Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Extra! Extra! America’s Next Great Author Volume 3! (Week 3)

It occurred to me that I should inform you of the other contestants in this competition. There started off with thirteen of us. Myself, Tierra, Victoria, Avahline, Lori, Adam, Isabel, Destini, Mckinley, Marvin, Fiona, Stephanie G, and Stephanie U. Both Stephanies, and Fiona never ended up submitting work for the first week and all got eliminated then. Marvin never submitted for the second week and then was eliminated at that time. So, during week three, there were nine of us left.

This week I found to be rather fun. The prompt for this week was to write a parable, fable, and fairy/tall tale set in modern time.

I already knew what I wanted to write for the fable because I had actually started the idea about a year ago when I was in Poetry and Short Story class. Fables always include animals and the most common modern animal I could think of was the squirrel, which I ended up using for the fable. The parable came to me after remembering a parable from the Bible (the one about a boy who could pick ears of corn from a field and the father he went down the line, the bigger they got, so he didn’t pick any hoping they would get bigger, and he eventually ended up with nothing in the end) and then thinking of way to make it modern. I ended up applying the stock market to it, a very modern concept. The fairy tale was a lot harder, but I thought of the idea after thinking about archetypical fairy tale characters. I also began to think about Disney Channel movies and the stupid things they do sometimes to try to add magic to everyday situations, and that’s how I eventually ended up with my fairy tale.

I don’t have much to say about this week. It wasn’t really hard and it wasn’t really easy either. I did end up getting third place over all for the week challenge though, which I consider and accomplishment. In last year’s season, I had never placed in the top three, so I found that to be a step up for me. Lori won the week’s challenge, Avahline placing in second, myself in third, and Isabel was eliminated.

Below are my three stories for the week.

A Nutty Situation (Fable)

In a small suburb on a street by the name of Westfield lived a small community of squirrels. They made their homes in the sycamore trees that grew on the front lawns of the many houses where humans resided. When the leaves had just started to change colors, the squirrels began to gather nuts for the upcoming winter.
            On this street there lived one particular squirrel by the name of Chester who was very smart and began to store food for the winter months ahead of the others. His home was already sufficiently stocked with the food his family needed, but he insisted to continue foraging in case they had a long winter, common in the region.
            One day, a squirrel with a lame leg and a family of his own to support approached Chester and his home.
            “My good friend,” he said to Chester as he scampered up to him. “You have a massive store of nuts for yourself and your family. Surely you can spare me a small portion of your supply. I am not as strong as I used to be and cannot gather enough nuts to support my family.”  
            Chester, considered his words for only a second. Thinking of himself first he responded to him harshly.
            “No, I cannot spare any of my supply. I must think of myself and my family before I help others.”
            Saddened by his response, but also understanding his reasoning, the other squirrel slowly scampered away back to his own tree, wondering how he would find enough food for his family.
            Many other squirrels approached Chester in the fall season, all asking for only a small portion of his supply. They would tell him things such as:
            “Surly you can spare only a few nuts!”
            “You must think of the community as well!”
            “You’ve hogged all of the nuts in the entire neighborhood!”
            But in the end, he gave all of them the exact same response. “I cannot spare any of my supply. I must think of myself and my family before I help others.”
            So the fall came to an end and the leaves turned brown and fell from their home in the trees.
As Chester approached his home from his last scavenging journey and attempted to place the last few nuts into his home, he realized that he had collected so many nuts they had had completely blocked the entrance to his house! He scratched at the entrance, squeaking to alert his wife and kids to clear the entrance for him, but they could not hear him through the immense wall of nuts blocking the way.
He traveled to each tree along the street asking for assistance, but everyone was already shut in their houses for the winter and would not answer him. He tried and he tried, but no one would answer his cries for help, realizing he would have to face the cold winter alone without the supply of nuts he had been too greedy to share.

