Porfolio

TABLE OF CONTENTS

To find certain pieces within my portfolio easier, please look them up by title, as written below.
My personal favorites can also be found at the bottom of the list.

  • Analysis of My Writing
  • “I’m Dead” (Obituaries)
  • Open Letter To Myself Before Him
    • Draft 1
    • Draft 2
  • Classroom Description (50 Words)
  • How To Become A Writer Poem
  • Using Lists For Effect
  • Photo Challenge
    • Week One
    • Week Three
    • Week Five
    • Week Seven
    • Week Eighteen
  • Verbing It Up
  • Advanced Wordplay
    • 2
  • Response Letter For “To His Coy Mistress”
  • Sitting In Strained Silence
    • Revision: Summer Ants
  • Shunned Street
    • Draft 1
    • Draft 2
  • The  Villainous Villanelle
  • 13 Ways Of Looking At Sheep
  • Koalas!
  • School Lunches
    • Draft 1
    • Draft 2
  • The Sadistic Sestina
  • Amore Dolet
  • Dialogue Stories
    • Draft 1 – Just Dialogue
    • Draft 2 – With Details
  • Incorporating A Lyric
    • Version 1
    • Version 2
  • The Fall I Turned Sixteen
  • Calligraphy Piece
    • Draft 1
    • Draft 2
    • Draft 3
    • Draft 4
  • Bus Ride
    • Perspective 1
    • Perspective 2
  • Graduation Poem
  • Story Time For Bunnies
  • The Ugly Owlglie

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Some of my personal favorites:

  • Amore Dolet
  • Calligraphy Piece
  • Incorporating A Lyric
  • Open Letter To Myself Before Him
  • Graduation Poem

The Ugly Owlglie

Michael Jackson’s Pet: Owlglie.

“The Ugly Owlglie”

Michael Jackson’s Diary:

After being rejected buying The Elephant Man corpse, I knew that I had to find something else. I had put aside the million dollars to buy something unique and amazing, and that was exactly what I planned to do. Besides, who could really say no to Michael Jackson? ……

I went to Super Pets in Orange, California to search for my new prize. It was said that they had absolutely every kind of pet imaginable there. Except good fish, according to a very rude Google Review…. Anyways, I went into the store and was met with something very surprising. Though the usual horde of people had followed me around outside the store, they didn’t seem to follow me into the store. donotgohereforanythingfishrelatedreviewIt was as if this store was some sort of a safe haven for me. So I went in and was welcomed with shelves and cages of nothing but nature and its beautiful embellishments. I was brought into a trance. My mind raced as I looked over each animal. Which ones should I buy? Should I call my contractor to build me more pens? …No! I couldn’t do that. I was here for a very special animal. Something that would wow the world. And looking around at this beautiful haven, I was sure I would find the perfect animal. I spent what felt like hours walking around and looking at the different animals. theuglyowlglie-e1496158949146.pngFinally I came to the back of the store, and could feel the breath leave my body in exhaustion. All this time and I was not met by any creature that took my breath away. In fact, I didn’t mean any people either who tried to help me find that creature. Suddenly I was met with a small door. It was a door the size for chimps. I know the saying is for midgets, but that isn’t very appropriate for a pet store setting, now is it? Anyways, I bent down and crawled through the door. Suddenly, it was as if I had stepped through the wardrobe to Narnia.. All around me was trees. Trees that sang deafening melodies, courtesy of the thousands of birds perched on the branches. I walked around in circles, trying to catch a glimpse of every beautiful creature. Then, out of nowhere, a bird flew down and landed in front of me. It was a hideous creature. Absolutely atrocious. At first glance, a gorgeous owl. At second glance, an adorable corgi. At third glance? A monstrosity. A monstrosity that I immediately picked up and knew I had to have. It would be my Owlglie. My Ugly Owlglie.

Story Time For Bunnies

Being a drivers ed instructor is generally one of the most hated jobs to have. I mean you have to deal with know-it-all teenagers who are ready to be out of the house. On top of that, you’re literally putting your life in their hands. For most people, it just doesn’t pay enough to be worth the hassle. But for me, it’s my dream job.

