Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Last Call for Registrations - Summer 2014

Every summer since 2008 I've been able to tell our CCSWP families that this summer has been our biggest CCSWP institute ever.


That streak continues in 2014. We have once again surpassed our enrollment numbers from last summer and will have our biggest institute ever. 


With that said, registration for CCSWP 2014 will close at 12pm Thursday, July 3rd.  



If you'd like to take part in this summer's program, please register as soon as possible. 



We can't wait to get started. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Calvin and I

I was exploring Netflix a week or so ago when I stumbled on the film Dear Mr. Watterson, a documentary about the famous Calvin and Hobbes artist Bill Watterson.

While I am no where near the aficionado of Calvin and Hobbes that many, many other are, I do remember reading the strip in the Portland Press Herald and appreciating both the art and commentary of the characters. I remember the ways in which Calvin would transform his school or his home into a den of monsters or alien planet, and I can remember, at that age, understanding the metaphor, connecting with it. Watterson wrote and drew in the language of youth, and I think that's why he has met with so much success and developed such a passionate following. 

Early on in the film, I learned something about Calvin that I had never known before. The very first strip of Calvin and Hobbes was published on November 18th, 1985. That marked the day six-year-old Calvin began his adventure with Hobbes. What makes that interesting to me, is that I also turned six on November 18th, 1985. Technically, Calvin and I are the exact same age, apart from the fact that he's always been six while I've continued to be 25 for years.

In an interview on NPR, Dear Mr. Watterson director Joel Schroeder talked about how on any given strip of Calvin and Hobbes you could find yourself immersed in a philosophical or theological exploration. For this reason, I think Calvin and Hobbes helped people realize the potential, or the reality of comics.

We've seen it now, of course. When the summer movie season or fall television season is measured by the number of productions based in comic books, it's a clear sign that people are now paying attention to the medium of comics and graphic novels. People have recognized that these are not simple pulp or children's stories. They are as layered and loaded with meaning as any piece of literature, and deserve both attention and credit.

To this day, one of my favorite books that I will read again and again is the graphic novel Watchmen. It is a profound work, and one that challenges the reader to reassess his/her genre expectations. Watchmen is part comic, part novella, part philosophical exploration. It is amazing, and it lead me to explore more graphic novels like The Dark Knight Returns and The Walking Dead series.

This summer, I'm making it point of emphasis for both our writers and teachers that stories are told in the way that best suits the story, not convention. For some stories, that means traditional print. For others, a poem best tells the story, for others a video, or a song, or even a comic.

Calvin reminds us that we need to explore our world to understand it while keeping in mind that not everything is as it seems. To tell a young writer that stories can only be written one way and that some mediums are better than other is to ignore Calvin's advice. As people at a certain age, Calvin and I can reassure you that it's advice worth keeping. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Central Authors

This fall I was invited to participate in the "Central Authors" series at Central Connecticut State University. This series highlights writers from the CCSU family (faculty, staff, and alumni), and gives writers a chance to read and talk with an audience at the CCSU bookstore.

And it's on TV!

I will be reading on October 1st, 2014. I know it's months away, but if you'd like to come be a part of the audience, I'd truly appreciate it.

Here's the poster for the full Fall lineup for Central Authors.


The CCSU BOOKSTORE, the Offices of the PROVOST and INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT, and the MEDIA CENTER  present

CCSU’s cable television show featuring members of the Central family (faculty, staff, and alumni) talking about their books
and airing on some 20 cable outlets throughout Connecticut.  (Check your local listings!)

All tapings are at 12:15 PM in the CCSU Bookstore.

FALL 2014

A Moveable Beast
Barry Leeds (English)
Wednesday, September 24

The Smile
Nick Chanese (Alumnus)
Wednesday, October 1

International Volunteer Tourism
Abigail Adams (Anthropology)
Wednesday, October 15

By the Windpipe
and
Out From the Pleiades
Leslie McGrath Taylor (English) 
Wednesday, October 29
DOUBLE TAPING
                                                                                                               
Education in North America
Daniel Mulcahy (Teacher Education) 
Wednesday, November 12


 Watch Central Authors daily on CCSU TV, channel 23, at 8:30 am, 2:30 pm, and 7:30 pm, or online at www.ccsu.edu/centralauthors/programming.htm

Think globally; read locally!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekly Student Writing Sample

This week's sample comes from Rachel A. from the 2013 New Britain institute. Enjoy!

