Sign my guest book after you read my writing.
Dear Mr. Tolkien,
"Stupid pen." It was out of ink.
"All that ink wasted on the pieces of paper only to be crumpled up and thrown in the trash." Alec scribbled once more on the page and nothing happened. Only more white space. He dropped the pen on the desk with a sigh of frustration and ran a hand threw his unkempt hair.
"Stupid pen. They always run out at the least convenient times." He glanced over at his cat. She was curled into a tight ball, sleeping in the middle the sunbeam that poured in through the window across the room. She was a white cat, with splatters on her back that looked like orange paint. "Not that I've been writing anything productive anyway, right?"
He stretched and then dropped both his hands onto the desk with a thud. It was a nice solid writing desk. Enough room for his legs and plenty of space on top for his mess.
He searched around under the papers littering his desk for another pen. Maybe that much space wasn't such a good idea after all, he thought.
"There's gotta be another one around here somewhere..." After a fruitless search he sighed with resignation and leaned back in his soft black desk chair. He closed his eyes, thinking about nothing, just as there had been nothing on those lined papers for what seemed like the longest time.
"I'm tired of writing, Minx," he told the cat. "Burnt out, even though I haven't managed to get anything onto paper for...I can't even remember how long. It seems like forever though."
Alec had stayed up the whole night before, sitting behind that desk, just his lamp light on, trying to force something onto the paper. All he'd managed to do was fill up the trash basket.
With a grunt Alec heaved himself up out of his chair. He walked towards the kitchen to get a glass of water. He passed a full sized mirror that hung in the hall and he stopped to look at himself more closely after catching a glance of his own haggard face. There were dark circles just under his piercing gray eyes, and his short brown hair was a wild mess, despite his latest attempts to tame it. He was about medium height, and build, athletic looking despite the long winter and the resulting lack of exercise. He had a thoughtful expression on his fair face that shown even through the layers of fatigue of a sleepless night. The frustration of an equally fruitless night marred his features however. Alec rubbed his face, and shaking his head, walked into the kitchen.
He walked back to his desk the spacious writing desk and sat down heavily, glass of water in hand. He frowned, sighed again and leaned farther back in his chair. He closed his eyes and let his head loll back. He didn't know when he fell asleep, but then again, you never do.
After a while, he looked up.
"Maybe some air would help," he remarked to the slumbering cat. She ignored him. He got up from behind his desk to open the window across the room.
"Its city air, but I guess city air is better than no air. Besides, spring is here, so it should be nice. A warm breeze after a long cold winter would be nice."
Alec had moved to New York almost a year ago, to be closer to his editor and his publisher. He didn't like the city very much. It was too noisy and the horrible air got to him on occasion. His editor had insisted that it was good idea though, so after nearly a month, Alec relented and moved to the Big Apple.
Alec opened the window with a grunt, and an eager breeze rushed past his into the room, tugging at his T-shirt and filling his lungs. The air seemed unusually clean. He was renting the living space over a restaurant so he was constantly assailed by the fragrance of the special of the day. Except today. He should have found that odd, but for some reason he didn't.
Alec stood looking out the window at the stead stream of people flow up and down the sidewalk. He stood there, staring out the window, watching the people hurry by on their all-important business for a few long moments.
"I think I'll go for a walk, Minx." He informed that cat. She didn't answer. He looked down at her. She had squirmed slightly to the side when Alec had blocked her light. She had all four paws up in the air and her pinked tongue poked out between her teeth.
"I'll go down to the store. I need some pens so it'll be both refreshing and productive." He reached down and scratched her stomach playfully. "I'll be back soon." He glanced back at his writing desk, and with an almost guilty look, stepped out the door.
Since it was so warm he didn't bother with a coat, and left his apartment in just his T-shirt and khakis. As he walked down the stairs and past the side entrance that led into the restaurant, he noticed with a passing glance that all the chairs were up and there wasn't a soul in the place. The fact that it was a Monday and there should have been a crowd at this hour didn't seem to matter.
"That's why it smells so nice today," he thought.