I work as the drivers ed instructor for EC teens. These are the kids with disabilities, such as autism. I take them one-on-one to drive, making sure to support them emotionally and physically. Learning to drive is already a scary thing, but it’s even scarier when you struggle to just get through the day.

Yes, it’s my dream job. I’m sure it sounds crazy, but there’s nothing better than getting to know the kids and helping them accomplish something. Most teenagers don’t truly appreciate the reward of learning to drive. All they see is the freedom it will give them. But these kids, these kids that I drive around, they appreciate it. You can see it in their eyes when they finally park straight. You can see it in their eyes when they finally make it past the highway. You can see it in their eyes at the end of the day when they thank you repeatedly. This is why it’s my dream job.

This being said, the job definitely comes with its share of stories to tell. My favorite story would have to be a teen named Rebecca and her bunny rabbit, Bun. Rebecca was autistic, and didn’t talk much. She struggled to maintain eye contact, and seemed scared to do anything I asked. After spending hours trying to figure out how to help her, I contacted her mom. Her mom was a blessing in helping her daughter. She told me that Rebecca has the same problems at home, but improves significantly when she has her pet bunny with her. I knew what I had to do, and asked the mom to bring the bunny during Rebecca’s next drive.

The next week, Rebecca showed up, with Bun in her arms. She was beaming from ear to ear. She still didn’t say much, but she seemed much more apt to try driving. We got in the car and she sat Bun on the wheel, giving him a final pat before putting on her seatbelt. I smiled and pulled out my camera to take a picture. It was moments like this that I knew I was in the right profession.

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Graduation Poem

Graduation

 

Through the sea of black and silver,

I see hundreds of young faces

Faces of people I’ve grown to love,

Faces of people I never got the chance to meet

They show fear

They show excitement

They show nostalgia

Every face belongs to a story

A story that we’ve all been characters to

 

As a senior, you’re asked one thing over and over

“What advice would you give to freshman?”

It’s a difficult question to answer

But, right now, standing here in front of you,

I think I know exactly what I would say

 

First, embrace high school,

Don’t come in everyday, stuck on the fact that you’re at school.

Instead, come in everyday being thankful

Thankful for the opportunity to be with friends

Thankful for the chance to meet new people

Thankful that you get to try new things anytime you want

Thankful that the whole world is still in front of you

Thankful that you have beautiful freedom

 

Second, try new things

The one thing I’m so thankful for is my sisters in Colorguard

As a freshman, I would have never considered

Of performing for hundreds of people

Of spending long hours practicing on top of homework

Of being a part of such a tight knit team.

But junior year, I decided to try it

And I haven’t regretted it for a second since.

It has made me more confident,

Its given me the sisters I’ve always wanted,

It’s given me a way to relieve stress, anxiety,

And a way to express myself.

But if I had never went outside of my comfort zone,

If I had never allowed myself to try new things,

I wouldn’t be nearly the person I am today.

 

Lastly, put forth the effort

It’s hard sitting through class everyday,

It’s never easy to spend hours every night doing homework,

It’s easier to hit the “snooze” button

It’s more enjoyable to go out into the early hours of the morning

But let me tell you,

Come senior year,

You’ll regret it.

You’ll wish you had taken the harder path

You’ll wish you had studied harder for that Chemistry Exam

You’ll wish you had gotten up the nerve to do the AP Exam

You’ll wish that you had spent more time working towards this diploma

Because once you hold it in your hands,

You’ll think back and be proud.

It’s not worth it if it’s easy

It’s worth it if you had to fight for it.

 

So as I conclude this, there’s something I want to say

Class of 2017,

It’s been an honor riding on this rollercoaster with you

There’s not anyone else I’d want to fight with

I’m proud to be in this crowd, throwing up my cap with you

Together, we can change the world.

And it all starts right now.

