Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Jungle Book

Here’s a screenplay I had to write in class for my Creative Writing final. The assignment was to write a memoir in screenplay format, so here’s what I came up with:

The Jungle Book

(PS: I still haven’t shelled out the $250 required to actually buy Final Draft, so please excuse the demo format, watermark, etc.)


The dashboard clock quietly shifts
one minute less of this evening
you struggle, trying to hold
on to this moment in time
you will never have again.

Another minute less
stretch your arms around it
try to waste it, but make it last
to come home
late as possible
he is your enemy
and working together with change will destroy
what you have

kiss your current life goodbye
and hold tight the memories of now
you know it will be different
someday you will see how much.

Ten thirty.
He is used up.
to go home.

AP English Doesn’t Leave Time for Creative Titles (an analytical writing sample)

Young love is condemned by cynics and writers alike as a situation that is too fleeting and idealistic to truly last. Maybe this is true; just ask the Montagues and Capulets. However, the significance of a first love should not be dismissed because the effects can last long into a person’s life and even beyond. Thus is the case with Sybil Vane, the young beauty adored by the title character in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Though she only appears for a few chapters, the effect Vane has on Gray resonates throughout the entire novel and is the cause for most of his major transformations.

Before Dorian Gray really changes, he meets Sybil Vane and immediately falls in love with her. He is still young, energetic, and rather narcissistic about the appearance of his face that friends and acquaintances alike praise. When it comes to love and romance, Gray is also extremely idealistic, raving about the purity of his love for Sybil and how the play he met her at, Romeo and Juliet, could only mean good things for their future (rather ironic when the ending of this play is considered). His love, however, proves shallow, and when Dorian Gray dismisses her because of bad acting, Sybil commits suicide. This begins the course of Dorian’s fall from grace as he first feels guilty but after some talking to from his friend Lord Henry Wotton, decides that this is the most romantic thing that has ever happened to him. The attitude towards the suffering of others as pleasure for himself leads Dorian down the path of debauchery and seduction, forever erasing the innocence he once had.

Without this innocence and the idealism of his youth, Dorian Gray seems to have no morals or fears regarding the consequences of his actions. He frequents opium dens, has indecent relationships with men and women alike, and even kills his best friend, Basil Hallward. After committing the murder he does not even seem to have qualms about blackmailing Allan Campbell into disposing of the body. Throughout all this, he does not ever even seem to remember Sybil Vane until her influence reenters his life in the form of her brother, seeking revenge. For the first time, Dorian is forced to face potential consequences for his actions in the past. Though he escapes death and Sybil’s brother is killed instead, her influence–and possibly even the memory of her and his past love–promotes yet another transformation within Dorian. He begins to fear consequences and even to feel guilt, eventually causing him to destroy the painting that has been keeping him so innocent and young-looking all these years, in effect destroying his own soul and killing himself.

Dorian Gray’s life is destroyed by his own susceptibility to influence. He is influenced by his friends, influenced by vanity, influenced by literature, and–to arguably the greatest extent–influenced by the love he once felt as a youth. The destruction of this young love and the death of Sybil Vane destroyed Dorian Gray’s own innocence. Though she was not in his life (or the book) very long, Sybil Vane influenced Dorian Gray throughout the rest of the story, as do the effects of young love on a person’s life.

Self Portrait, As a Piggy Bank

The piggy bank (a misnomer) sits
it’s ceramic surface
reflecting light
its shape, an awkward beauty.
A mysterious hand
(call it fate)
deposits a coin,
seemingly worthless, into the slit
that opens its interior to the out-
side world.
The piggy bank (that’s actually shaped
like a bathtub
or a bible) takes in the coin
and like a planted seed of an idea
it grows
as each moment another coin is added.
Thus experiences are recalled,
in a grand inspiration
purchased by the mind of the piggy bank
and transformed from thought
and potential
into something beautiful.

The Library of Dreams: A Children’s Story

the cover for the picture book this story was originally written for

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Sage who loved to play outside during the winder at her family’s cabin in Tahoe. She enjoyed skiing and ice skating and even playing fetch with her dog Buddy out in the snow.

One day, Sage threw a ball particularly far, and Buddy ran into the woods by the house too try to find it. Sage waited and waited, but he didn’t come back after a long while and she began to worry. So, Sage set off into the forest to find him.

After what seemed like hours of searching, she saw some paw prints in the snow that led off the trail and Sage followed them for a ways until she found a tall stone building. “Interesting,” Sage thought to herself. “I’ve never seen a building like this in the middle of the woods with no one around for miles.”

Being the curious girl that she was, Sage pushed open the heavy door and stepped inside. Instantly, Sage was greeted by the warmth of a fire roaring in the corner and the smell of cookies baking. The room around her was bright and comfortable looking. There was a big soft chair in front of the fireplace, and the walls of the room were covered–from floor to ceiling–in books. Sage looked through the doorway that led to different parts of the house and saw that they were also filled with books. When she saw a small desk next to the door she had just come in, she realized this wasn’t a house at all. It was a library.

“Woof!” Sage heard a bark coming from down the hallway and saw Buddy running towards her.

“There you are!” she said, grabbing his collar and hugging him.

“Is this your dog?” said a voice. Sage looked up and saw a tall girl with golden hair emerge from where Buddy had just come from. “I’m glad you finally found him.”