Alec breezed down the stairs, out the front door and then down the few front stairs to the street. The sun was shining and a constant breeze moved briskly down the street. He walked for a ways until he came to the corner of the street. He closed his eyes and stretched, looking forward to a very refreshing walk.
He had his eyes closed and his face turned skyward to face the sun, when someone knocked into him. Alec fell to the ground with that someone on top of him.
He hit the sidewalk and the air rushed out of his lungs. He probably would have been up yelling in an instant if that someone who had knocked him over wasn't still leaning on his stomach. It wasn't a very heavy somebody but all their weight was pressed against the small of his stomach. A length of blonde hair had fallen across his face, and his he'd opened his mouth, he would have choked on it.
A woman then, he thought, no swearing then. Well, not too much. She did start it, he thought childishly.
He looked up but the sun was just behind her head and directly above him so her face was too shadowed to see. He heard her muttering angrily and then push off the pavement to either side of him to get back on her feet.
Alec studied the woman from his vantage on the sidewalk as she yelled after the cyclist who had knocked her into him.
He didn't hear what she was saying but he watched her lips forming the angry words. She was wearing a bright red lipstick. Beautiful, he thought. Her pale blonde hair was drawn up into a pile atop her head, with golden tresses falling across her face. A silver pen flashed and winked at Alec from where it had been absently placed in her hair. The sun shone down on her face, setting her eyes to sparkling. They shone a vivid green and they flashed in anger as the watched the biker ride away unconcerned.
"You're very pretty when you're angry." He smiled.
"Excuse me?" she turned to him as if noticing him for the first time. He hadn't realized he'd said that out loud.
Alec got to his feet and brushed himself off. She looked concerned.
"I'm so sorry. It wasn't my fault," she said frowning. "I lost my balance when that guy knocked me over. Are you okay?" she asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Are you okay?" he asked in return. He noticed for the first time that she was wearing business attire.
"I'm okay, thanks." She said.
Alec extended his hand. "I'm Alec."
She took his hand warmly but in a somewhat business like manner. "Nice to meet you." She said smiling.
Alec looked down as a flash caught his attention. He looked down and saw a pen, almost identical to the one in the woman's hair, lying on the ground. He reached down and picked it up.
"I think you dropped this." He said, handing it to her.
She absently patted her hair where the pen had been sitting next to its partner, moments before.
"You can keep that one," she said shrugging. "There's plenty more where that came from."
Alec smiled, "Thank you." He said, putting the pen in his right pocket.
"I was just on my way to get something to eat for my lunch break. Would you like to join me?"
"I'd love to." Alec said, still smiling.
"Great." She said. She turned to go. "I know this nice place down the street. I hope it isn't closed."
Alec looked up the street to his apartment building and the restaurant under it. It was supposed to be closed but people were outside sitting at the tables in the middle of their meals, while others were walking out of the building holding bags.
Alec touched the woman's arm as she started back the way Alec had come, towards the restaurant.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I don't think I caught your name."
She turned around and gave him another of her beautiful crimson smiles.
"Oh that's right, sorry. I'm-"
Then he woke up.
Alec looked around, startled for a moment. He was sitting in his chair again; the window closed and Minx still curled up in the middle of the sunbeam. He looked down. The papers were still a pristine, unmarked white.
Alec stuffed his hands into his pockets and sat musing at his desk for many long moments. With a wondering expression Alec pulled a pen out of his right pants pocket. Slowly, he put the point to his paper and drew a long inky line of the paper. He looked at the dark line across the page, the stark black against the white.
With a smile he began to write. Occasionally he'd mutter something and then cross something out, changing something more to his liking.
" 'You're very pretty when you're angry.' Why would anyone say something like that?"
Alec hadn't been writing for very long when he looked up from his work, frowning. He chewed the end of his pen as he stared out the window.
He watched the street from his seat at his comfortably large writing desk.
"What was her name?"
THE SHOT HEARD
Skipping on spindly legs across the plains, the earth a stage.
Scorched earth where footsteps fall.
A booming drum beats, dolling out a rhythm.
Bright sword flashing, stabbing.
Trumpets blaring, calling a battle cry, a challenge.
Teardrops fall like tiny jewels of toil.
Small growing things spring up where they fall.
