One Wild Ride | Quick Piece Breakdown

One Wild Ride

Hello! I hope you’re doing well! This piece was written with prompts from one of my friends and I’m really glad how it turned out!

I have to admit that this piece was pretty difficult to write. I know I say this pretty much every single time, but this piece required a lot of exposition to bring out the last paragraph. Instead of the theme being the usual, friendship and loneliness, I chose family. This kind of love that comes out of families is really special and unique, so I tried to write a story that emphasizes it.

This story circulates around the Duflo family (I got this name from a random surname generator 😛 ), mainly Paul. In the first paragraph, it’s focused around Paul’s childhood when his family goes to the waterpark during the summer for relaxation. As a child, Paul loved the water slides and running around. It was a lot of fun to write and I kind of structured young Paul around when my brother was little – a happy, energetic, and speedy kid. In the next couple of paragraphs, Paul grows up and he goes to college and then tries to find a job which he fails. As more things don’t go his way, Paul ends up lying to his parents about his current status. At the same time, his parents do the same.

One day, Paul gets stuck in traffic and becomes very frustrated with everything. He passes by the waterpark he cherished when he was little and races home to get his parents to join him. I tried to write this scene to be as sensual as possible with young Paul’s energy and enthusiasm. The entire family goes and just stays on one ride. In the end, Paul’s mother asks if he wants to go on the water slides like he always has, but he stays with his parents.

The title of this piece is really important because you get a different sense of it as you progress through the story. In the beginning, the one wild ride is the orange slide that Paul loves because of how fast it was. In the middle the wild ride ends up being the difficulties the Duflo family ends up having and still staying together. And in the end, the wild ride isn’t very wild. It’s the Lazy River that as Paul states, it’s a well-deserved ride.

I really wanted to emphasize rest and familial love. The Dad in the story is always working, but he does rest and relax with his family even if it ends up being an annual event. And Paul rests after beating himself up over his failures. And the familial love ends up being sacrificial for everyone’s happiness. They lied about their severity of their troubles which may not be admirable at the first glance, but it’s a clear indication of selflessness.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my story!

Alice

One Wild Ride | Quick Piece

When I was little, my dad would try to take our family to a water park once every summer. Even though he worked 40 hour weeks, he always tried his best. The water park wasn’t very far from our house, only an hour away, but with each minute that passed, my body quivered with excitement. My mom would pack sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly for me, wrapped in parchment paper and a chicken breast sandwich for her and Dad. The only bad part I hated about the water park was when my mom slathered sunscreen all over me. Sometimes it ran into my eyes and stung. “Mom! There isn’t that much sun out today! I don’t need it!” I shouted, struggling to run into the park, but she yanked me back. “Paul Asher Duflo, you’re going to regret it when you’re older. Now stop jerking around or I’m going to get sun screen in your eyes!” she would always say. I would stay still for five seconds and she would give up. My dad would shout after me to meet at noon at the usual gazebo for lunch and I would stick my thumb up, my grin too wide to be contained. I rode the water slides as many times as possible, darting up the stairs past the teenage couples, past the friend groups, and past the young married couples. I was the fastest Paul Duflo on the slides. I loved the orange one more than anything because of the sharp turns and it always felt longer. I never wanted the fun to end. When it was around noon, I would dart back to the gazebo and scarf down my sandwich leaving sticky residues of peanut butter and jelly down my bare chest. My dad would either be dozing off or happily sitting with a beer in one hand and my mom would have a book in her hand. Once I caught them riding the Lazy River hand in hand and even as a child, I knew I shouldn’t intrude. Something about them stuck with me. Our family usually stayed the entire time until an hour before the park closed. They would usually have to drag me out kicking and screaming, but I knew we were coming back next year.

Unfortunately, I had to go to college, so for a couple of years, I never stepped foot into the water park. Things got busy and four years turned into ten. My parents were still happy, but it became evident that the 40 hours my dad worked was proving to be straining. Whenever I visited for the holidays, he was propped up on a mound of pillows. “What’s with all the pillows, Dad?” I asked. His mouth twitched into a smile before he said, “I’m learning how to be a princess. There’s a pea under all my pillows.” I laughed and playfully punched him on the shoulder. I knew he was having back problems by the way he walked and by the appearance of his swollen feet. My mom tried to find a job, but because of her age, no one would take her. Every time I returned home, there was a big ball of stress looming above the house. All my parents wanted to do was talk about how I was doing. There were times when I straight up lied about having a girlfriend, having a job and being happy. It became a habit and I spun my stories around my successes just so I could hear my Dad laugh and my Mom look like she was put together again. For one moment, I was the fastest kid in town, Mom and Dad were the happiest couple and our worries were nonexistent. In reality, the Duflo family had too much pain, but we just became experts at hiding it.

