Thursday, January 29, 2009

Creative Writing Assignment #2: Dialogue

Runaway Train

Justin sits at his desk, staring distastefully at his Calculus homework. Jason is on a couch on the other side of the room, strumming absent-mindedly on an acoustic guitar. He stops playing for a moment and looks at Justin.

Jason: Why do you even bother with that bullshit class?

Justin, looking up, startled: How long have you been there?

Jason, playing a simple chord progression: A few minutes. Didn't you hear the guitar?

Justin: No, I'm too busy with my homework.

Jason: I asked you a question. Why do you bother with that bullshit class?

Justin: Calculus isn't a bullshit class.

Jason, messing up a chord and cursing under his breath: It isn't?

Justin: I have to take it. For my major.

Jason, starting into “Runaway Train” on his guitar: Ah, yes. Your major. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. By the way, I've always wanted to ask, did you pick that 'cause it has a cool name, or do you actually like it?

Justin: I...I'm not sure. I've always been good at science, and MCDB is a good pre-med major, and...

Jason, interrupting him: Serial killers are good at killing people. Does that mean they should do it? On second thought, bad example. They usually enjoy it. But you get the idea, I'm sure.

Justin: Yeah, I get it.

Jason: So, do you really wanna be a doctor, or does it just sound like a good idea 'cause you think you'd be good at it?

Justin: I dunno, I don't think about things like this a whole lot. I'm sort of just going wherever life leads me, you know?

Jason, playing a bit louder and raising his voice over the sound of the guitar: Bullshit. You chose this path with no good reason, and you're sticking to it for no good reason. That's not following the whims of fate and chance, my friend.

Justin: Oh, you're probably right, like usual, but would you get off my back about this?

Jason, sighing: You do whatever you want, buddy. I guess it's not my place to complain.

Justin: So why do you always complain?

Jason: I just hate to see you ruining your life, is all.

Justin, closing his eyes and shaking his head: I'm not ruining my life!

Justin opens his eyes, and Jason is nowhere to be seen.

Justin, looking around the empty room and shaking his head: I have got to get a nicer hallucination.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Creative Writing Assignment #1: Point of View

For my first Creative Writing assignment, I was to write a one-page story, and then re-write it from two other points of view. This is the result.

Point of View #1 – The girlfriend

I can't believe he broke up with me. There we were, at our favorite restaurant, and in the middle of a conversation about the food he just casually slips in, "I think we should break up.” I thought he was kidding at first, but then he said I was too clingy, and he couldn't take it anymore.

"Clingy?” I said, feeling tears forming. "What...I love you!”

"Exactly,” he told me. So he really didn't love me. I was afraid of that; every time I told him I loved him he would look away and say nothing. I was just hoping he was afraid of being in love, something he would get over, something I would help him get over. I guess not.

"What an asshole,” Amber says from the other side of her couch. It's the next day, and I'm telling my best friend all about what happened. We've been friends since elementary school, and she's always there for me, no matter what.

"I... love... him,” I manage to say between sobs, as Amber hands me another tissue.

"I know you do,” she says, "but you just have to remember that there are always other fish in the sea.”

There are other fish in the sea for him, sure. He doesn't love me, so he'll have no trouble moving on. But I love him. With everything in me. I'm not the sort of person who can just forget about that, and leave this relationship behind like it never even happened. At least I have such a good best friend, though. I lean against her on the couch and drift off to sleep.

Point of View #2 – The boyfriend

I'm so glad I finally got rid of that bitch. I never really liked her. Don't get me wrong; there are always benefits to having a girlfriend, even if you hate her. We had plenty of fun, if you know what I mean. It's just that the girl was too damn clingy. She would get this stupid adoring look in her eyes, whisper "I love you”, and look at me like she expected a response. How on earth was I supposed to respond to something like that? I never knew what to say, so there would always be these awkward silences for a few moments that felt like ages. Now I'll never have to deal with that again.

I'm not much a fan of being single, though. All my friends have girlfriends they've been with for months. Hanging out with the guys just isn't the same when they all feel sorry for you, or when they think you're a loser; it's even worse if you can't tell which.

So now it's the day after I broke up with my girlfriend, and I'm calling Amber. She's my ex-girlfriend's best friend, which will probably make things weird for a while if we get together; but she's hot, and available, so I'll find a way to make it work. "Hello?” she says.

"Hi, Amber,” I reply. "Look, I'm sure you know by now what happened last night. I just want to let you know that I don't think this has to keep the two of us from being friends. Or more than friends, if you want.”