I heard the pounding of feet in a hurry making their way up the stairs in outside the apartment I shared with my friend. I was sitting on the couch watching TV so I immediately saw who burst in through the door. It was Joel, my roommate. He looked around the apartment with a slightly wild look in his eyes. He had a large duffel bag clutched in his hands.
"Hey, Joel." I said. "What's up...? You don't look so good."
Joel quickly closed and locked the door and then leaned against it. He walked towards the couch where I was sitting and stood between the TV and me. He looked as if he were about to say something but then he frowned and kept silent. I watched him as he began to pace in front of the TV, obscuring what I was watching.
I sighed. That show was a rerun anyway.
I watched Joel and waited for him so say something. He seemed to have calmed down a little as he paced and thought, and paced some more. He ran a trembling hand through his short, dark brown hair and then looked down at the bag in his hands. The wild looked entered his eyes again and he quickly put the bag down on the couch next to me. I looked at the bag and then back to him. Whatever it was, it wasn't good. I edged away from the bag a little.
Yeah, definitely serious, I thought, and I didn't know what he'd stuffed into that innocent looking bag. I looked back at Joel.
"Joel, talk to me buddy. What's the problem?" he didn't say anything. "Is there anything I can do?" I asked anxiously.
Again he was silent for a time. He turned to me then, as if he'd come to a decision.
"Something's come up. I'm going away for a little while with Rick." Rick was one of our mutual friends. Joel headed towards his room. "I'll be back in a little while. A couple of days at the most."
"What? Why?" I asked frowning. I stood in the middle of his doorway and watched as he stuffed some clothes and a few other essentials into a new bag. I waited expectantly but he didn't answer me.
"You know the rents due in a couple days..." he still didn't say anything. "I can't pay it by myself. You won't have a place to come back to if you don't give me some cash." Joel was the kind of person who made up his mind and kept it that way. He'd said he was going away and there was nothing that I could do to change that.
I might as well get the money I needed, I figured, so that he had a place to come back to. Whenever or if ever he decided to come back. He looked really shaken. Joel wasn't the type who scared easily. I glanced back to the duffel bag lying on the couch.
He stopped packing long enough to dig into the pocket of his khakis. He pulled out a fistful of cash and then reached back in to pull out another wad. Bills fluttered to the floor around his feet but he didn't notice. He selected a few of the bills and then shoved the rest back into his pants and walked towards me.
"Here." He said, zipping up his bag. He pressed the money into my hand as he walked out the room and back into the living room.
I opened my hand. They were all hundreds! I looked back to the floor where Joel had forgotten more money. I almost choked on my own tongue when I saw they were all hundreds too.
"Joel!" I yelled, as he headed for the door. "Wait! What the hell's going on?" I followed him. "What's that?" I pointed at the bag on the couch. He stopped and looked at the bag, as if he'd just remembered it was there. He started back towards the bag. "And what the hell is this?" I demanded, waving the money in his face as he walked back to the couch. He picked up the duffel bag and I followed him back towards his room. His mouth was a thin determined line and he had a set look on his face, but I was going to get some answers.
Joel walked to the side of his bed and dropped the bag to the floor. I heard a heavy metal clunk as he kicked it under the bed.
He slipped on the bills that were still lying on the floor but didn't bother to pick any of them up. I guessed he had enough already.
I shook my head.
"What, did you rob a bank or what?"
Again I was standing in the middle of the doorway but this time he stopped and looked me in the eye, instead of breezing by.
He looked me in the eye and I returned his stare with a glare of my own. We were about the same height so our eyes were on the same level. He put his free hand on my shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze.
"There is something you can do. Stop asking questions. Something happened today and I don't think you really want to know all that much about it. It'll be better that way." He pointed at the bed. "Don't looked in the bag and don't tell anyone you saw me." He looked at me again. "If anyone starts asking about me tell them that I went out last night. That's true so there's no problem. Just tell them that I haven't come back since last night. Alright?" he asked. "Can you do that for me?"
I was so confused and surprised at it all that I nodded just because he had asked. He gave me a smile and pulled me into quick but fierce hug.
"Thanks a lot man, you're a life saver." He walked quickly to the door and then turned to look at me again. "Remember, you never saw me alright?"
