You did the best you could.
I should have started in May, worked on it for a few
hours a day until October. Then, maybe I’d have had a chance.
But, given the situation—SAT prep, taking the SAT on October 1st—you
went in to Taylor and Crocker, asked for help, did all you could do.
You worked your butt off, and you can really only look forward from here.
What I should have done is move my SAT to November in the first place.
Could have avoided the whole accidental-cheating
thing, saved myself a few nights of crying.
Hey, you got a freaking —-. That’s incredible. You should be so proud of yourself. Continue reading
It sinks into her rib marrow; the red spot shudders and rips open her dead chest. Expanding bullets, the first death of the night—Wukesong intersection… Wukesong intersection… did you hear? the countdown starts here—10pm, the first death hour—10:30pm, they blockade the Muxidi bridges with up-turned trucks and burn it all a rancid purple… military tanks, military rams piercing the broad metals like pencils through palms… so they face the wide row of leveled points, arm on stranger’s neck, chests to the sky!—11pm, they’re in Tiananmen Square, survivors saturated and staggering with blood, retching Wukesong! Muxidi! and they throng and conglomerate (do we hate? do we kill?) in a reddening mind-haze—12am: Red, the quiet girl from the front-row of Economics, has been killed.—12:30am, they raw and boil, they glaze and squint: the damp smell of salty copper is thickening their skulls, they wait, roaring, scraping their necks—they deserve this much—or the force of the spin tears their sense and they scrape the green men’s necks—their sticks, rocks, and glass are taken by each other—1:30am, the Square is sealed with military: booms whiz over their heads, or into their knees—2am:
“We entreat you in peace, for democracy and freedom of the motherland, please refrain from using force against peaceful student demonstrators”
and boom! sophomores convulse and bleed out—3:30am, too many have died, should they give it up—4am, traitor, coward, what leader you are: “Clearance of the Square begins Now”—they remain anyway, the bites of the clubs in their cheekbones and shattered thighs:
“This is the final struggle / Let us group together and tomorrow”
they are engorged and stomach-tight on conviction! they stare into the night-green tank guns!
“The Internationale / Will be the human race”
and they’ve died a little too many…
—5:10am, it’s over, it’s over: they rise, they link arms and march over the icy cheeks of their friends.
Smoke rises over the city.
Tonight I finished one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Writing two stories, twenty-pages shouldn’t have been so stressful, had I started it over the summer like I should have… had I not waited until the last two weeks.
To be fair, I took the SAT on October 1 and spent September preparing for it (and my scores were cancelled, long story: so it wasn’t even worth it). But I’ve learned (yet again!) the value of starting things months in advance. Time to start on my TASS application (due in January)!
Things I learned about writing and my writing process:
- I don’t like to delete things. It can take me twenty minutes to come up with one good sentence, and with every hit of the ‘delete’ button, I feel like I’m erasing valuable time.
- It did take me three hours on the night of Sunday, October 2 to write about 3/4 of a page. Did I feel frustrated? Yes. I also didn’t want to delete most of it later, although it really was a bad 3/4 of a page.
[excerpt from a piece written for the ACC Missions Handbook 2016-2017]
Carmen means ‘song’ in Latin. Carmen is dark-lit and wide-stretched. Her widely tapered eyes are luxuriant—her smile crinkles her whole face into something radiant, something nobler than happiness. Joy, maybe, at its most primal.
It leaks from her drawling hands, hands caressing the heads of the wonder-eyed chicos, who giggle then and run outside the church room, up and down the alley twice, and come back panting like furry little perros; from her hands on the chicos’ shoulders then, calming them to listen to Pastor Fernando instruct. Continue reading
There were several words that for the life of me I could never learn to spell. One of them was consience. Conshinse? *excuse me while I do a quick Google* Con-science. THAT’S what it is. I would think, con. Science. Con. Science. The science of con. Like a con-
artist! Apollo Robbins is a famous pickpocket. I watched his TED Talk, it was one of the first I ever watched, I think. It might have been in speech class with Ms. Musci. He has this funny hat and OH YEAH! This cool trick where you don’t know what the bottom-left app of your phone’s first screen is. Because your brain only stores the important information, Continue reading
Nong ming shou. I fingered my dad’s hands in front of my belly. Farmers’ hands. He said they were thick, rigid, and clumsy from too much sunshine. I pinched the plasticky pad of each finger and watched them wave like wary antennae, tendrils of an anemone on my lap. They’re sausages, I laughed, they’re sausages, beautiful sausages, each and every one of them, they’re wrinkly and fat, and there’s a raw power in the clench of their knuckles. I love you, he said, tenderly taking the palms of my hands, stilling them, he stroked each finger between his index and thumb. Yours are slender, he told me, piano fingers, made for a finer life. Sculpted of a finer clay. These hands can do so much if you drive them, daughter. They can move mountains if you have that mustard-seed faith, daughter. They can touch those sinewy hearts of people, these fingers, they have their own power. I knew, I knew, I knew. Father, I should have believed you, I should have trusted my hands: Father, forgive me, I knew too little.
[inspired by post-Bolivia hardship]
Hello, I I I know you’re there I I I feel your tendrils snagging my lungs I I know you’re defeated that Christ is victorious I I STOP peel flesh off my lips with meticulous nails GO AWAY stop stealing the joy give it back! give it back I I I know it’s there it was glowing and bathing my brain with great warm waves, ecstasy, and I was drunk I I I know with Holy Spirit and perfect plan and fruition of months’ work and PURE joy happiness I I cling it back, scrape my nipples with wrists and the limbs clenching I CLAIM IT God help me, don’t you dare infect my light I I I hate your shrieking weight in my muscle-threads, you, yes YOU I SEE YOU try and stick your nozzles through my skull and pump in your self-loathing, inky, seeping oily everywhere I I I won’t allow it I I I got Jesus and the Father with their swords of flame and light and YOU WILL NOT WIN I swear it STOP my earlobes dragging my buzzing head into the dirt, beneath salt-crunched bone WHY WHY does it give you such pleasure to wring the veins?