Summer Ants

Sitting on the picnic blanket, I watched the red and white pattern. Every square would shift as a black speck moved across it. Then a break. Then another shift. It happened over and over, the squares being harassed relentlessly. My eyes were mesmerized. I couldn’t pull away from the cycle.

 

Red and white. A shift of black. Red and white. A shift of black.

 

Finally my eyes followed the trail of specks across the red and white landscape. Trailing over the line of altered, flashing squares, I reached the first speck. It was travelling towards my toe. I could almost hear it take a deep breath as it made the first step towards the mountain of beige ahead of it. It clung to me, courageously putting one foot in front of the other until it finally reached the peak. It looked back at the army of specks behind it. Antennas twitched. The line halted for a brief moment. For that moment I almost forgot that there was anything on the blanket at all. Then, back like clockwork, the cycle continued.

 

Red and white. A shift of black. Another mountain. Red and white. A shift of black. Another mountain.

 

It was a mere matter of time until they travelled across the mountainous terrain of my body and reached the other side. Sitting on the picnic blanket, I watched the red and white pattern. Every square shifted as a black speck moved across it. Then a break. Then another shift. It happened over and over, the squares being harassed relentlessly. My eyes were mesmerized. I couldn’t pull away from the cycle. I couldn’t even feel the attacks to my body.

 

I couldn’t pull away from the cycle.

Analysis of My Writing

Analysis of My Writing

 

 

  • Assessment of how good/bad my writing was at the beginning of the semester.

 

      1. In the beginning of the semester, my writing was very mediocre. While I feel that my poetry was pretty good, everything I wrote lacked detail and character.
        1. “All those beautiful girls who wore the latest trends that hugged their bodies, and who wore makeup like movie stars.”
        2. “Students stumble through the dark classroom, the only light radiating off the ancient computer screens. They shiver at the intense blast of synthetic cold air, circulating the room via several miniature AC gadgets. Then, in the coldest, darkest corner, sits the cross-legged teacher, watching the tortured students like a hawk.”

 

  • Assessment of the ways in which you have improved.

 

      1. I believe that I have improved the level of detail in my stories/poetry. Rather than simply explaining things through plain adjectives and moving on, I have learned how to write detail and description through more than just one or two adjectives. This has also helped me to bring life to the characters of my stories; because they are no longer just described with a few words. They are more described through their actions and what/how they speak.
        1. Looking to the left is my favorite part of the store. Rows and rows of my favorite things to collect and wear: chokers. Lace ones. Beaded ones. Ones with charms. Ones that are just plain. Nerdy ones. Classy ones. Ones that are colorful. Ones that are dark. There are rows of them and I spend at least 15 minutes searching through them, my fingers sliding over the texture of each one, imagining how they would look with different outfits. I know I mustn’t give in, however, because as I’ve said: things that come out of this store aren’t appreciated.
        2. yet, here, the woman before me, looked as old as the crumbling rocks of Stonehenge.
        3. I looked towards the back of the store. Looking over the rows and rows of clothing and other merchandise, I thought about the only people who ever shopped back there. Horny teens. Teens looking for answers to questions they’re parents would blush to answer. Couples looking for some interesting bonding time. Women looking for an anniversary surprise. If only I had asked the lady to walk back there, to the land of the twisted fun. Oh, that would’ve been a treat.

 

  • Some of your favorite sentences/phrases you have written, and why.

 