"Yeah." I said, frowning and still trying to figure things out in my head. I looked at the hundreds in my hand again. "Yeah. No problem."
"Alright, I'll be back in a few days."
Then he was gone.
I stared at the door for a few minutes, trying to figure out what had just happened.
I ran a hand through my hair, the same way Joel had. Most of our friends say that we act very much alike. Sometimes people even told us we could pass for brothers, twins even. We were both about medium height and build, brown hair and brown eyes. We both liked to laugh and Joel liked to tell jokes, so we got along very well. We'd been friends for years.
I glanced back at Joel's bedroom and thought about the duffel bag hidden under his bed, and the tempting scattering of cash lying forgotten on the floor. Well, forgotten by Joel anyway.
I sat down on the couch again and stared the TV. I pulled out the money that Joel had already given me and counted it again. He'd given me five hundred. I rubbed the back of my neck with one and hand and sighed as I put the money back in my pocket with the other.
Joel had gotten into his share of trouble but none of it had ever been very serious. I decided to let him deal with it, since that was the way he wanted it anyway.
I had to be at work in about a half an hour, so I went headed to my room to get my jacket. I had a couple errands to run so I planned on doing them just before work.
I looked into Joel's room again as I passed and saw the money lying on the floor. I didn't want to just leave it lying there so I walked in to pick it up. I picked up eleven crumpled one hundred-dollar bills. I counted twice to make sure. I snapped them tight and put them in a neat little stack and held them in my hand. I counted them again just to make sure.
It amazed me that he could possibly have so much money that more than a thousand in cash wasn't tempting enough to warrant the energy to bend down and pick it up. Well, I figured if he hadn't bothered to pick it up, he didn't really need it, did he?
I started to wonder what he had in the bag under the bed. I took my wallet out of my back pocket and put the money inside. Joel and I were the best of friends, I decided, and he wouldn't really mind if took it since he obviously had so much to spare.
I smiled. With this kind of money I could call in sick for weeks at a time, I thought. Maybe he had more in that bag...I got down on the floor and reached for the bag. I pulled it out and sat on the floor to open it. I unzipped the bag and reached inside.
I pulled out a fist full of cash.
I pulled the opening of the bag wide and looked in. It was nearly filled with cash. After a few dazed moments I took a double handful of money and dropped it on the bed. I laughed. The pile had buried my wallet.
I zipped up the bad and pushed it back under the bed. There was so much there that I doubted Joel would ever miss that little bit I had taken.
I picked up my wallet and took the money out into the living room to count. The TV was still on and the news had started, since the show I was watching had ended. I could here the news broadcaster talking in the background.
"Only two hours ago, two men entered the First Bank of Springfield and held the clerks up at gun point. The men escaped with an undetermined amount of cash after evading police in a high speed chase that lasted for half an hour." I wasn't paying very much attention to it until I heard something startling.
"Police have identified the suspects as Joel Horowe and Rick Fearth." That got my attention. I looked up at the screen and was shocked to see a picture of both of my friends. I was surprised again at how much alike Joel and I look.
"Police are not releasing any further information, but urge any individuals with information concerning the suspects or their whereabouts to contact them at this number." A phone number scrolled across the screen but I wasn't paying attention any more.
That's why Joel had left in a hurry.
How on earth did he manage to let them see his face? If I was going to rob a bank, I'd at least have the forethought to where a mask. If the police knew whom to look for, then it would be a small matter for them to find this apartment.
I looked down at the pile of money on the couch. I was starting to get a little too attached it to wait for the police to come take it. With all this cash, I thought, I could just go to some hotel and wait for the whole thing to blow over. Instead of counting the money, I decided to just stuff it in my pockets the way Joel had. I could count it later. I was in the act of filling my pockets when my door burst open for the second time that day. However, instead of Joel or any of my other friends, a group of uniformed police officers rushed into my apartment. I was at the end of more guns than I cared to count and I still had two hands full of hundred dollar bills.
"Freeze!" one of them commanded. I thought of some of the old cops and robbers movies I had seen. "Put your hands above your head!" I did that but I still had all that money in my hands, so I felt a little silly. As the rest of the officers began to search the apartment one of them moved behind me and began to hand cuff me.
