Essay #1—2 paragraph (moment from life)—Add three sentences to P-1; P-2 must be 5 sents. min.
Essay#2—3 paragraph random—Add two sentences of description to each paragraph; 5 sents. min per paragraph.;
This essay is about how sometimes you…4 sents.min.
Essay#3—3 paragraph (moment from life); Add three sents. to P-1; P-2 and P-3 must be five sents. each.
Essay#4—List style; Correct punctuation, capitalization; Strengthen word choice, making 8 changes min. bolded.
Essay #5—and #6—Sonnet styles---make any necessary changes so that each sonnet makes the best sense.
Essay#7—Creative Non-Fiction/conversation from weekend; 13 paragraphs—include picture/image
EACH ESSAY MUST HAVE TITLE USING A KEY PHRASE FROM THE WRITING
#1 RUNNING IS THE DREAM
I said to this guy at the track meet at the UW that my son had been running since he was five. People are always
talking to my son about running. I guess it’s a conversation starter. Some people ask if he runs with a coach.
Some ask if he’s on a team. Some want to know how old he is and how fast his times are. I don’t like to get into
it, or advertise it too much. It’s a private matter, a personal matter—it’s about my relationship with my son, the
sacred journey we are taking together.
When this guy asked and I told him about my son, I thought that I shouldn’t have told him that. I don’t know it
made it seem like I was bragging, or that I was super into the fact of my son running. I don’t like that, because I
don’t want to come off as some kind of obsessive parent, trying to mold his kid into a champion. This guy was
talking about his son and how his son didn’t start running until ninth grade, and now he had a full-ride
scholarship to BYU (even though he wasn’t Mormon). He was saying that this proved to him that you didn’t
have to start running at an early age in order to be good. I wanted to say to him, even though I had told him my
son had been running since he was five, that my son was running for the joy of it, for the power in it. Sure, my
son has goals, but the reason for running doesn’t really have much to do with the glory and the college
scholarships. It’s about tapping in to the life force. In a way, going to these meets can give you a false idea that
it’s about the glory. It’s funny because at some level I realize that I want my son to be a champion so I can share
this knowledge about what it truly means with others.
My son may have been running since he was five, but not for the reasons that this guy was talking about.
#2 Raw punk can deliver the masses from a powerless stupor to a stupendous power. It doesn’t take anything
more than a guitar, a voice, and some unbridled emotion. It helps to read the newspaper, and maybe even have
some soul-crushing job, say working in a paint victory, breathing toxics all day long, or stacking boxes of
computer parts for some multinational conglomerate locked into a competition for a majority of the market
share with an upstart from Bellingham. Raw punk, yes. Hammering guitars in attics, garages, and smoky nigh
clubs. Three guitar players, and mad-man on drums. Lyrics bellowed out like exhaust from a constipated billy
goat. It hurts to listen to this kind of music. It hurts to make it. It hurts to break it.
She’s their lead singer and she picks fruit for a living. She wants you to know it’s not her career. Nothing is.
That’s what makes her pure punk. She has no ambition. No hope. No future. Just right now, That’s all she has.
What does kill her though is the day after day, bending over to harvest what grows, There’s not only the
pressure on the knees, but also the pressure in the mind to gather a minimum amount. It must be made
worthwhile. The suffering, to put it crudely, must bring her cold, hard cash. It’s what she needs to survive, to
make it to what’s next. She has no idea what’s next.
The big moment will come soon enough. When it does, she swears she’ll be ready. Being tired and exhausted
doesn’t stop her from improving her mind. At night, she reads the classics. She studies philosophy, science,
psychology. She puts herself through longer periods of meditation. She’s building her strength. She feels it. She’s
increasing her knowledge. She’s becoming confident. She thinks that someday she’ll have a future, and she’ll be
able to lead her own path. She might be able to be her own guide. She’s even wondering if she can walk away
now. Maybe she doesn’t need this soul-crushing job. She doesn’t have to live under a shroud of fear. She can tap
into her own power, her own stupendous power.
THIS ESSAY IS ABOUT HOW SOMETIMES you have to overcome struggles. You can’t just sit and wait for things to
get better. You have to work on yourself. You have to work to improve your mind and body. You have to
develop your strength of character. You have to build your knowledge and your focus. You have to become
more calm and more deep. You have to have an open mind, and really take control of your life. That is the key.