    1. ‘Maybe out to that funky graffiti-filled taco joint where he tried to convince you he was a world renown artist.’
      1. This is the favorite single line I have ever written. It gave the exact picture that was in my head. People in class who read it and knew the restaurant guessed it immediately. Just with that one short sentence. It also sounded to me like something you would read in a book, which was beyond flattering to me.
    2. They will ask you if Tracey took her medicine alright; It’s always the same heartbreaking questions.…. They will ask you if Tracey fell asleep alright; It’s always the same heartbreaking questions.…. They will ask you if Tracey played with the others alright; It’s always the same heartbreaking questions….They will ask you if Tracey felt pain, or if she passed alright; Oh, the heartbreaking questions…You must tell them that Tracey is gone; That she is gone and they mustn’t ask anymore questions.”
      1. These are the first two sentences of each stanza in a poem. I loved the way this connected each stanza, while changing it up, and also showing a progression of time. It was something that I like the way it turned out.
    3. ‘Here were all of the accessories that people of her generation despise: chokers, spiky belts, piercing pieces for every part of the body. As the womans eye washed over each of these things, they got bigger and bigger, like a balloon being filled to its absolute capacity.’
      1. This had some sarcastic detail that, especially with the context of the piece, is quite funny. It’s an old lady looking at the things our generation loves. It was something I thought would be fun to write about, and it definitely was.
    4. ‘Surprisingly, this freak street was still not enough to drive off life. It wasn’t a paradise or first choice resort, but it was a haven. A haven for the most desperate of life on Earth. Birds who were shunned for their shattered vocals could sing here. Small creatures who were shunned for their disgusting appetite could feast here People who were shunned for their past could walk here. It was a haven for those who couldn’t live, but still wanted to.          Not many reached this state of despair. Usually those who get even close decide they don’t want to live like that. That’s why this alleyway, accepting as it is, remains mostly empty. It opens you with welcome arms, but to stay, you must be willing to welcome all other things residing with open arms.’
      1. This section is my favorite paragraph (well…two) that I think I’ve ever written. It held emotion and imagery to me, and above all, sent a message in my head. It sent a message to people that we judge everything so harshly. But what do we do when we realize that we’re just like everyone else? How do we manage?
    5. Sparkling grey, they’re my own veins  

           Unchanging beat, it’s my own heart.

                       Halted view, they’re my own eyes.

                       Empty chasm, it’s my own soul.

      1. I liked this stanza because of the way it flowed. It sounded very poetic to me, and I love the description I used. It was also the turning point in the piece, where the reader realizes the main voice is dead.

       

Bus Ride – Perspective 2

“We have a problem. A girl is stuck in the bathroom on our bus. Can you come and help us?” I mumbled into the walkie talkie attached to the bus. I kept my voice low, hoping not to worry the children. A quick look into the reflective mirror above me told me they were already teeming with anxiety. It wouldn’t help my reputation to get kids all worked up. Especially not elementary age children.

“Of course, we’ll be right there. Are you pulled over?” The returning voice was that of my fellow bus driver. We had both been hired to drive these kids to the zoo, but somehow it seemed almost not worth the small stash of money it would give us.
“Yeah, you can’t miss us. We’re on the side of the road.”

“Ok, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

I hung the walkie talkie back on its hook and relaxed back in my seat. I couldn’t believe that here we were, 30 minutes from the zoo, and a girl had gotten herself locked in the bathroom on the bus. It was a simple twist lock! How could anyone manage to get stuck in the bathroom on the bus? The teachers made the excuse that she was just six and probably was just scared and confused, but other kids had already made the trip and back just mere minutes before.

Anger began rising in my chest as I looked back into the mirror again. They were all watching the bathroom door from their seats. They were finally silent now, but I wished they’d use those voices to help coax their friend out. Or explain to her what to do. Anything! Even the seemingly teenage teacher sitting a few rows behind me wasn’t doing anything. She was looking out of the bus window, just waiting on someone to come fix the problem. At least the other teacher was talking to the young child, and trying to pick the lock on the door.

Suddenly the teenage girl stood up and turned around to face the children. I watched through the mirror in curiosity. The girl who had been the only silent one on the bus all day was now speaking up. She began to engage the class in questions about the zoo. The chatter began to rise, and with it went my blood pressure. The kids had just gotten quiet, and now she was stirring them up again. I couldn’t wait for the other driver to get there so we could get there and leave.

The children spoke up one by one as she called on them, each telling of things they were excited to see at the zoo. Two little girls got themselves so excited that they practically began jumping up and down holding hands. In my mind I made a mental note to never become a teacher. And another one to possibly become only a middle school and up bus driver.