"Joel Horowe," he said. "You're under arrest for armed theft."
"Joel?!" I demanded. "I'm not-"
"You have the right to remain silent-"
"Wait!" I almost yelled. "I'm not-" I stopped as one of the other policemen came out of Joel's room, holding the opened duffel bag. He reached in and pulled out a handgun.
"We found this under his bed, sir."
"MY bed? No, that's not-" I started to protest again.
"I'd save it if I were you." The officer behind me said. "You're in a lot of trouble."
The Olive Garden
Let me know how my writing affected you.
It's a great letter poem.
I liked your draft of "He Woke Up", in which you tried to show a mans desire for writing and a girl. You succeeded in showing that the man liked to write. However I felt a little confused at the end when you mentioned the girl. I wasn't sure who she was. In another draft of this piece i think you might want to describe the girl more. By doing so your main charecter might even remember the girls name. My rating scale is OUT OF THIS WORLD, I'D READ IT AGAIN, and GOOD EFFORT. I would give this piece GOOD EFFORT. Your evaluator:Chris Knight
Your draft of the letter poem, in which you tried to show your love of fantasy, and your love of another writer was interesting. You succeeded in telling the reader about another writer while at the same time telling him something about yourself. I felt confused as to who the letter was going to. Maybe if you mentioned some of his works then it would be easier to figure out who the recipient of this letter would be. I another draft of this piece i think that you should tell more about the other writer, and maybe the things that you're doing to follow in his footsteps.My rating scale is OUT OF THIS WORLD, I'D READ IT AGAIN, and GOOD EFFORT. I give this piece I'D READ IT AGIAN. Your evaluator: Chris Knight
In your draft of the love story, "Inspired", you tried to express your frustration when you write of not being able put your thoughts on paper. You succeeded in portraying what it might be like for you when you're writing, while throwing in the girl's pen in the end as a little twist to throw the reader off a bit. I was confused as to why you mentioned the fresh air and the empty restaurant so much. I realize that they hint that the scene isn't real, but maybe in another draft of this story you could try to make it a little more subtle. My scale is Phenomenal, Thought-Provoking, Written to Avoid Getting a Zero, and Needs a Lot of Work. I would give this piece a Phenomenal. Your Evaluator:Erin
In your draft of Fifteen Minutes of Fame, entitled "The Shot Heard Round the World", you tried to give credit to the man who started the American Revolutionary War, while also explaining why he's innocent, and that the shot was unintentional. You succeeded in displaying Arthur's blamelessness. I felt confused because you focused as much on what the shot actually was as on Arthur himself. Maybe, if you brought us through the actions in story-form, possibly including some dialogue, we might find it a little more engaging. In another draft, you might try to steer away from presenting the material in documentary format. My rating scale is Phenomenal, Thought-Provoking, Written to Avoid Getting a Zero, and Needs a Lot of Work. I give this piece something between Written to Avoid getting a Zero and Needs a Lot of Work. Your Evaluator:Erin
Your first piece of the letter poem is really good. you succeeded in saying why he wants to be a writter. I like your lay out it sound good. In another draft you should maybee change your ending about following foot steps. My rating is Good, OK, Bad, you get a good. your evaluator:Dominic Scialla
Your peice of the riddle is interesting. you succeeded in your lay out and the riddle. I felt confused when I first read it. In another draft you might want to maybee try a different layout. My rating scale is Good, OK, Bad, this gets an OK. Your evaluator: Dominic Scialla
Hi. Mr. McGonegal here. This is your portfolio evaluation. Do you remember what I use for an evaluation scale? An "AW" for AWARD WINNING, a "P" for PUBLISHABLE, or a "p" for PASSING. Your first piece: P. Your second piece: AW. Your third piece: P. Your fourth piece: P. Your fifth piece: p. Overall, your portfolio represented some of the good work you did this quarter. It was a pleasure writing with you this quarter, and I hope you will keep writing and stop by trueteacher.com to see what your successors are writing for "found poems," "criminal mind" stories, and travelogues. Best, Mr. M.