Up and Up (Parable)
Bill Smith was a business man who his free time playing the stock market. At his job he envied saw his superiors with expensive watches and driving around in Lamborghinis, and he played the stocks hoping to one day earn himself enough money to buy the same things they could afford.
One day while browsing through the NASDAQ he came across the stock for a budding electronics company called of L-COMP. Its stock was only valued for four dollars and ninety-six cents currently, but it had slowly and steadily rose for the last two months. Smith saw potential in the company and therefore bought one hundred shares, hoping that his investment would one day pay off.
Over time the stock steadily rose, but at very small increments. At the end of that year, a share was only valued at six dollars and five cents, barely rising in price. Giving up hope in the company, he planned on selling it the next day, taking whatever small earnings he may have made.
However, Smith woke up the next morning and went about his usual routine checking the stocks only to find that the price of one share of L-COMP and drastically risen overnight to eleven dollars and thirty-nine cents, almost doubling in value. Surprised and elated by the sudden rise in price, Smith decided to hold onto the stock to see if it would rise in price in even more.
He observed the price almost constantly as it continued to rise up and up and up with each passing week, now being sold for over twenty-five dollars. Ecstatic by his decision to purchase the stock at such a low price, he put off selling his shares hoping for the day when L-COMP would rise to its peak. Speaking to himself, he made himself a promise, simply stating:
“I will sell my shares once it reaches fifty dollars.”
Unfortunately, greed soon consumed him to the point where he refused to sell his share in the company. The day came around when the stock reached fifty dollars, but he then changed the promise he made to himself.
“The stock is doing so well I might as well wait for when it reaches one hundred dollars to increase my profit further!”
One hundred dollars soon turned into one twenty five, and one twenty five into two hundred. Wanting to make as much money was possible, he refused to sell the stock. He became lazy and checked the stocks less frequently, only about once a week, thinking that his prized L-COMP stock could only rise in price.
The day came two years later when L-COMP went bankrupt and the price of its stock fell so fast, it was down below five dollars in only a week. By the time Smith took notice of the sudden downfall of the company, the stock had dropped to four dollars and forty eight cents, less money than what he had originally paid for it.
He immediately sold his stock, losing money in the process with a heavy head. He continued to think of the various times he could’ve sold the stock and made a great profit.

Five Dollar Wish (Fairy Tale)
The homeless almost constantly lined the streets of New York City, so for Courtney, it wasn’t an unusual site to see an old woman in tattered clothes begging for money on the corner of the street.
“Can you please spare me some money?” the woman pleaded as Courtney walked by. She stopped for a minute in front of the woman. She looked at plastic up in front of her which only held a few coins. She knew the people of New York were greedy, pushing the homeless aside often. Because of this she always liked to give a couple of dollars here and there to people she passed on the street.
While bending down to place a five dollar bill in the plastic cup in front of her, the woman reached out and grabbed hold of her hands.
“Thank you so much for you kindness,” the woman told her looking straight into her eyes. “I wish to return the favor. Tell me, what is your biggest desire?”
“Well,” Courtney began while still staring into the eyes of the woman, unsure of what to think. “I want to make it into Julliard. I auditioned last week, but I don’t have the minimum standard grades and turned in my paperwork late, so I’m afraid my audition was valid.”
The woman smiled back at her with a toothless grin. “What a wonderful wish.” The woman, still clasping onto Courtney’s hands, closed her eyes for a brief moment, almost as if casting a blessing over her. A few moments later, she released her hands and the five dollar bill fell down into the woman’s lap. The woman picked up the bill while still smiling at Courtney.
“You are a very talented girl; you shall have a successful future.” Courtney smiled back at her, unsure of what else to do as she continued her way down the street.
When she was a block away she heard her phone ring. She pulled it out of her purse while quickly answering the call.
“Is this Courtney Miller?” the voice asked.
“Yes it is,”
“My name is Emma Long from the Julliard School of Dance. I am pleased to inform you that we have accepted you into our program for the upcoming year.”
Courtney stopped in her tracks and brought a hand up to her mouth as she muffled a silent scream. People pushed her aside while glancing her way, but Courtney didn’t care.
“Thank you so much!” While still holding the phone to her ear, she ran down the street, wanting to tell the old woman about the good news. However, when she reached the spot where she had met her, she was no longer there, not a trace of her presence left behind.

~ K.M.D.

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