A little boy began going on about how he wanted to see lizards. I felt like telling him to go check for some in the woods since we were stopped anyways. It would at least mean one less voice in the bus. Finally, right as she was about to call on another name, the door swung open. In walked my fellow bus driver. I smiled as I had never been so happy to see another living soul. Maybe he could get this bus moving again.

Bus Ride – Perspective 1

“We have a problem. A girl is stuck in the bathroom on our bus. Can you come and help us?” The bus driver grumbled into a walkie talkie, more concerned about us being late to the zoo than the fact that one of his passengers had gotten locked in a seemingly impenetrable door.

I sat on the bus, and stared out of the window. No trees were passing us. No cars were speeding alongside us. Instead, everything seemed to stand still and watch us in confusion. There wasn’t a part of me that could blame them, however. Even I was confused how we got here on the side of the road.

The bus was clinging to the side of the road, making sure to stay steady for the already anxious children. Their 6 and 7 year old hearts were breaking because they knew our trip to the zoo had been halted. Their hearts were also breaking for their friend locked in the room at the back of the bus. She was talking through the door to her teacher, though her voice barely audible from the front of the bus where I was positioned.

With the teacher gone, it was my job to be sure to calm the steadily rising cloud of panic. “Don’t worry guys, the other bus will be here in just a few minutes. Then we’ll get her out, and be on our way.” My lips smiled in assurance, but my stomach was churning with fear. What if she didn’t get out? What if the other bus driver didn’t have a key either? I was only 18 and already I was learning the fears of being an elementary school teacher.

I decided to shift the conversation to our trip ahead. We would be going to the zoo for several hours. Parents would be there. All the kids favorite animals would be there. It was all the perfect excuse to move on from the horrible incident happening at the opposite end of the bus. “So, guys, raise your hands and tell me what you most look forward to at the zoo. Any particular animals? Any rides? Snacks?” I looked around the bus in relief as several hands flew up in excitement. Their chatter was already beginning to block out the noise in the back.

“I’m looking forward to the carousel ride! And if Abby wants to, then we might even ride it twice!” The little girl in brown pigtails spoke proudly, and her words prompted her friend to jump up in excitement.

“Really? We might go twice? Yay!” The girls clasped hands and began to shake with excitement. I had to stifle a laugh as I calmed them down and moved on to other people.

I’m looking forward to lizards.” The boy seemed very confident in what he said, but everyone else seemed confused.

“Um, lizards?” My mind began trying to scroll through what he could be talking about. They didn’t just have a random lizard exhibit did they? Maybe they did. It had been a long time since I had been to the zoo. Probably since I was on this same first grade trip.

“Yeah, you know, the ones that look like dragons.”

I started laughing and nodded my head. “Bearded dragons!”

“Yeah! Those things! I look forward to seeing those.” He smiled and crossed his arms. He was in the class I assisted with during the day, so his answer didn’t really surprise me at all. The boy was always found reading some fact book on some type of lizard. “Okay who’s next?”

Before I could pick a hand from the waving flock, the door of the bus swung open. All heads turned to see who it was, and it was the other bus driver. He walked on and we all sat down in anxious anticipation to see the scene unfold.

Calligraphy Piece – Draft 4

I held the pen gingerly, focusing on the skills I learned in college. Light upward strokes, then hard downwards slants. Always end each letter with another thin upward swoop. Each letter must connect perfectly because you only have one chance to make it perfect for the customer. The customer in particular was a short elvish woman, boosted up with a pair of brown leather boots. Each boot was backed with a powerful four-inch heel. Her outfit added even more of a woodland effect, cloaking her legs in reddish brown patchwork material. The sunlight coming through my open shack exposed the tall boots under the flowing skirt. She had chubby cheeks that contradicted the dark gothic cross tattoo located underneath her collarbone.

She pushed back faded dusty pink hair that framed her face as she asked, “When will my art be done, prithee?” I struggled to remain my professional composure at her heavy Jersey accent. It wasn’t everyday I heard individuals with such strong characteristics play so far into the Renaissance aura. But if they all sounded like her, I would gladly petition more Jersey accents.