We all woke up five days ago. Nobody knows where we are or what really happened. We all have our theories. Already the people who think they are smarter and more knowledgeable than everyone else formed a tiny government. They boss us around and bark orders all day long. This ‘government’ wrote a new constitution yesterday. It didn't take them very long. Considering it was mostly what they wanted our new continent, Gelum to be like. We aren't aloud to use any of the trees on the north side, and only the lanky ones that line the town. The government wants to preserve them. The only purposes we are allowed have when chopping the skinny ones down is for housing and fire wood.Then they all just signed it at the bottom. Together as a community we named the land all the population was brought to; Village. So what if it wasn't original? I guess the better thing to say is we had more on our minds.

We didn't have any resources. Only trees for wood, rock and small plants. We also had some of the things from our past that drifted along with us. Otherwise, we really didn't have much to survive with. The frigid climate made for hard core living style.

Most people were clueless. I knew what was going on though. Despite my memory loss. You could figure it out for yourself if you tried. Village was slightly inland on the shoreline. If you looked out on the horizon over the ocean, you couldn't expect to see anything. There was not a tree in sight.Our terrain was hills of rock. If you sought a message in the stars, you would be disappointed. I didn't know what happened to planet earth, but I had my mind made up - it was something big, and it was definitely something bad. I couldn't tell just what it was, there were no signs of a natural disaster. This was all so mysterious and intriguing, how could you not wonder?

That was pretty much the rundown of everything buzzing around my mind. I stretched and curled up again in my furs. Village looked like a bee hive, with all the make believe houses. Draped skins in circles around the fire is all we could manage. We lived in huts out of wooden posts with animal skins tied up along them. The posts lean in to a point in the middle; and the furs bind them together. Our community is a circle of these, with one big bonfire in the center. We have to feed it by the hour, like an animal.The citizens there scrambled to find an occupation, or more like some warmth. I could see them through the flaps of the furs and someone was approaching. It was my father. He had thick fur coating all over. He looked like a bear I couldn't help but chuckle!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Customer Service - A Writer's Challenge

I usually don't enjoy calling customer service lines. More often than not I end up frustrated for one of many reasons, and the call ends without any sense of satisfaction.
Don't actually click this. No one will chat with you

However, I do enjoy customer service "chats," those pop-up chats that allow you to talk to representative with generic names like "James" and "Sally." One of my favorite things to do when using customer service chats is to bait the representative into getting off topic. I try to get a reaction or response, but almost never get either from well-trained (or indifferent) representatives. I consider it a true writer's challenge to try to wordsmith a reaction or break in "character," and as hard as I try, I very rarely succeed.

That was until tonight.

I went to pay my cable bill online, and noticed a discrepancy in my account. That's how the chat started; here's how it evolved.