One summer day, I had another round of disappointing interviews. Everyone politely said thank you with that smile full of pity before sending me on my way. Before driving home, I crumpled my résumé into a ball and flung it at my car. “Why is it so hard to be happy?” I drove furiously home, stopping at the store to pick up a case of beer. “I don’t care if I can’t afford it. I deserve better than this shit hole.” I muttered, making my way to my car. The rattling beers in the passenger seat mimicked my thoughts and my shaking hands. Tears started flowing uncontrollably down my face and I started screaming at the traffic. “Fuck this shit! I’m stuck here in what is the worst place ever and all I want to do is go home and drink 5 beers until I pass out! This world has turned me into an alcoholic because that’s the only thing that will numb out this wonderful thing you call life! Fuck it all!” I accidentally hit the steering wheel sending a loud blaring honk to the car in front of me. Without a word, the driver stuck out his arm and flipped me off. At this point, I pretty much lost all of my senses. Tears and snot run down my face and my hands are too slow to catch it all. It was like the traffic light pitied me, it turned green and I was on my way. My tears blurred the road turning all the cars into colorful moving blobs that threatened my existence. Even through my tears, I saw a bright neon sign of the water park I went to as a kid. I muttered to myself, “I may be almost 44 and my life sucks right now, but I remember the days when I felt like Superman.” I remembered darting through the slides and epically emerging from the pool. Lifeguards were my nemesis and I escaped their hold. I remembered my parents, their faces so serene as they drifted around the bend of the Lazy River only to hear my mother squealing when she encountered an unexpected waterfall. My lips cracked into a smile and I whispered, “Why the hell not?”

I drove home with a new goal in mind. As soon as I stepped through the door where the house was usually too quiet to bear, I raced to my parent’s room where they usually were now and loudly said, “Let’s go to the water park again! It’ll be great!” My mom looked up from her self-help book and squinted at me. “Paul, have you been drinking?” I shook me head and knelt by her feet like I used to as a kid. “No mom! Smell my breath. I really think we should go! It’s so hot outside and the water is so cool.” She didn’t crack a smile and my dad didn’t move. “I know you mean well, but I don’t think it’s a good idea.,” my dad sadly said. It pained me to hear his voice so lifeless, but I had to bring his younger self out of him again. That was my new goal. I took my parent’s hands and begged, “Please, I beg you. Just one more time, one last ride, one wild one for the Duflo family.” Tears brimmed my mother’s eyes and she cracked a smile. “Why not, Hank? For good times sake?” her voice shook with emotion.

We packed our lunches. I spread the smooth peanut butter and jelly and carefully wrapped it in parchment paper and made my parent’s sandwich with my mom happily looking on. We bought our tickets without a care in the world and walked hand in hand into the park. The familiar shouts and screams filled me joy once again and I had an urge to run deep into the park, but I stayed put. Since my Dad’s back was troublesome, the only thing we could go on was the Lazy River. I would give everything to see my parents smile and laugh again. It was like we all became children and everything was okay again. Dad and I couldn’t stop laughing when Mom went under that unexpected waterfall again. We ended up going on the Lazy River so much that the staff recognized us. “Paul, why don’t you go on those slides you’ve always loved? Isn’t the Lazy River just too slow for you?” my mom said, her face glowing from the sun. I shook my head and said, “I’ve had my fair share of wild when I was little. Now’s the time to be lazy, a well deserved ride.”

Walls & Plantae | Quick Piece Breakdown

Hello!

I hope you’re doing well! I’m sorry that I’ve been very consistent with the posts, but in this post, there will be two quick piece breakdowns.

Walls

This piece was written out of boredom. It was written about a month ago when I was in the midst of taking an intense summer class. In two weeks, you can get three credits, but that means that the class is four hours long. All I was doing during that time was going to class and spending the rest of the day on my laptop because I was so exhausted. Since it was technically summer vacation, most of my friends left the University. I was left to my own devices.

This piece epitomizes college life, but with a small twist. It starts out with the narrator spending the night in their apartment and hearing their neighbor’s party. There’s a hint of envy from the narrator whether it be because either they weren’t invited or because they were neighbors, the neighbor would have the sense to casually invite the narrator. The main emotion I wanted to resonate was loneliness. After a quick college meal, a pizza man delivers a pizza the narrator didn’t order to their door. On the note, it says Walls may seem to be like a barrier when they also provide structural integrity. Enjoy the pizza on me! From, your partying neighbor This means that while the wall between them is there, it can also be “broken” to build a better foundation. The neighbor not only bought the pizza for the narrator, but they invited them to the next party. The narrator chose to spend the night comfortably by themselves.

This story is a pretty simple story talking about the two main themes I usually write about, loneliness and friendship.