“Almost done, madame” I replied as I went back over each letter, darkening the downward angles until I could see the word “Rivendell” written out boldly. Under it, a map I had carefully drawn out of the iconic Lord of the Rings land.

I glanced up at her again. My eyes lingered over her, admiring how flawlessly her figure owned the Renaissance look. I had seen far too many women who wore outfits just for attention. But this woman, she was far different. I hesitated my sight over the buttons on her flowing brown blouse. The buttons ran down the middle, but one was rebellious. It had slipped halfway through the loop, threatening to escape altogether with each breath.

My mind begged my lips to tell her. Not that her blouse was slipping apart, but just how beautiful she was. Each detail was crafted in such a way that I could never accomplish in my work. I longed to tell her that though I was giving her a work of art, it could never compare to the work of art she gets to see every morning in the mirror. That was a view I would pay all the money in the world to get to see.

My eyes unwillingly flashed back down to the map. I scanned over it once more to look for any errors before signing my name in the customary bottom right hand corner. As I ran my finger carefully along the page, my eyes in scouring search, they halted on a spot. There was a blot the size of a dime under the “e” of “Rivendell”. My heart stopped as I realized my mistake. I had ignored the biggest rules of Calligraphy: always take your time, think ahead to the next letter, and keep focused on your work.

I began to apologize to the woman standing patiently before me, but I couldn’t bring myself to make her wait longer on her piece and admit that I had messed up. So I carefully went back to the spot, making sure to not smear it further. My mind raced through ideas on what to turn it into. My Calligraphy class never taught me how to fix such a mistake. You simply started over. You only have once chance to get it right.

Then I looked back at her one more time, and realized I was right. I did only have one chance to get this right. So I took my pen back over the blot and carefully shaped around it until it was a rounded black heart. It was subtle, but I prayed she would notice the details of my work as I noticed the countless alluring details of her. I smiled and signed the bottom of the map, making sure it was stunning yet legible; then she would know who to return to next festival. Finally, I picked it up and presented it to her.

Once I handed it to her, a smile appeared on her auburn lips. She took the map, clutching it to the corset that shaped her body. Above her lips’ peak sat a glimmering black dot, pierced through her fair skin. Again in heavy Jersey accent, she exclaimed the English phrase “I thank thee” as she rummaged through her satchel. She passed over money that seemed as faded as her hair, but I could see new life sprouting in her as she walked away, back into the yearly festival outside. “No, thank thee for taking thy breath away,” I mumbled as I watched her disappear back into the crowd.

Calligraphy Piece – Draft 3

I held the pen gingerly, focusing on the skills I learned in college. Light upward strokes, then hard downwards slants. Always end each letter with another thin upward swoop. Each letter must connect perfectly because you only have one chance to make it perfect for the customer. The customer in particular was a short elvish woman, boosted up with a pair of brown leather boots. Each boot was backed with a powerful four-inch heel. Her outfit added even more of a woodland effect, cloaking her legs in reddish brown patchwork material. The sunlight coming through my open shack exposed the tall boots under the flowing skirt. She had chubby cheeks that contradicted the dark gothic cross tattoo located underneath her collarbone.

She pushed back faded dusty pink hair that framed her face as she asked, “When will my art be done, prithee?” I struggled to remain my professional composure at her heavy Jersey accent. It wasn’t everyday I heard individuals with such strong characteristics play so far into the Renaissance aura.

“Almost done, madame” I replied as I went back over each letter, darkening the downward angles until I could see the word “Rivendell” written out boldly. Under it, a map I had carefully drawn out of the iconic Lord of the Rings land.

I glanced up at her again. My eyes lingered over her, admiring how flawlessly her figure owned the Renaissance look. I had seen far too many women who wore outfits just for attention. But this woman, she was far different. I hesitated my sight over the buttons on her flowing brown blouse. The buttons ran down the middle, but one was rebellious. It had slipped halfway through the loop, threatening to escape altogether with each breath.

