Creative Writing

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Boy Named Boy





Boy aspires to become a hip-hop star, a professional baseball player, insanely rich, and his just like his father. Boy can recite Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down” word for word. Boy lives in basketball shorts, hats that are too large for his head, and plus sized t-shirts regardless of his gangly frame. Boy believes himself to be invincible, or so his strut makes people assume. Boy is extremely talented on the court, on the field, and on the diamond. Boy has a large safe in his closet where he stashes his weekly allowance of twenty dollars to buy iPods and cameras. Boy hates reading, unless its about Ozzie Smith. Boy owns his Mexican heritage despite the fact that his Mexican grandmother speaks perfect English and has all the enchiladas catered for holiday meals. Boy has been living with his parents for over fourteen years, and won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Even though Boy lives with his parents, popularity overrides family time. Charging his cell phone is a daily chore after the continual text messaging, which he has acquired much skill in, and the incoming calls he receives on a regular basis. As a junior high school student, Boy plays many roles. While being the No-Love-For-My-Family-Tough-Guy, he also assumes the position of Oh-So-Cute-Number-One-Lady-Killer/Athlete.
By law, says Boy can’t drive a car. This poses a problem for his overactive social life when everyone is meeting at the bowling alley for some Cosmic Bowling. For situations such as these, Boy has become very charming and funny, the two most attractive qualities to an adolescent girl. The normal response to his “you know you want to take me to Chaparral Lanes, you older high school girls,” is, 93% of the time, “sure, whatever you want” followed by a flirtatious giggle.
Boy has a girlfriend, but don’t ask him about it. He refuses to talk about it, unless his confidant is fourteen years old, just like him, and just as immature. Don't ask him if they've kissed, cause he'll roll his eyes and walk away. Don't tease him about being in a serious junior high relationship, he'll only get embarassed. Although his relationship status remains filled, Boy has many admirers who are older.
“He was asked to homecoming, by a freshman!,” his mother gossips.
“Mom! Oh my gosh!” Boy rolls his eyes and dramatically slumps in his chair at the dinner table.
“Well. You did didn’t you? I said no anyway, even if you wanted to go.”
“Mom! Who cares? She was ugly anyway.” As his father tries not to laugh, he smiles, ignoring his mother’s discipline. In the end, Boy apologizes, gives his mother a kiss and proceeds to engage in Kitchen Patrol, his nightly chore.
Boy’s favorite saying is ‘psyyyych!’ He has perfected the saying and uses it frequently.
“So, how was school today?” his father asks every day.
And every day Boy comes up with something new. “I got a referral for lighting things on fire in my science class,” Boy replies like a stone-faced killer.
“What?!”
“Psyyyych!” Boy laughs, shaking his head in disbelief that his dad fell for it again.
Only a few years ago, Boy gave his parents something to complain about. With lies, back-talk, and remarks ineffectively hidden under his breath, he conformed to the typical teenage mold. Luckily, Boy was not born unto passive parents. His attitude was quickly changed, but did not entirely disappear. He still has his moments, as most boys do.
The phone rings and Boy answers, in his contrived man-voice and casual attitude.
“Hello,” Boy greets, more like a statement than an inquiry.
“Hi Boy!”
“Oh, hey.” He seems distracted.
“What’s goin’ on, man?”
“Nothing…” And just when he seems like his interest has been taken captive by the TV, his sense of cool is dropped. “Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you about this kid at school. Dude, he is so weird…”
On and on the stories unfold as Boy forgets his social status, his all-star athletic ability, and his funny man attitude. He remembers who he is talking to.
At the end of his conversation, Boy gets ready to hand the phone off to his mother.
“I love you, Boy.” I say.
