“If I won a million dollars…”

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Apparently I was snarky in 7th grade too.



Isabella Zou – 7/26/17,

remembering Alexei


Austin Street Humans

And… we’re live!

Website: www.austinstreethumans.org,
Facebook: www.facebook.com/austinstreethumans/

Many of you know that I’m interested in journalism and the power of stories. Some of you also know that I’ve been volunteering with Mission: Possible! Austin and other homeless organizations over the past semester, spending time with homeless people in Austin and pursuing a better understanding of such a complicated issue.

I’m incredibly excited to announce the public launch of Austin Street Humans, a medium combining in-depth journalism and personal insights to explore what it means to live without a home in Austin. Continue reading

Joie de Vivre

[I dug this up tonight while looking through old writing. It’s a hoot. Written July of 2015.]



“Hey Daddy?”

My daddy looks up from the couch across from me, graying stubble and a questioning glance. My dad sits next to him reading the newspaper.


“When you were little, did you still have Mother’s Day?”

He motions me over to his lap. I snuggle against his chest—he smells like lavender.

He’s silent for a moment, then speaks. “Honey, where did you hear about that?”

“Um, my American History teacher mentioned it. But then he shut his lips really tight and wouldn’t say anything about it. He said we should never talk about it because some people find it offensive.” Continue reading

Excerpt from “Origin Story”

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.

YoungArts Complete! + “Dreamerboy”

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.

Continue reading