My eyes unwillingly flashed back down to the map. I scanned over it once more to look for any errors before signing my name in the customary bottom right hand corner. As I ran my finger carefully along the page, my eyes in scouring search, they halted on a spot. There was a blot the size of a dime under the “e” of “Rivendell”. My heart stopped as I realized my mistake. I had ignored the biggest rules of Calligraphy: always take your time, think ahead to the next letter, and keep focused on your work.

I began to apologize to the woman standing patiently before me, but I couldn’t bring myself to make her wait longer on her piece and admit that I had messed up. So I carefully went back to the spot, making sure to not smear it further. My mind raced through ideas on what to turn it into. My Calligraphy class never taught me how to fix such a mistake. You simply started over. You only have once chance to get it right.

Then I looked back at her one more time, and realized I was right. I did only have one chance to get this right. So I took my pen back over the blot and carefully shaped around it until it was a rounded black heart. I smiled and signed the bottom of the map, making sure it was impressive yet legible. Then I picked it up and presented it to her.

Once I handed it to her, a smile appeared on her auburn lips. She took the map, clutching it to the corset that shaped her body. Above her lips’ peak sat a glimmering black dot, pierced through her fair skin. Again in heavy Jersey accent, she exclaimed the English phrase “I thank thee” as she rummaged through her satchel. She passed over money that seemed as faded as her hair, but I could see new life sprouting in her as she walked away, back into the yearly festival outside. “No, thank thee for taking thy breath away,” I mumbled as I watched her disappear back into the crowd.

Calligraphy Piece – Draft 2

I held the pen gingerly, focusing on the skills I learned in college. Light upward strokes, then hard downwards slants. Always end each letter with another thin upward swoop. Each letter must connect perfectly because you only have one chance to make it perfect for the customer. The customer in particular was a short elvish woman, boosted up with a pair of brown leather boots. Each boot was backed with a powerful four-inch heel that made her gait resemble that of a newly born fawn. Her outfit added even more of a woodland effect, cloaking her legs in reddish brown patchwork material. The sunlight coming through my open shack exposed the tall boots under the flowing skirt. She had chubby cheeks that contradicted the dark gothic cross tattoo located underneath her collarbone.

She pushed back faded dusty pink hair that framed her face as she asked, “When will my art be done, prithee?” I struggled to remain my professional composure at her heavy Jersey accent. It wasn’t everyday I heard individuals with such strong characteristics play so far into the Renaissance aura.

“Almost done, madame” I replied as I went back over each letter, darkening the downward angles until I could see the word “Rivendell” written out boldly. Under it, a map I had carefully drawn out of the iconic Lord of the Rings land. I scanned over it once more to look for any errors before signing my name in the customary bottom right hand corner. As I ran my finger carefully along the page, my eyes in careful search, they halted on a spot. There was a blot the size of a dime under the “e” of “Rivendell”. My heart stopped as I realized my mistake. I had ignored the biggest rules of Calligraphy: always take your time, think ahead to the next letter, and keep focused on your work.

I began to apologize to the woman standing patiently before me, but I couldn’t bring myself to make her wait longer on her piece and admit that I had messed up. So I carefully went back to the spot, making sure to not smear it further. My mind raced through ideas on what to turn it into. My Calligraphy class never taught me how to fix such a mistake. You simply started over. You only have once chance to get it right.

Then I looked back at her one more time, and realized I was right. I did only have one chance to get this right. So I took my pen back over the blot and carefully shaped around it until it was a rounded black heart. I smiled and signed the bottom of the map, making sure it was impressive yet legible. Then I picked it up and presented it to her.

Once I handed it to her, a smile appeared on her auburn lips. She took the map, clutching it to the corset that shaped her body. Above her lips’ peak sat a glimmering black dot, pierced through her fair skin. Again in heavy Jersey accent, she exclaimed the English phrase “I thank thee” as she rummaged through her satchel. She passed over money that seemed as faded as her hair, but I could see new life sprouting in her as she walked away, back into the yearly festival outside. “No, thank thee for taking thy breath away,” I mumbled as I watched her disappear back into the crowd.