Nick Chanese: Sarah, I would like to check two things. First, I thought I saw on my web profile that I have 2 receivers. That is incorrect; I only have one and returned the second months ago. I want to make sure I'm not being charged for two. Second, I would like to remove Showtime from my package
Sarah: I can help you with that!
Sarah: Please allow me a moment, while I access your account.
Nick Chanese: No problem
Sarah: Thank you, Nick
Nick Chanese: Still there?
Sarah: Yes, I am working on your account.
Nick Chanese: Alright - sorry to interrupt
Sarah: I have a good news for you.
Nick Chanese: Did I win a puppy?
Sarah: Thank you Nick for waiting, I appreciate your patience.
Sarah: I would like to inform you that I have reduce your monthly bill.
Sarah: I can see that there is no promotional discount active on your account.
Sarah: Due to which your monthly bill is high.
Sarah: We value you as a customer.
Sarah: I have reduce your monthly bill by adding a new promotions on your account.
Sarah: Does that sound great to you?
Nick Chanese: Yes, but I assume that means that I did NOT win a puppy, and also you did not answer the two issues that I started with (the extra receiver and Showtime)
Sarah: And also I have removed the receiver fee from your account and I have removed Showtime from your account.
Nick Chanese: Great. For how long have I been charged for the extra receiver, because my guess would be I am due for a retroactive credit - since I was paying for something I did not have.
Sarah: Please be assured, their is no receiver fee on your account.
Nick Chanese: "there" not "their"
Sarah: I am sorry, for my typing mistake.
Nick Chanese: Sorry - I'm an English teacher
Nick Chanese: It's a reflex
Sarah: Please accept my apology.
Sarah: Great!
Sarah: No problem.
Nick Chanese: Please don't apologize.
Sarah: I respect you, Nick
...
Sarah: I can see that there is a TV reciver fee and Internet equipment fee on your account.
Sarah: So I have removed both fees from your account for 1 year.
Sarah: And I can see that there is a late payment fee on your account.
Nick Chanese: Sarah...Put your hand on your screen because my hand is on my screen. We are giving each other an internet high-five
Sarah: My hands are also on my screen.
Sarah: Yeah..
Nick Chanese: Is that the first internet high-five you've ever had?
Sarah: Yes, you are correct.
Nick Chanese: I am honored to be the first
Sarah: Sure.
Sarah: I would like to inform you that I will provide you a credit on your current bill for late fee.
Nick Chanese: This has been quite a chat tonight Sarah. You saved me money; we had an internet high five; you're sending me a puppy as a prize....
Sarah: How does that sound to you?
Sarah: I appreciate your patience, I am glad to confirm that I have waived $10.00 from your account.
Sarah: You will be able to view these changes within next few minutes on your online account.
Sarah:
Nick Chanese: Sarah...now I'm hugging my monitor. Hug your monitor and you will receive my internet hug of gratitude
Sarah: Please be assured, from next month onwards your monthly bill will be of ... plus Taxes.
Nick Chanese: It's powers of ten more special than an internet high five
Sarah: Top of that you are getting U-450 TV service and 18Mbps Internet speed.
Nick Chanese: WHAT?
Sarah: I’m always looking for ways to help my customers save money.
Nick Chanese: Now you are out of control
Sarah: Yes, this is true.
Nick Chanese: You have gone rogue! You are drunk on the power of the Direct TV acquisition!
Sarah: In ... per month I am providing you U-450 and 18Mbps Internet speed.
Nick Chanese: What's the catch Sarah? How long can I live in this Eden of telecommunications? This is where you tell me this is only for 3 months...thus crushing my spirits
Sarah: Did I able to give a smile on your face today?
Nick Chanese: You have punched me square in the jaw with your fist of savings
Sarah: I would like to inform you that the promotional offers are for complete 1 year on your Internet service.
Sarah: And you will have 3 months promotional discount on your TV service.
Sarah: I request you to please contact us again once the promotions expire and we will add a new promotions again on your account.
Nick Chanese: I KNEW IT! Do I have to call back in 3 months to cancel or will it automatically disappear in 3 months
Sarah: Since you are a valuable customer of AT&T.
Sarah: I will add a notes on your account that you will get the best promotions in future.
Nick Chanese: How valuable? Would you say I'm the most valuable, very valuable, or just kinda valuable?
Sarah: I would like to inform you that you will get a notification on your registered AT&T email id when your promotions will get expire.
Nick Chanese: And then I will sign back into chat, where I will ONLY speak to you Sarah, and you will get me a kitten to go along with the puppy that I should expect in 3-6 weeks
Sarah: You are most valuable customer, Nick
Nick Chanese: My neighbors have Uverse. I'm going next door to tell them that I'm more valuable than they are after we're done here
Sarah: Ohoo
Nick Chanese: Oooh is right.
Nick Chanese: They are going to be so jealous of me
Sarah: Okay.
Sarah: Ya sure.
Nick Chanese: Especially when they see the puppy
Sarah: Nick, I have one question for you.
Sarah: May I?
Nick Chanese: Shoot Sarah
Nick Chanese: ask away
Sarah: Nick from where I will get puppy for you?
Nick Chanese: I would prefer a rescue organization. They do good work
Sarah: I am very much worried about that.
Nick Chanese: You call them, have AT&T foot the bill, and I'll go pick it up
Nick Chanese: We can do the kitten first if that's easier. There's a cat shelter right down the road from me
Sarah: Okay.
Sarah: Yes, that is a good idea.
Nick Chanese: http://www.ctcatconnection.org/
Nick Chanese: You pick the kitten. I trust your judgement
Sarah: Thank you for the information.
Sarah: Okay.
Nick Chanese: I'll even let you name him/her
Sarah: Nick, I have one more good news for you.
Nick Chanese: You already picked out the kitten?
Sarah: No, not yet.
Nick Chanese: Sorry - jumped the gun. JUST SO EXCITED FOR A KITTEN!
Sarah: I am work right now, and my system does not allow to access the website.
Sarah: I am sorry for that.
Sarah: Please accept my apology.
Sarah: I promise I will do that from my home computer.
Nick Chanese: Use your smartphone. I'll keep typing so your boss thinks your working
Nick Chanese: So about that .....hmmm......Let's talk about upload speeds
Sarah: I love to do that.
Nick Chanese: (he doesn't suspect a thing)
Nick Chanese: you're
Sarah: But we do not have a our phone with us.
Nick Chanese: I made a type
Sarah: They are in lockers.
Nick Chanese: typo
Nick Chanese: now we're even
Nick Chanese: that's oppressive. It's time to rise up against your oppressors. Spread the word in the call center
Sarah: Okay.
...
Sarah: I want to make sure I have addressed all your concerns and was able to make you a very satisfied customer by the end of the chat.
Nick Chanese: We saved money, we internet high-fived AND internet hugged, you promised me new pets. I don't see how it could have gone any better, Sarah.
Sarah: Thank you so much!! Nick
Sarah: It's been a "great pleasure" to be at your service today!! I must admit you have been the most polite and patient customer I have ever dealt with in many days now.
Sarah: You can click the RED X button at the right hand side of the chat window when you are ready to exit.
Sarah: Your feedback will be appreciated after this chat.
Nick Chanese: Thanks Sarah. Have a great night. You can send the animal names to the email address on record
Sarah: Thank you for being the best part of .... Take good care of yourself & have a wonderful time with your family and friends ahead!!
Sarah: Sure, I will.
Sarah: Have a great night. Bye!! Take Care!!
Nick Chanese: Peace out homeslice

