Larissa Pahomov, English Teacher
My capstone is a collection of short stories about teenagers dealing with life.
For my capstone, I used inspiration from myself and others in order to create stories with one sole purpose. I wanted each one to show that no matter how hopeless someone's situation may seem, they should never lose hope in themselves or others. I took the most basic themes from the stories I had heard and my own, then applied them to my own stories. I have learned that even though people’s stories are unique from one another, they tend to always have something in common. My goal for this is to create stories that would not only entertain the people that read them, but that also stayed with them, and I believe I did just that.
The link to my capstone is here.
Below is an excerpt from my first chapter of my collection of short stories.
Today feels no different from any other day. Why would it? You have no reason to believe otherwise. You just think it is going to be another pointlessly dull day. Your alarm has just yanked you from a dreadful dream. Why was it dreadful? You can no longer recall, but you are sure you will have the same dream tonight, just to forget it the following morning. All you know is that you just want to go back into a deep slumber. Despite your desire to go back to sleep, with much effort, you pull yourself out of bed.
You look around your room in search for something different. Anything would suffice really. You just want something different to happen this morning. Maybe an owl carrying a letter addressed to you. You think about how epic that would be. To your disappointment, nothing happens. It’s just another dull morning. You get out of your bed without making it neat and presentable. Why bother? You're just going to get back in it later. You then head downstairs towards the kitchen.
Once in the kitchen, you look at your wide variety of food to eat. You have four boxes of Pop Tarts, each flavor you are either sick of eating or was never good in the first place. The same can be said about your choices in cereal and Hot Pockets.You stop trying to look. The previous day you went into your step-dad’s wallet and took twenty bucks. Not just because you could though. You're not a bad person. You just feel he does not deserve it. He has a job that pays well enough, but he leaves the cooking and most of the shopping to your mom. So why not? He can be useful for once. While in the kitchen, you decide to go to the stand on the way to school. You wasted so much energy coming downstairs for nothing. You walk upstairs sort of pissed and go into the bathroom.
After you wash up and put on clean clothes you are just about ready to leave. You head for the fridge and make lunch. You then pick up the first alcoholic thing you find and fix it with any normal non-alcoholic drink. You do this every so often to take the edge off of life. It is the only thing that helps lately. You then put the juice away with your lunch and gather all your things. You check for the usual things like your keys or phone. You feel for the money in your pocket, then head for your door. Before opening it, you say goodbye to whoever is in the house. You don’t hear anything, which either means they’re still sleeping, or just ignoring you, which you have somewhat gotten use to. You open the door and leave in a rush, since you don’t want to miss the bus.
You have a long bus ride ahead of you, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. For a while you just sit there thinking about the things in your life. You try to think about the good things in life, but recently there has not been much good going on. You hate thinking about it so you just try going to sleep. Even though it is a dreadfully terrible idea to sleep on public transportation, you know how to position your belongings so they do not get taken. You fall asleep. At least that was the plan. You just cannot stop thinking about the troubles in your life. It irritates you to limits unknown. You take out your lunch box and drink some of the juice you put inside. For you, some is a big chug. What’s the harm? It helps you think. You then pull out one of your favorite books to lose yourself in.
You love this book to death. You wouldn’t care if everyone else hated it. You like just about any book. You do have standards after all. Reading is your passion and it is one of the few things that you enjoy anymore.For a moment you observe the condition of the book. You wish it looked as new as when you first got it. Sadly, it is worn out after so many uses. This makes you feel some sort of way but the condition is not as important as the content. You begin reading. You become lost in the story and you enjoy it. You love books because you can be someone different. You become someone who is needed by others. You love feeling this sense of purpose in life. You wish you were in that world. You wouldn’t even mind that you are stuck in the book with your future and past set in stone. If you were in the book, people would care about what happens to you. They want to know who you are, the things you accomplish and what you stand for.
You don’t want to leave. Despite that, you get that dreadful feeling you are only a few blocks from school. Reluctantly you close your book, put it away and pull the string for the bus to let you off at the next stop.
Below are my annotative bibliography
1) Asher, Jay. Th1rteen R3asons Why: A Novel. New York: Razorbill, 2010. Print.