And without fail, as he does every other time I say goodbye, Steven replies, “I love you more.”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Boy named Boy


Boy aspires to become a hip-hop star, a professional baseball player, and his father. Boy can recite Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down” word for word. Boy lives in basketball shorts, hats that are too large for his head, and plus sized t-shirts regardless of his gangly frame. Boy believes himself to be invincible, or so his strut makes people assume. Boy owns his Mexican heritage despite the fact that his Mexican grandmother speaks perfect English and has all the enchiladas catered for holiday meals. Boy has been living with his parents for over fourteen years, and won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Even though Boy lives with his parents, popularity overrides family time. Charging his cell phone is a daily chore after the continual text messaging, which he has acquired much skill in, and the incoming calls he receives on a regular basis. As a junior high school student, Boy plays many roles. While being the No-Love-For-My-Family-Tough-Guy, he also assumes the position of Oh-So-Cute-Number-One-Lady-Killer/Athlete.
By law, Boy can’t drive a car. This poses a problem for his overactive social life when everyone is meeting at the bowling alley for some Cosmic Bowling. For situations such as these, he has become very charming and funny. The normal response to his “you know you want to take me to Chaparral Lanes, you older high school girls,” is, a majority of the time, “sure, whatever you want” followed by a flirtatious giggle.
Boy has a girlfriend, but don’t ask him about it. He refuses to talk about it, unless his confidant is fourteen years old, just like him. Although his relationship status remains filled, Boy has many admirers who are older.
“He was asked to homecoming,” his mother gossips.
“Mom! Oh my gosh!” Boy rolls his eyes and dramatically slumps in his chair at the dinner table.
“Well. You did didn’t you? I said no anyway, even if you wanted to go.”
“Mom! Who cares? She was ugly anyway.” As his father tries not to laugh, he smiles, ignoring his mother’s discipline. In the end, Boy apologizes, gives his mother a kiss and proceeds to engage in Kitchen Patrol, his nightly chore.
Boy’s favorite saying is ‘psyyyych!’
“So, how was school today?” his father asks every day.
And every day Boy comes up with something new. “I got a referral for lighting things on fire in my science class,” he replies like a stone-faced killer.
“What?!”
“Psyyyych!” Boy laughs, shaking his head in disbelief that his dad fell for it again.
Only a few years ago, Boy gave his parents something to complain about. With lies, back-talk, and remarks ineffectively hidden under his breath, he conformed to the typical teenage mold. Luckily, Boy was not born unto passive parents. His attitude was quickly changed, but did not entirely disappear. He still has his moments, as most boys do.
The phone rings and Boy answers, in his contrived man-voice and casual attitude.
“Hello,” Boy greets, more like a statement than an inquiry.
“Hi Boy!”
“Oh, hey.” He seems distracted.
“What’s goin’ on, man?”
“Nothing…” And just when he seems like his interest has been taken captive by the TV, his sense of cool is dropped. “Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you about this kid at school. Dude, he is so weird…”
On and on the stories unfold as he forgets his social status, his all-star athletic ability, and his funny man attitude. He remembers who he is talking to.
At the end of his conversation, Boy gets ready to hand the phone off to his mother.
“I love you, Boy.” I say.
And without fail, as he does every other time I say goodbye, Steven replies, “I love you more.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Susan Orlean’s novel The Bullfight Checks Her Makeup explores a handful of incredibly unique people living in the world today. From an infamous show dog, to a young basketball superstar, Orlean meets and lives with variety of different people as each chapter unfolds. In living and traveling with these people, Orlean is able to find the extraordinary within the ordinary. She allows for regular, law-abiding citizens to read and relate with somewhat fantastic law-abiding citizens. She describes each person she meets as normal people, even though in come cases, like eighties teen-queen Tiffany, they are celebrities. Susan Orlean successfully creates a realistic picture of people normally viewed as inaccessible to the public, while exposing the smaller, yet just as extraordinary people in the world.