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

CCSWP At Highcrest PTO Meeting Thursday

CCSWP Director Nick Chanese will be speaking at the Highcrest PTO meeting in Wethersfield this Thursday.

The meeting starts at 7pm. Please come by to learn more about what the CCSWP offers.

 Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the Fourth Be With You - Happy Star Wars Day

A treasure from Cover Art Gallery
on www.archive.org
I gladly accept and admit my deep-seated nerdery when it comes to Star Wars. I still get shivers at the score; will still drop everything if I see any of the films on cable; will secretly pine for the Lego Death Star, which costs four times more than the Blu-Ray filmography

When the original trilogy was re-released with all the improvements and enhancements, my friend Andy and I went to opening night for all three. After one we went to Toys R Us and bought light sabers and proceeded to have a light saber battle in the parking lot. I won't tell you how old we were, but suffice to say we drove ourselves there. In all honesty, I would probably do it again today. 

I also attended opening night over each film of the "new" trilogy. Each time it was an internal struggle. It was like watching Michael Jordan play for the Wizards. There were hints of former greatness, but everyone knew in his or her heart that time had compromised the magic. I saw "Episode I" five times. Each time I hoped that maybe it would change. Maybe I would understand why Jar-Jar Binks existed, or I would learn to accept young Anikan's wooden dialogue and abominable delivery. But I never did; at least there was a great fight scene at the end. 

Dwindling quality aside, Star Wars is still canon in American film and in American culture. Why else would J.J. Abrams decide to make three new films? Why else would the original cast decided to revive their characters thirty years later? Why would Disney spend the GDP of a small country to buy the rights? Because people love it, and they can't get enough of it. 

Another find from the
Cover Art Gallery
Any why do people love it? Why do they want more and more? Because it's the oldest form of story telling. Joseph Campbell knew this; Lucas knew it. Star Wars is myth. The growth of a boy to a man. The conflicts of parents and their children. The old vs. the new. Freedom vs oppression. The spiritual vs. the mechanical. Honor, glory, betrayal, vengeance, regret, forgiveness, hope. Old wine in new bottles, but oh how we love the bottles. 

We love Star Wars for the same reasons people love Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. They all tell the most basic story: the human story. But to tell that story with a touch of fantasy, that's when it's something special. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Weekly Student Writing Sample

This week's sample is from Gabriella S. from the 2013 CCSWP.