I chose this source because when I originally read it, I found it to be a powerful, meaningful, creative and thought provoking piece of literature. That is the type of writing I am aiming for in my short stories. I also chose this source because it is based around the issues that troubled a certain teen who is the driving force throughout the entirety of the book, despite the fact that she had died before the story even began. I hope that by reading this book, my writings for my capstone will be improved, to the point where people would even compare it to this great piece of work.
2) "Anxiety Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention."WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
To write my book I do actually need information about what I am writing. In my story, many of my characters suffer from a form of anxiety. I was not sure what disorders were classified as anxiety, so I wanted to clarify that issue. I also wanted to know the major symptoms of anxiety in general and to have an experts view on how to improve one’s anxiety. I hope that this research will enhance my writings about what most people go through when they have a type of anxiety. Even with those characters that do not have anxiety, I can give them a slight element of it.
3) "Types of Depression: Major, Chronic, Manic, and More Types." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.
To write my book I do actually need information about what I am writing. In my story, a few of my characters suffer from major or chronic depression. Even though I had a good idea of what depression was, this source laid it out for me step by step and made it easier for me to write about it. It was also interesting to know the signs that people need to look out for if someone is suffering from depression and how you can help those who suffer from it. This writing has improved my writing about this type of topic.
4) Ambardar, M.D. Sheenie. "10 Ways to Improve Depression and Anxiety without Meds."The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 May 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
Scene I had already had a source that told me all I needed to know about depression and anxiety, it did not make sense to find anymore sources that were defining what they were, since half of this book will be my interpretation of what someone would go through in certain situation. For that reason I chose this source to show me more “natural” ways for those who suffer from anxiety or depression to help make their situations more bearable. I believe that medication is not the only way to solve problems. Even if my character do not use this method, I can still bring it up in my writings.
5) Stossel, Scott. "Surviving Anxiety." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 22 Dec. 2013. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.
I have a lot of information on the topic of anxiety from experts which is enough for me to write good pieces of work, but I also needed to hear about anxiety from a “person.” Someone who lives with it everyday and had the strength to write about it and post it online. That is why this is one of my sources. It is best to get your information straight from the source.
6) "Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Fact Sheet." : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
I sought out this source for the sake of one of my stories that did not necessarily focus on the psyche of the teenagers in the story. It mainly focused on the physical condition of the main characters and how they deal with the cards they are dealt. One of the characters are based off of one of my peers and to write a good story I need to research the injury that they had sustained. I found this source to be extremely helpful because my peer verified that what was on it was accurate. Hopefully I can use this source to its full potential.
7) Perks of Being a Wallflower. Dir. Stephen Chbosky. Perf. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. Mr. Mudd, 2012. DVD.
Perks of Being a Wallflower is a perfect source for my book. It covered all the things that I plan on covering and more. It talked anxiety, depression, being singled out, bullying, relationships and other deep topics. There is also a book which would also be a good resource, but I wanted something more visual to look at for my storytelling. I wanted this because I wanted to be able to see these characters look as things fall apart around them, and when new doors open for them. If I could just see how these things happen, I could write about them more descriptively.
8) "Coronary Artery Disease-Surgery." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
I sought out this source for the sake of one of my stories that did not necessarily focus on the psyche of the teenagers in the story. It mainly focused on the physical condition of the main characters and how they deal with the cards they are dealt. One of my characters has a heart disease, and this specific one is one of the most deadly ones. I wanted to make sure I accurately portrayed how this person would act and what trials they would need to go through. Even if I do not use the actual surgery in my story, I can still have this as a refernce.
9) "Coronary Artery Bypass Graft ." Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Coronary-artery-bypass/Pages/Introduction.aspx>.
I sought out this source for the sake of one of my stories that did not necessarily focus on the psyche of the teenagers in the story. It mainly focused on the physical condition of the main characters and how they deal with the cards they are dealt. One of my characters has a heart disease, and this specific one is one of the most deadly ones. This source explained the treatment needed for this disease if it got more severe. Even if I don’t bring this disease up by name, I still have a reference to what it is like to live with it.
10) Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game. New York: Tor, 1991. Print.
I found this to be one of the most important books I read in preparation for my capstone This was the sort of reading I need to inspire my future writings. I found ender’s game to be very thought provoking and well written. Despite it being a different genre from what I plan on writing, it is that element that I want in my stories, thought provoking and well written. Hopefully I can use what I learned from this book to enhance my own stories. I also think it is good to read a genre different from what you are writing. It enhances how you envision a situation in your stories.