remember. My memory is the one thing that others can't help me with. It's mine no one else's. Just leave me alone.
I wait alone in the dark with a thin line of light getting smaller.
Yes I remember this story, and that one too.
Oh No, Here they come! How dare they've taken this precious moment from me! I'm not bothering anyone.
It is I who feels sorry for them. I have discovered something they will never find.
How did I do it? It was because for once, I was free. I was at last free from them. It wasn't them who rejected me, I rejected them.
Inspired by Under the House, they boy has finally found a home
The United States Army
March 15, 1956
We regret to inform you of the passing of your child Rodrigo Garcia on February 19, 1956. Private Garcia was killed in action while defending a small house. His body will be shipped to you for burial. We will take care of any fees and offer a free plot of land for his final resting spot. We will contact you in the future for further information.
The United States Government
So this is a response to The Prayer. I just imagine a emotional mother searching for an answer receiving a pretty emotionless letter. I don’t know how a letter like this would really be written, but this is how I would imagine it would go somehow.
The old wish to be young.
The young wish to be old.
We want what we cannot have.
Time is like the breathes we take.
What goes in is different from what goes out.
We breath in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide.
As we throw away our time,
with carelessness and without care,
it will become something completely different.
The life that we could have had,
will be lost.
It will have changed
and we will regret
the breathes that we could have taken.
I was inspired by Vignette #7. Like the story, I tried to express how significant time truly is through my poem.
I wish to transcend my humanity, for it is the one thing that restrains me from accomplishing the things that I will do, and the things that I must do.
Day to day we must challenge our worst enemies, our own reasoning and limitations embedded within our minds by both society and science. This type of reasoning has leaked into our personal lives as we slowly begin to think in terms of whether we are allowed to do things, instead of just doing them and seeing what we are not allowed to do. In a way, our creative and expansive abilities of thought have slowly deteriorated, and we have become our own enemies.
I recall watching a clip from a documentary of which I am constantly annoyed at myself for forgetting the name of. In the clip, it shows a young woman walking toward a child who is vehemently angry at her. Not because of anything that she has done, but for whom she is and what she represents. He spat at her in the face, and all she did was merely look at the child in the eyes and smile. She continued to walk toward him with her arms wide open. He pulled back, but she managed to grasp him in her arms, and she asked her his name. The response was a violent blow to the head and he started to beat her mercilessly, until the recording crew managed to separate them. As he was pulled away from her, she merely said, “It was nice talking with you.” Immediately after those words were stated the boy started crying. She threw away her human instincts of survival, ignored common sense, and walked up into the jaws of the lion with arms wide open. She transformed hate into love, and essentially transcended her humanity to become something more. She became the immovable wall that stopped the “unstoppable” force. Her actions will not change the hatred that other people like the child may have toward her race, but it is a step, and “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” (Lao Tzu)
My parents came to America and managed to succeed against all the odds. They had nothing, and managed to create something from it. Now the flag is in my hands and it is my turn to carry it forward. Ironically, the path I took appears to be equally improbable. Science has dictated and has already decided my maximum muscular potential through a scientific equation, “Maximum lean body mass= Height^ (1.5)*((Square root (weight)/22.6670)(Square root (ankles)/17.0104))((%Body fat desired/224)+1)”. To make a long story short, my maximum muscular potential at 10% body fat is only the low number of 196.76 pounds. There is a huge probability that I may not be able to make a name for myself in the world of professional bodybuilding, but “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” (Andre Gide). And ultimately, “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.” (chinese proverbs)
I will become the adhesive that my family needs. But, not just an adhesive, I will be the guide that they’ve needed. The day I return home, though it may be just to visit, I will finally be able to show the dad that has never known anything other than work what it is like to enjoy a day with his family. I will be able to relieve him of his duties in providing for his family and help him retire and live a life of peace.
I’ve been long overdue to get on the boat that has been built up through the past 18 years, but now it’s time to set sail.
Please delete this post, as it was meant for an entirely different blog..
I myself am an agnostic. The bible isn't proof of a god to me. There's no real proof to me. All I know is what i feel. I feel like there is some sort of higher being, some sort of spirit, some sort of huge force around us that created us. But I don't know what, or who, how, or why. I wish I did but I don't. It kills me everyday thinking about what god is, what life is, what is all of this around us and above us. I wish I believed in God as much as the mother in "The Prayer" did when she prayed to keep her son alive. I wish that I could believe that a simple prayer to this being called "Jesus Christ", God could keep my son from being killed. I can't believe that God is going to save him from being killed. I think he is the only only one that could save himself. Himself and himself alone. Maybe a fellow soldier nearby will help, but no such spirit as Jesus Christ is going to keep him from being killed. I believe that people are in control of themselves, not anyone else. I wish I believed in Jesus Christ. That would make life and my perception of it so much more clear, but I can't and don't believe in it. I guess I'm just going to have to live life and accept that I'm here, and appreciate that I have the privilege to exist in this system. That's just how it's going to be for me until the day I die, and then, who knows what's going to happen. Not me.