“What is this place, exactly?” asked Sage.

“Why,” answered the girl. “This is the Library of Dreams.”

“The Library of Dreams?” asked Sage. “What does that mean? It looks to me like there’s only books here.”

“Well yes,” said the girl. “But these books are special. They hold and record the things that people imagine, dream about, and want to do or become someday. Watch, what’s your name?”

“Sage Barry,” said Sage.

“Okay,” the librarian said, moving to one section of the room. “Let’s see.” She pulled a relatively small book off the shelf. “Sage Barry,” she said, opening it. “Age: 6, dream job: artist.” The librarian looked up suddenly. “You want to be an artist?” she asked.

Sage nodded.

“Then you must be really good at painting!”

“Well,” said Sage. “I do my best.”

“Thank goodness you’re here,” the librarian responded. “There’s something I need you to see. We are in desperate need of your help.”

The librarian took Sage to a different section of the library. The books here were not colorful or filled with pages of untold stories. They were gray and damp and it seemed like most of the pages had fallen out and the spines were falling apart. “This section of the library,” the librarian said, “is for the dreams of grown-ups. A lot of them have boring jobs now, and hardly any of them use their imaginations.” She pulled one book from the shelves. It was practically falling apart at the seams. “See? There aren’t even any pictures in them,” she said.

“Can’t you draw pictures?” asked Sage.

“Well yes,” replied the librarian. “That’s my job here: keeping people’s dreams alive, but there is just so much hopelessness I can hardly keep up. That’s why I need your help.”

“What can I do?” asked Sage.

“You can help me make these grown-ups’ books beautiful again.”

Sage wasn’t sure if she would be able to fix them all, but she was glad she brought her set of markers and crayons with her. “I’ll try,” she said, and she and the librarian went to work.

She grabbed a stack of books from the shelf and began coloring in anything she could think of. In one, she drew a picture of her beautiful black and white cat, Abbot.

In another, she drew an illustration of a beautiful front yard, just like the one at her house back in Walnut Creek, complete with flowers, plants, and lots of trees to climb.

She colored pictures of bumble bees, and her dog and her friends and a baseball team and her cousin’s home in Hawaii. She even used her crayons to draw pictures of delicious adventures and exciting foods, until one by one her markers started to run out of ink, and her crayons had all but worn down completely.

At first Sage was disappointed that she couldn’t keep coloring, but she took a step back and looked at the pile she had restored. The once old and tattered books now looked more beautiful than ever, and some even began adding pictures automatically, as a newly inspired mind somewhere began to dream up more dreams once more.

“Thank you so much for your help!” the librarian said.

“Of course,” responded Sage, “but I should probably be getting home soon. It’s getting late and my mom is making macaroni and cheese for dinner!”

“Then you best be going on your way,” said the librarian. “But first, I want you to take this.” She handed Sage a book–the very book she had read earlier that illustrated her dreams. “I’ll start a new one here for you,” she said. “And you can keep this to remember all the things you liked and thought about at this age.”

“Thank you!” Sage responded eagerly. Then, clapping her hands so Buddy would follow her, she headed home.

Quentin Tarantino Directs the Murwood Elementary Annual Christmas Pageant

Mr. Tarantino stares at the motley lineup of children
takes a deep breath
says to them
“Who can tell me the motivation behind Johnny’s character?”
A pig-tailed girl in the back
pipes up sweetly “He wants to save Christmas!”
The teacher rounds on her, interrogating
“but why?”
The gang of students stares back blankly
they never stopped to ask “why?”
As they discussed why I supposedly liked Christmas
I crept to the back,
beginning to fade.
No longer was I Johnny, but a creation
of Tarantino, our harshest pageant director
who would help us put on the most action-packed
show the school and our parents
had ever seen.
Provided we remembered our lines.


This piece is an account of the time I baby sat this one family. It’s completely true, all of it, I swear. For my Creative Writing class we had to look at a photo that we were involved in and write a short memoir piece about the thoughts and memories that were associated with it. Well, the photo I chose was something I had snapped on my camera phone while baby sitting this one crazy family. While the girls were giving their dolls baths in the bathroom sink, I turned around and saw this. They’re a pretty eccentric family. I wish I could have baby sat them more. I could have probably written a whole book.

“Bye Titi!” Tia Riebling said to her daughter. “We’re going into the city to get some drinks and go dancing!” She tossed her hair and cheekily winked at me. Tiernan looked back up at her.

“I can see your bra, Mommy!” she responded in her sweet little five-year-old voice. I started. This was basically the craziest family I had ever baby sat, and I couldn’t believe a kindergartener had just said that. Then it got even better.

Tia bent down to her daughter’s level, put her hand on Tiernan’s shoulder, looked her in the eye, and said, “Well, Sweetie, that’s what happens when grown-ups go out dancing.” She adjusted her practically mesh top. “Why don’t you go play with Caroline?”

After Tiernan ran away, Tia turned to me. “Now, she and Caroline get along great together, but sometimes they’ll go off and it’ll get really quiet. Make sure you go and check on them if that happens because sometimes they like to play doctor, and it’s innocent, but it can get a little weird, so if they do that, try to steer them toward a different activity.”

I nodded wordlessly. What in the world had I gotten myself into?