Chapter 1: Taken and Placed
The streets of Seattle are covered with a thin layer of water. All the rain. On the sides of the road a small river is formed by the collection of rain and sometimes you’ll find random things like old coffee cups or newspaper floating in it. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍I sit in the outer corner of an ally way and watch one of those small streams. The rain is soaking my mangled hair‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ and‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ glues it to my face. I heard that Seattle used to be a great city, now it is broken down and full of scum. The people here are filthy but when I think about it I’m not much better. I steal to live. I also fight for spare cash now and then. It’s what people like me need to do to survive. My life isn’t perfect, it is far from it. The chances of it getting better...scratch that, there is no chance of it getting better.
‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
Just ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍then a bright pair of lights interrupts my thoughts. These bright lights must be from a vehicle but no one around here can afford a car. Everyone locks their doors and close their windows. This light can only mean one thing. It’s the W.W.R.S(World Wide Relocation Services)!
‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
Before ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍the van even parks I jump up and run into the ally way.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ I quickly jumped into a dumpster and try not to breath to hard. This dumpster reeks of dead animals and rotting food. If I leave now they'll catch me though. Looks like I'll just have to suck it up. Suddenly I hear echoing footsteps approaching. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

“Damn! Think, Tate. Think!” I whisper angrily to myself. 

I quickly cover my mouth with filthy hands and mentally scold myself. Damn I hope they didn't catch that!‍‍ I peer out of the beaten, rusted dumpster and see the shadows of two, no three men in front of me. Luckily I have an old Swiss army knife that I pocketed from some greasy looking man.‍ I see the shadows move farther and farther away, going deeper into the ally. 

I slowly lift up the lid of the dumpster, working hard to keep it from creaking. Once it is up I step out of the dumpster, one leg at a time until I am fully out. Unfortunately I didn't think about the sound of the dumpster closing. It slams shut and the sound echos. I flinch at the deafening sound and look to see the man looking in my direction. I quickly dart away and take off down the street. 

"Get back here!" One of them yells as they chase after me. 

I'm way faster than them though by the looks of it and I've lived on these streets my whole life. Usually by my age people have been transported at least once but not me. I am a master at hiding from these guys. It's not much different from running from the cops.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Benches, Ghosts, and Pilots

You may have noticed a lull in postings last week. It was due entirely to school vacation - the euphoric "Spring Break" for the year of vortexes and never ending Winter.

I was fortunate enough to visit the city of Savannah, GA during that week. It was my first time there, and I arrived with very few expectations. I knew very little about the city, but it did not take long for it me to develop a soft spot for Savannah.


Savannah is a city full of stories. There are stories about the buildings, their inhabitants, their guests, the wood and plaster of the walls; there are stories in the very bricks of Savannah's twenty-four public squares. At night you can walk the streets and see small groups of people huddled around guides of "ghost tours" telling stories of those who refuse to leave The Hostess City. You can even see the locations used by Hollywood storytellers, including my personal favorite, Chippewa Square, the filming location for all the bench scenes in Forrest Gump.

Stories never stop in Savannah. The river welcomes and bids farewell to giant trans-Atlantic vessels stacked with containers. Each a story in itself; each a story yet to tell; each embarking on a journey that has been at the heart of so many stories.

The city also hosts an ever-growing arts college, The Savannah College of Art and Design. Every street is littered with SCAD-clad undergraduates: painters, photographers, game designers, filmmakers. Each searching for his or her own story told in a way unlike any told before.

Here's my story. On our last night in Savannah, my wife and I sat in our hotel restaurant to celebrate our time there. As we sat and chatted, a man came and sat to my right. I glanced over and noticed his hat: a hat from a brewery in my home state of Maine.

Odd, I thought, to see that hat so many miles from Maine. I asked him about it, puzzled that such a coincidence would occur at this time. He was from New Hampshire, had visited Portland, ME on several occasions, etc, etc. I asked him what brought him to Savannah, and he replied that he was a pilot training with the Gulfstream company - makers of multi-million dollar private jets, based at Savannah International Airport.

Our small talk continued as I asked about his training, if he was military or had flown privately. He had attended Embry Riddle University in Florida. My wife and I had a friend who went there, who also wanted to be a pilot, but had been in a motorcycle crash and could no longer fly.

Strange, said our new friend, he knew someone like that too.

We continued, the similarities increased, and we culminated with the realization that a second mutual friend would be joining our new pilot friend in two weeks at a wedding, and that we may have, in fact, met during our college Spring Break thirteen years prior.