#3 MAKING IT HAPPEN
P-1: I read an article about a Bellingham woman who had cancer and started her own business, making these
gluten free crackers. Her friend said she’d overcome cancer by never giving up, and always pushing herself to
have a positive attitude that she could do it, using that attitude to help others who were also getting radiation
P-2: Maybe attitude really is the key to a successful life, to reaching your potential as a human being. Maybe if
we focus on attitude then that kind of frees us up to actually live life. All that we need to really worry about is
having a ‘can-do’ spirit. That then motivates you to actually doing stuff, and taking care of yourself. That woman
decided she really wanted to live, so she changed her habits of eating, and her habits of exercise. She decided to
focus on becoming healthy, and she came to realize that health started with her attitude. It sounds similar to
what we learned in class about the brain, and how all the brain research is showing how the attitude of the
mind affects the health of the body. It also said the health of the body affects the quality of the mind. It makes
me want to really take care of myself. I want to pay more attention to what I eat and what I do. I want to see
how far I can take these ideas and see wha happens.
P-3: There is so much to learn about life. I am realizing that more and more each day, how mysterious it all is. I
am also realizing that I really want to tap into the mystery. Practically everything I’ve been reading and hearing
about lately has been about how precious life is, and how you never know what’s going to happen, and how
sacred it is. It just reinforces my desire to not waste my life, to take each moment of each day and use it to the
fullest. To do that I realize I need to push myself to make that happen. It won’t just happen because I might
want it to happen.
#4 WHOEVER SAID OTHERWISE IS LIVING ON AN ISLAND
Driving home with my son
He puts on that same song,
I ask him about running
We’d planned on running
At Padden, now the plans
And I wished we had ridden our bikes
It makes me feel good to
Be pedaling especially when
The sun is out.
My wife asks me if I got
The e-mail about
Our daughter’s schedule;
Yes, that’s great…and did
She thank you for that work
You did to help her figure
That out, to save
Her from five months in the library
Feeling left out, marginalized,
Ostracized, anorexic; packed with self-loathing
Sometimes people need help.
I shouldn’t expect a thank you,
Right? Should do it
For the sake of doing it,
Should welcome the opportunity
To do something;
As I tell my son,
The person who does the work
Gets the benefit.
I got to figure out another way
To be honest and real,
And do the right thing.
Isn’t that what we’re here for,
Isn’t that how we need to go
About doing what we do?
My wife says that later,
Our daughter will acknowledge.
She’s too busy right now.
Got it, I say.
And I should be grateful,
Because her unhappiness
Would have a ripple effect
Upon each of us.
We’re all connected, and whoever
Said otherwise is living on an island.
I must remember this one,
Except I forget things,
Like did you get the dish soap,
My wife asks me when I return from
The store. Oh, god, how could I?
There were only two things on
The list—dish soap---And cheese for lasagna.
Instead I got three bottles of kombucha,
A turkey sandwich And a bag of apples.
#5 A SONNET FOR THE LOVE OF CONSUMERISM
I Shall kids keep spending more and more of their own money
You know it will never stop until it’s gone.
We are harming the planet, and that’s not funny.
And with that, there could be a darkened dawn.
II. Then can we abstain from all those ads we see each year?
By chance we’ll spend more time with the natural world.
And often that experience will reduce our fear.
And every subsequent journey into the wild will encourage our heart to be unfurled.
III. Thy very important though to be thought of as cool.
And you shall advertise it through your wearing of the brand
The key is to show others you’re not a fool.
Which can come at the expense of preserving the land
IV. But so long as we continue to be plugged in.
All of what’s sacred and innocent will end up in the garbage bin.
#6 A SONNET FOR THE LOVE OF MY SON
I. When you’re running around a track, it’s like angels singing.
We are taking this journey together, each taking turns to lead.
You enlighten others with the force of your will, causing their own alarms to start ringing.
And with that you’re planting motivation as if it’s a harvestable seed.
II. Your goals expand and deepen with time.
For precious are the gifts you wish to grow.
And often you realize there is a bigger mountain to climb.
And every moment, a chance to tap into the flow.
III. Thy championships is a part, but not without the quiet forest path.
Nor one without the other, for this road isn’t just about the glory.
The runs we do make it clear and simple to do this math.
Which you can see shows we’re part of a sacred story.
IV. So long as we share this golden vision
Giving our all is the key to every decision.