Plantae

This story was dedicated to my friend who requested that I write a story about a man named Karl who finds plants arriving at his doorstep and is determined to find out who’s leaving him these gifts. I found this request quite interesting, so I jumped on it. Also, the title is Latin for plant. Once again, this story is about friendship and loneliness. Would you say that they’re the opposite? Maybe I write about these themes because of my familiarity with it.

It starts with Karl receiving a succulent and getting berated by his neighbor, Betsy. Karl eliminates the possibility that Betsy could’ve been his plant giver because of the excuses she gives him. In the next segment, you can see that Karl is 100% comfortable with his plants to the extent of giving them names and talking to them. It also appears that he tags personality with the individual plants. It becomes obvious after it shows him actually having a conversation with his friend only to talk about plants. Then, Karl sets out to find out who has been leaving him the plants. In the beginning, I kind of made it clear that Karl is curious about who leaves him the plants, but since they’re too fast for him, he doesn’t make a bigger effort until his passion in finding a friend he can connect with better.

He pictures scenarios that would happen as time passes, but the plant giver doesn’t stop by yet. The plant giver stops by and Karl runs out of the door. I decided to add in the little bit with the blanket to give him more human qualities and to add more quirkiness. He finds out that his neighbor’s granddaughter named Kiki was the one who has been leaving him the plants. They quickly bond over their love for plants and Kiki explains that Betsy acts that way to him because of her jealousy in being able to care for plants. Kiki agrees to continue giving plants as well as form a friendship.

I had to admit that this story took some time because the idea wasn’t first formed by me, so I really had to embrace the characters and the setting. Since it was a little out of my comfort zone, I had to make sure that the plot flowed seamlessly, so there was some time when I was just sitting at my desk not really writing anything because I was thinking about where I wanted this story to go. My usual process for writing stories is to have a general idea and to just go with the flow. With this one, there was more planning and nudging involved and I’m happy with how it turned out. My friend was delighted after reading it. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the stories and the analysis! Have a great day!

Alice

 

Plantae | Quick Piece

Dedicated to Vaughn as per your request

There was a sly knock on the door and I dropped my pen and darted to the door. I wanted to try and catch them, but when I opened the door, all I found was a little succulent. I popped my head around the doorframe, but all I saw were people. Everywhere I looked were people and they could’ve easily slipped into the crowd. “Hey Karl! Close your damn door! No one wants to see your greenhouse!” Betsy called out. She was my neighbor and I knew she wasn’t my “mysterious plant giver”. She hated me and she hated plants even more, but she always made sure to warn me whenever a plant arrived on my doorstep by shouting loudly into the streets. She wouldn’t go near them. She claims that they give her allergies, but I’ve never seen her red eye, stuffy nose and profusely sneezing. Maybe she only hates me. I pick up the little beauty and shut my door, a little louder this time so Betsy would know. “You’re safe with me, little one.” I whispered to the plant. I peered at its spikey leaves spotted with greens and browns. It was small and squat, but still fearsome. “Huh, for some strange reason, you remind me of Betsy. I’ll name you Betty.” I set Betty in the kitchen next to an orchid named Astrid and smiled. My collection of plants is getting quite extravagant. My kitchen countertops and windowsills were covered with orchids and succulents and the occasional tomato plant. In my living room, it was another story. I had flowers blooming and others that were “just leaves.” I had an aloe plant sitting on the coffee table, its spiny leaves dangling over the table. “Well, Tim, you’re getting rather big aren’t you?” I muttered to the aloe plant. In my room were more plants, but not as many because I discovered to my dismay that I had suddenly started to sneeze everywhere when all the flowers started to bloom. On a quiet Saturday morning, I had to move all the beautiful blooming plants into the living room in exchange to “quieter” plants. I had a cute bamboo stalk on my dresser, a snake plant in the corner of the room right under the window where the light likes to fall and a Chinese evergreen on my desk. “How’s it going Matt? You’re looking fine there Sara. Need more water, Joe? I’ll go get you some. It’s actually watering time for everyone too.” I said to each of the plants. I picked up naming all my plants since I never really liked my co-workers so I couldn’t really talk to them. I didn’t really find it strange that I talked to my plants for company. They listened and never talked back to me, but sometimes I wish they would give me advice. “I’ll just call Chantal. I haven’t talked to her in a while.” I muttered to Jim as I watered it. Whenever I called my old friends up, I caught myself talking about my plants like they were actually company I had over. The conversation would be filled with a one-sided discussion about my plants until they had to go. I never really found out much about them. I put the watering can by the door and plopped onto the couch, staring blankly at all my plants. Rebecca swayed gently in the breeze by the window and Millie casually dripped with water. The sun bathed all of my plants and I felt a sigh lift up from my chest. “I’m sure I’ll be able to freely converse with the kind soul leaving me these plants!” I leaped up and nearly knocked over Eric.