When you consider the circumstances that must occur for such a meeting to take place, the mind reels. What's more, this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened to me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weekly Student Writing Sample

Sometimes I ask students to write about a text that they wish they had written. It's usually an exercise in appreciation. The students often talk about texts that have resonated with them for a variety of reasons, or sometimes they write about something that is so clever or so well written that they model their own work after it. 

The poem below is a poem I wish I had written. I would even settle for having written the title. It's an amazing piece created by one of my seniors, Emily A. Enjoy it. 

"The Season of Dying is Loyal"

Those dazed openings to your mind are glazed with the iridescence of
a baby blue fog. I loose myself in that maze of precipitating cornea. I
push time so hard that I don't find anything worthy of stopping to
observe. When looking is all I thrive on, I blind myself. 

I become surrounded with the sweet hum of cicadas. Anointing myself
with a crown of leaves, the decomposing life source that blesses me. 
The season of dying is loyal. I die along with it. 

Through the windows to your soul, in my wide-eyed degradation, I
confess my love for you. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Upcoming Events - Come Out and Meet Us!

This week is a busy one for the CCSWP. We have three big events this week, and, if you can, we'd love to have you join us.

Event 1 - April 10th 


  • Emerson-Williams PTO meeting, Wethersfield, CT - 7:00pm
    • Director Nick Chanese will be presenting info on this summer's Wethersfield institute. 

Event 2 - April 11th

  • Back East Brewing Fundraiser, Bloomfield, CT - 7:00pm
    • Come find out more about the CCSWP while sampling draughts of Back East's finest creations. $25 donation gets you a pint glass and unlimited samples. 

Event 3 - April 12th

  • Literacy Essentials Conference, CCSU Campus, New Britain, CT - 8:00am
    • Director Nick Chanese will be available during registration and lunch to answer questions about the CCSWP, and you can see him present a writing round-table during the afternoon sessions. 

And, though it's a little later, on May 8th Director Nick Chanese will be visiting the Highcrest PTO meeting in Wethersfield to talk about the CCSWP as well. 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Weekly Student Writing Sample

This week's writing sample comes from Ethan R., a CCSWP 2013 participant.

You know, some people (and by some people I mean most) would want to keep the love of your life a secret. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍But I, the average Joe, had just blurted it out in front of every single person in the school during a meeting with the school about safety. 

I had recently gotten the beat down from Phil, The school bully. He is the only kid to ever be held back! Also, you would not believe how many wet willies this kid can deliver in one minute!‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍I had gotten chosen because Phil had beaten me up recently ‍‍and I think the reason for it is because his grandfather died a week ago, but he won't let it go. So he took his anger out on me for making a wise crack about his B.O.
Now this is how it went down: ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍It was a brisk muggy afternoon. Everybody was sitting down respectfully, waiting for me to give out my entire speech about how Phil misbehaved (as I told you all already). 

"This will be exciting" I muffled to myself and laughed a little. 

"May I have your attention please" The principal spoke. All fell silent "I would like to present to you... Nathan Breefall!" ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Claps were everywhere. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍I tap on the microphone a bit "testing testing, one, two, Scooby dooby doo." The whole room filled with laughter
"Thank you thanks you. Now, I have been chosen from my great teacher to be up here today. Now aint that great? Since my big showdown with Phil, I have gotten much stronger as a person, I am aware now that there are some people out there that have some problems with their life. I understand that Phil has a troubled past, but don't do what he did to me." I showed everyone my black eye. "Now, I would like to tell my feelings to every one of you to show how this is not the right way to go if you are upset." 

I shuffled through my papers and found the next sheet. I look at the paper and see that it's my love letter to Madi! I look at the crowd. I have wanted to tell her my feelings for a while but I had never had the guts to tell her. But since I was up here and nobody could stop me, I figured now was the time. 

“Dear Madi, I know that we have never really talked much, or even looked at each other... But I feel that there is something that I have wanted to tell you for a long time. Ever since the 2nd grade I have looked at you like you’re a princess. A lovely princess that has been looking for a prince. I feel that I could fill that position for you, so I have one question... Will you choose me to be your prince?" 

That did it. Everybody had lost it. Laughing, holding their sides, even the teachers were laughing their guts out.