Sometimes you go and do one thing without a thought in your mind. It’s probably better that way, now
that I think about it. You have no expectations, so you are more open to what happens. You’re not
worried about this or that happening, and whether or not it’s supposed to be fun, or not. A whole new
thing will happen that will completely open up your mind. It reminds you of how connected we are to
others. We need them to strike a match and see the light. The light of awareness, the light of
knowledge, the light of joy and compassion, and possibility. All of it gets illuminated.
I was at the YMCA recently, finishing up a stealthy workout on the treadmill, sweating profusely, gutting
out four-miles on the heels of a nasty sickness, that had me bed-ridden for nearly two days. Standing by
a pillar alongside a stairmaster, I noticed the presence of yet another person connected to my teaching
career. The town I live in is small, so it is more common than not for me to bump into someone I know.
It’s mostly a beautiful thing, except when my social graces seemed to have taken hiatus, and I’m
devolving backwards through my own private Idaho. This day I wasn’t sure what sort of country or
landscape I was inhabiting, I’ve learned to use my wife’s advice as a default drive during any sort of
uncertain moment. In this case, the words echoing through my craggy brain were, “You’ve got to put
yourself out there, and just say something. That’s how conversations start.” And so I did to this woman
whose two kids were both my students during my early years teaching in Bellingham. Not just any old
students, but students of the most interesting kind—as both later attended a year of high school at
school inspired by the teachings of renowned philosopher J. Krishnamurti. They then traveled
throughout Europe. The last I heard of the oldest was that she was attending the University of
“Hey Kim, how are you? What’s the news with Kailyn these days?”
“It’s actually been quite incredible,” she said. “She absolutely loves her program in International
Relations. She’s working really hard. And she’s graduating in June!”
Wow! It was life-affirming to see that her daughter was happy. I know she’d struggled moving to the big
school in Seattle, and trying to figure what she would study. It reminded me of my daughter, who had
Kailyn as a middle school buddy, when she was in kindergarten. Lately, my daughter has expressed an
interest in going to the U of W, against my wife’s wishes. That a person as sensitive and deep as Kailyn
could find some satisfaction and happiness there was proof positive to me that it could be found at a big
“What kind of work is Kailyn hoping to get into?” I asked. “She can do so many things. She’s so smart.”
She replied, “Kailyn wants to work with land rights and issues,. Let me see if I understand it correctly. It’s
hard to explain. Basically she feels that the U.S. government has not sufficiently respected the rights of
native people, especially in other countries where corporations have established themselves.”
We talked about American companies taking over in other countries. I told her about this book I’d read
called “Savages.” In it, the author went to Peru and Ecuador and spent a year with the native Indians,.
He witnessed how Shell Oil company destroyed the rainforest and polluted the rivers and lands as they
built oil wells and pipelines through their homeland. Thousands were displaced from their ancestral
home. They were then forced to take jobs with the company to survive and for the first time had to deal
with money and buying food—packaged food. That led to all kinds of diseases as well as alcoholism.
“I have to tell you,” she said. “You have really made a difference in a lot of kids lives. I’m part of a book
group and several parents in the group had kids who had you for a teacher. You have been an
important influence. Your name just kept coming up.”
“That’s humbling,” I said. “The older I get, the harder this job seems to get. You’re very kind to pass on
these words. I will keep them in my heart. They will sustain me. At least I hope so. I need that—for some
reason. I know I probably shouldn’t need it—if I was more enlightened. Alas, I don’t think I’ll ever
become that wise or deep. Speaking of wise and deep, how is your son James doing. He’s a real thinker.”
“Thank you for asking,” she said. “James is also doing really well. He’s traveling through Europe right
now. Although he might come home soon. He’s been in Germany. He reads a lot. I’ve been giving him
books, like Herman Hesse.”
I loved Hesse during my early 20’s. His books were really impactful. They told me there was a deeper
level to life, which is something I’d thought, but hadn’t the confidence to express. When I’d read the
Hesse books, it let me know I wasn’t alone. I told Kim about another book I’d read during that time
period, and that for some reason, I’d been thinking a lot about it lately. The book is called “Das Energi.”
That she’d told me about Hesse and it rekindled that I had been thinking of that other book made me
think that it was meant to be for its title to be passed on. Maybe that’s how it is with expectations.
When nothing is in your mind about a certain occurrence, well then something that was in your mind
can be revealed.