For the next week, my ears perked up every time there was any movement outside. Since I live in the city, there’s always movement. I stayed in the living room, only going into my room to sleep or water my plants that live there. My anxious heart wouldn’t give me any rest whenever I went to work because in those eight unbearable hours, I couldn’t bear the thought that my new potential friend could’ve stopped at my door and I wasn’t there to greet them. I always drove a little too fast coming home and to my delight and dismay, there wasn’t a surprise plant. It was a little odd because I usually would get a plant every two weeks whether it is a big or small one and it was nearly into the second week. I decided to wait another week to see if they were just caught up in life and weren’t able to catch me. Before I went to bed, I always envisioned the conversation we would have. Sometimes I would reenact it. “So it was you! You’re the best! Let’s talk about plants now.” I would dramatically say as I flung open the door. They would be flustered, but I would welcome them inside. Then, we would engage in a deep conversation and become best friends. I cringed and pictured myself as a hero saving my actual friend from a plant bandit or realizing that my old crush was my plant giver. Nevertheless, I ended up falling asleep content with my choices.

It was in the morning when I heard a faint knock. I bolted out of my bed simultaneously throwing my comforter over my head. I ended up getting into a tangled knot, so I bought my bright orange comforter with me to the door. I flung my door open only to catch a glimpse of my plant giver’s hair and saw a green tote rounding the corner. “Wait!” I shouted. “Wait up! Don’t go! I need to know who you are!” I continued running down the street, but I didn’t have to get very far with my comforter. The green tote turned into my neighbor Betsy’s house. She turned around and said, “I’m Kiki. Want to come inside?” I started stammering, but she just smiled. “I’ll explain everything. Care for tea? or some cookies my grandmother just baked? or a tour of my greenhouse?” I had to stop myself from leaping from joy, but I followed her inside. From the living room, Betsy gave me a half-hearted grunt acknowledging my presence. After the magnificent tour of her greenhouse, she explained that she was a botanist and that the only place where there was enough space to do her research was at her grandmother’s house. Betsy hated plants because she claimed that they always died if she went near them. I nodded since that explained why Betsy didn’t really like me that much. “It’s not that she hates you. She treats me the same way. She’s just jealous of our abilities to take care of plants.” Kiki explained. “Why did you leave me plants for nearly three months without ever meeting me?” I asked. This story was getting more interesting. “Well, you seemed like an interesting guy and you seemed like the type who would love plants. Plus, I don’t see you with much company so I thought I would give you some.” she muttered, almost inaudibly. I laughed and said, “Well, you guessed right on both parts! And the funny thing is that I tried to talk to people, but I just ended up talking to them about my plants. I actually named my plants.” She guffawed and teased, “Well, I know that you’re weirder than me because I don’t name my plants! There’s too many!” I playfully pouted and said, “You’re the one that gave them all to me!” She sighed and pushed her blond locks away from her face and gently said, “Well, now that our identities have been revealed, I won’t awkwardly leave you plants anymore.” My eyes grew wide and I stood up with my comforter pooling at my ankles. “No! Keep giving me plants! I love them! They’re my friends and my circle of friends is growing bigger!” She pushed me down and smiled, “No Kurt, I’ll still be giving you plants, but I’ll be staying with them. Am I welcome in your circle of friends?” I smiled back and said, “Of course, Kiki.”

 

Passing on the Torch | Journey to Kendo

Hello everyone,
I thought I would give you a well deserved update on how I’m doing with kendo!

As of April, I’m no longer the president of the club and a freshman has taken on the role. Of course I’ll be continuing to help them out and remaining in the club. I have the title of “shadow president” now. The way our club runs is that we want freshmen and sophomores to run for office so that when they’re no longer in office, they’ll be able to give suggestions to the underclassmen, just like what I’m doing. That way, the club will be secure with room for improvement. And I’ll still be continuing to try my hand at coaching.

The last time we spoke, I told you about our changes in training. We’re still going to try to implement that in the next semester. Now that the school year is over and we don’t have summer practices, it’s our down time. What I personally have to do is keep up my physical strength and ability. While I don’t have my bogu and shinai with me, I’ve still been doing exercises including running.

Oh and I forgot to mention this, but I got my own armor! It was a big purchase, but it was worth it. It’s going to take some time before the blue dye stops bleeding on my skin each time after I spar, but the fit is so great. The strikes don’t hurt as much anymore! My favorite part of my armor is the zekken which kind of like a name plate. My family name and my school name is on it and it makes it official, I own it! Since I have a Chinese last name, it’s basically the same because Japanese and Chinese share some characters (kanji) and I don’t need to write it in katakana.

Thanks for sticking around!

Alice