Orlean’s use of voice fluctuates between chapters. Her voice tends to mirror the person she is creating a portrait of. For example, the first chapter is about a young boy of ten years. Her opening sentence puts herself at the youngster’s level, saying “If Colin Duffy and I were to get married, we would have matching superhero notebooks.” (3). By doing this, Orlean automatically connects to each reader and their memories of their wn experiences. It is also a light and humorous way of starting a non-fiction story, by looking at a small detail that makes the person who they are. Her voice changes, however, when she speaks about Fred Brathwaite, an MTV personality whose niche was Hip-Hop. She opens with the understatement, “the coolest person in New York at the moment is Fred Brathwaite.” (51) Instead of automatically instilling into readers the more popularly notable things about “Fab Five Freddy,” as we later find out he is called, Orlean creates a smaller picture of him, then adds in the more flamboyant aspects later on.
As stated earlier, Orlean’s ability to create an extraordinary experience out of the ordinary is compelling in this novel. One of the people Orlean observes is Felipe Lopez, a high school basketball phenomenon with offers from big-leaguers coming from every different direction. Although Felipe seems to be popular and important, compared to fashion designer Bill Blass, or underwear-sporting model Marky Mark (both in Orlean’s novel), Felipe’s existence seems minuscule. However, somehow readers are wrapped up in the eighteen-year-old’s life. Orlean accurately portrays Felipe in an innocent, adolescent light, even though she clearly points out that, “…he is not nearly as naïve and eager as he appears.” (105) Felipe seems to act, speak, and think ordinarily, but Orlean’s intriguing representation of his lifestyle draws readers into his story. She takes what this boy thinks is ordinary, and creates an extraordinary way of interpreting it.
Susan Orlean also very successfully includes a satisfying back-story to each of her portraits. In her article entitled, “After the Party,” Orlean dives into the life of former Hollywood agent Sue Mengers. After briefly visiting Sue in the present, Orlean relives Sue’s past, commenting on certain celebrities she worked with, parties she threw and clients she lost along the way. She notes the struggles that came along with this certain profession, while accentuating the glamorous elements only seen on the surface by on-lookers. The back-story helps to justify the person introduced initially in the chapter. By recollecting Sue’s past, readers are drawn to be more sympathetic with her, becoming compassionate and understanding as serious past experiences are exposed.
The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup is humorous, yet sentimental. It allows for readers to completely relate to otherwise impersonal people. Susan Orlean sharply observes a colorful variety of people who otherwise readers would not know. Orlean’s wit, creativity, attention to detail, and ability to completely relate to each of her subjects intertwine to create a unique and memorable reading experience. Personally, I feel that Orlean does not necessarily “face the dragon,” nor does she really deliver a promise. This could be because of the genre in which she writes, which is portrait. Although she does not fulfill these standards, the novel is still satisfying. The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup is a great book to learn technique from as well as laugh out loud at the normally overlooked originality of individuals.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Solitare is My Favorite Game



In October of 2003 I turned seventeen. I had a great boyfriend, I was a starter on the Varsity Field Hockey team and eventually was voted Most Humorous in my senior class. I had never experienced any other lifestyle besides the one I was living everyday from 8:00am to 1:30pm on the corner of Foothill and Valley Center Boulevard. Being so sheltered, I thought of my life as ideal and never anticipated change. The only thing I was truly focused on was my relationship with Alex and where it was going. In my mind, we were going to get married and live a long happy life together. In my mind, everything was perfect.
Jump to today and I’m not with Alex. He is now a Marine at Camp Pendleton. I haven’t talked to him in a while. I haven’t had any other boyfriends since Alex. It’s not that I never wanted one again, but when you start to truly grow up you realize what you really want in a significant other. I do not consider settling a form of true love. I know what I have in mind and I’m waiting for it.
Alex and I were together throughout our first year of college. He went to Long Beach State, which isn’t too far away, but the transition from seeing each other everyday to being limited to only weekend visits was trying on both of us. Alex would commit long weekends to spending them with me, cruising over in his Navy blue Bronco and unloading his black duffle bag into my friend Kenny’s room so he could stay the night. Sometimes he would be standing at my door holding white daisies with an illuminating smile. Other times, he would walk in, tired and tense from a long drive in southern California traffic. Our relationship seemed promising when summer finally came and nothing seemed wrong. Most of our summer days and nights were spent together at his apartment, sitting on the deep green couches, doing nothing at all. In all actuality, our relationship became boring.