She doesn't say anything, but I can hear her breathing get deeper, and I know I have her, so I go in for the kill. "Can I take you out for dinner tonight?”

"Yes” is all she can say. I've always had this sort of effect on girls. I don't think I'll ever have much trouble getting laid.

"Great. I'll pick you up at six.”

I call all my friends and tell them I have a new girl. My ex-girlfriend's best friend, no less. And it only took 16 hours. A few hours less and this would have been a new record.

Point of View #3 – Amber

I don't know what I'm going to do.

Yesterday, my best friend called me and told me she needed to talk to me, so I told her to come over. She sat down on the couch next to me and told me her boyfriend broke up with her the night before. They were together for five months, and apparently it never meant much to him. "What an asshole,” I said. I didn't really think he was wrong to break up with her. She loved him, and he didn't love her back, so it would have been more cruel to keep it going. But sometimes you have to say bad things about someone to your best friend even if you don't believe it, to try to make her feel better. It's an unwritten rule, but that doesn't make it any less universal.

Later, when she was fast asleep on my couch, exhausted from all the crying, he called me. Now, I know what you're thinking – time to tell the bastard off. The problem is that I like him. A lot. And he was asking me out. For a moment, I forgot all about my friend, and all I could think was that this guy was asking if I'd like to go on a date with him. I said yes. He said he'd pick me up at six.

Now it's 5:59, my best friend is still asleep, and the guy who broke her heart last night is knocking on my door, ready to take me to dinner. If I go with him, it'll hurt my friend even more, but I'm sure he and I can be happy together. I feel like I'm in a soap opera, and this is one of those moments when a character faces a moral dilemma at just the right time for a commercial break. The audience is glued to the screen through the advertisements, not wanting to miss a single second of the show, and everyone knows this is what makes for good television. But that poor character is stuck on pause in the middle of an excruciating thought process. And this time, it's not a soap opera, it's real life, it's me, and there's no audience getting pleasure out of it to make it worthwhile.

Oh God damn it, I know what I have to do. I have to open that door, tell him that I can't go out with him because of what he did to my friend, and come back inside. I walk to the door, and swing it open just as he's about to knock again. He's so cute, standing there, frozen for a second, his fist up in the middle of the motion. Then his arm drops, and he says, "Hi. Are you ready?”

"Yes,” I say, helpless in his gaze. "I'm ready.” Ready to betray my friend, for the chance to be with this guy. I didn't remember my friend was there until she was chasing after us on foot, screaming, as we drove away.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Well, at least he got that much right

From yesterday's Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON - With a few strokes of his pen, President Obama charted a new path yesterday in the fight against terrorism, signing executive orders to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center within a year and to ban harsh interrogation tactics, such as waterboarding, that the Bush administration endorsed but that critics consider torture.

Now, let's not get too excited about this. Sure, it's great that he's done this, and it was absolutely necessary. But he still has a lot of work to do to prove himself worthy of the love that America has already poured all over him.

I hope I'm wrong about him. I really do. I just doubt it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I don't know how well Barack Obama will do as President of the United States. Frankly, I'm not very optimistic about it. There's one thing, though, that I'm happy about today:

George W. Bush is no longer the President.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

College update: One semester down, no less than seven to go

I love CU-Boulder.

This whole college experience has, so far, been incredible for me. I'm out on my own, independent. I've met a lot of great people. I will never again have to deal with all the crap that comes with high school. I party enough to keep myself sane, but not so much that it ruins my life. And my first semester classes went remarkably well; I got straight A's, and I didn't have to stress myself to death to do it!

I'm living in a two bedroom apartment with four other guys. I know how awful that must sound; but believe me, it's been fantastic. We all, somehow, get along just fine; I can't think of even one single major argument between any of us so far. And no communal showers!

The city of Boulder is beautiful. It sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains - let's just say I don't mind the view every day when I look west! There are pedestrian/bike trails all throughout the city, and mountain biking trails not far up into the canyons that stick out from Boulder into the mountains. I love the people here, too - except the ones who have let living in such a great place get to their heads and turn them into total snobs.

This semester may not be as easy as the last one. My classes will likely be a bit more difficult, and I intend to spend more time working (I have a job at the library). Still, I'm looking forward to it.

Also, I have some good news: One of my classes this semester is Creative Writing. I'm taking it to force myself to write. I intend to post everything I write for the class (and on my own spare time) to the Internet, but I haven't yet decided if I should open a second blog for the creative writing or just post it all here. Regardless, you should expect to see a lot more writing from me in the coming weeks and months.

Well, I'm going to just let this end here, however awkward it is. Peace!