I was inspired by The Prayer.
Dear God, Jesus Christ, keeper of my soul.
This is the third Sunday I have been separated from my crew. With what I have learned at base, and of course the help of You my dear Saviors, I have managed to survive. I have been fighting the cold as best as I could and my hunger by salvaging the food I have left in my backpack. It seems that I am down to my last portion. Even during all of this, what I fear the most is that my mother's heart is breaking in her petite frame for she is worrying for me. She is everything that is good, protect her fragile heart, let her know that I am safe. Please, Virgin Mary, you, too, shelter her. She is alone, shield her body and warm her soul. Guide her mind into the right direction, her heart into the right place, let her think that I am safe. Protect her, Jesus, for I am not near to. Ease her mind and let her heart beat in peace, please, let her believe that I am safe. Take care of her for me, please, I beseech you. Let her live with Tranquility in her mind, in her heart. She is all that is good. Let her experience the happiness that I felt and she felt when I was little. Please, keep her safe, and let no harm come to her. Let her keep out of trouble, shed no tears nor blood and if tears and blood are what you want, here, take mine. Here are my tears, here, take them and wash away any sorrow or pain she has experienced. Here is my blood; take it for I sacrifice my heart for hers. Here is my heart. Here, in my chest, palpitating. I sacrifice my heart for hers. Keep her safe and I will give you my very own heart.
I would never imagine that I unbelievably got into a boy’s body and see, hear, smell, taste and touch by his senses. The boy is kind of dark, but looks mixed blood. I realize that I can’t speak my native language, but strange Spanish accent American English. I’m in a cell, which is so dark that I can’t even see things around. Suddenly, a woman comes in holding a dish of ugly food, and she says: Take it. I look at the ugly looking food, doubt if I would have a stomachache after eating it, hesitate, but the woman is persistent: you die or you eat it, think about your father, he paid so lot for you and we have to make sure you’re alive. I eat the un-known stuff , which later makes me throw out totally, and I’m truly scared. The next day I see a guy sitting next to the table, but he looks not well. Another guy is cooking who seems like to be the woman’s husband. I try to tell the couple the strange thing that happened to me, but it does not work because they give me so lot pressure that once I try to talk to them, they look at me like the wolf looks at a rabbit. I can’t do anything. The next day, I find a hand in my pocket. It is the first time I see and touch such bloody thing, and I was too scared, even when they want me to dig up a hole, I do it very compliantly. The couple smile at me cruelly, and they tell me in deep voice: Your father die if you prosecute, and you know what we are capable with. A couple of days later, when I lie on my king-size bed, drink shake and read at the story “Hand in His Pocket”, I realize that it’s the most horrible fear, and I take out the ring from the pocket, I realize how terrible for what the boy is experiencing
Hmmm, this looks like a good place to get some quick cash…
“Good afternoon traveler. I would like to tell you about something new that we’re offering this year.”
“Well sir, see, you give us this picture, any picture you may have...”
Ha! The suckers! They actually believed that I could do that? Now that I’ve got my money, I don’t need these worthless pictures! Now lets see, where to toss them, hey that tunnel over there looks good…
Hey, this guy looks familiar. Oh crap! It’s one of the guys I swindled! Ah! He’s going to kill me!
“I’m sorry sir! Please don’t hurt me! It was my entire boss’s idea!
Wait… He just wants his picture back?
“Of course sir! I will make the portrait as soon as possible and send it to you!”
How am I supposed to make this picture? I know! I’ll just make it look that guy so that he thinks it’s the picture!
“Here is the portrait sir. I’m sorry for all the trouble I caused and I promise that I will never do it again.”
Hmm, where’s the next town of suckers I can go to…
Inspired by The Portrait.
He was walking towards downtown he needed to purchase something from the grocery store but forgot what. His mother told him specific instructions to go to another grocery store but he ignored them because the other one was closer. When he entered the store the manger started to yell at him, he didn’t understand at first so he just left. Then he entered the store across the street. And again the store manager started to yell at him. He took a look around the store and saw that everyone was staring at him. It wasn’t a sympathetic stare it was a stare in disgust. Then it became clear to him that he didn’t belong. He turned around and followed the instructions that his mother gave him.
Inspired by: vignette #5
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