“What movie should we watch tonight?” I would ask routinely, as if I was a nurse asking for the previous medical history of a random patient. The only thing moving faster than us were the images on the screen, lighting our unenthusiastic faces up with each click, click of the remote.
“I don’t care. Pick one.” He would reply, flipping between ESPN and Fox Sports, gripping the remote with bored fingers. Click, click.
“I can’t decide. What do you want to watch?”
“I dunno.” Click, click.
“Well, what do you want to do then?” At this point I would find more enjoyment
in playing with a small piece of fuzz with my toes while lying on the shaggy tan carpet. All Alex would say back was click, click.
That’s why I stayed in it. That never-changing arm to hold onto while going up stairways, that familiar smell of his truck, that consistent phone call every morning, all parts of the routine I thought I needed to be happy. I needed to feel like I would never be lonely again.
And now, I’m single. Of course I get lonely sometimes and get jealous when my friends find someone, but I can’t control it. Of course I want to throw up when I see cute, love-drunk couples holding hands and giggling at their own enviable adoration for each other. There is a lot of pressure at this age to find someone and be secure. At this moment I know of nine different couples who are engaged to be married. I also went to the wedding of two nineteen-year olds fresh out of high school, while preparing for my cousins wedding in November. Within two weeks I discovered that three girls from my graduating class have since been united in matrimony with good looking men whom they have been with for less than two years. How can I not roll my eyes, sigh dramatically and cross my arms in a five-year-old fashion every time something like this is brought to my attention?
However, these reactions are rare. Most of the time, I am overjoyed by the news of an engagement. I try my best to bare my teeth with great magnitude each time I am told that a new ring has been placed on a young woman’s finger. I take a small step back, realize it isn’t their fault I am single, and shower them in congratulations only because I know that one day, I will be just as giddy and overly happy as they are.
Alex and I broke up in an extremely immature manner. He decided to end things with me five minutes before he left for work. While I sat on his bed, not believing any words coming out of his mouth, he grabbed the brown leather belt I gave him from Christmas and brushed his teeth.
“Listen,” he said, “you can stay here if you want. You’re kind of emotional. I don’t want you driving like this. I’ll be back at nine if you want to talk or something. Bye.” He turned and opened the door.
“Wait, uh, Alex…” I tried to make a complete sentence before he was gone. It didn’t work. He left and after about thirty minutes, I did too. I thought I was going to die. The pain in my chest was worse than anything I had felt before. It even beat out the shin splints I had acquired during Field Hockey season. There is no athletic tape for a broken heart.
My friends told me the obligatory reassurances:
“You’ll find someone else.”
“There are plenty of fish in the sea.”
“He just wasn’t the one for you.”
“You’re better off!”
Normally, people don’t listen to these cliché statements which are routinely made to the freshly brokenhearted. Their words are void compared to the aching pain in their chest. If only I had known how true those words would be only months later.
Being in college for the first time as a single woman has really changed my lifestyle. I am able to confidently explore my options for my future without having to add in the relationship factor. Even though my phone is not ringing off the hook with gentleman wanting my undisturbed attention, I’m secure with the fact that it will ring eventually and someone important will be on the other end. I like being able to hang out in my grungy pajamas and lime green facial masks with my friends without worrying about surprise significant other visits. I like to try new things with new people whenever possible.
Presently, I am at ease with being single. There is nothing about my life that I would change at the moment. I live with three amazing friends whom I am more myself with than anyone in the world. I have made more changes with my major, my future, and my goals than ever before and I feel good about each decision I’ve made. Everyday I wake up, anxious for the future. I know won’t be single forever, but for now, I am and that isn’t a tragedy, it’s an opportunity.