Criminal Luck, Novel

Criminal Luck is a young adult dystopian novel set in a near future world where an out-of-hand protest for wage equality turns children into orphans. These children grow up without parents and desperate for a better life. James Riese is one of these children, and when he steals a lottery ticket with his best friend Hannah, he inevitably ends up in juvie. With the ticket in his pocket and Hannah in a cell close by, James has to decide between friendship or saving himself.

"There is a little voice in the back of my head telling me to get up, to run, that this is my chance while they are distracted, but I can't see, so I crawl with my head bowed and eyes buring. I know this escape is futile, but I can't just sit calmly while they chain me up. I can't go to juvie. If I go there, people might see me cry or beg, with snot running down my nose, on my knees, my eyes red and body quivering - I don't want to be that guy. I'd rather go quick and juvie isn't generally the place for that. Too much time to think about dying before you do." - James Riese, Criminal Luck

Stitching Narratives, Personal Essay

To understand why I argued with my mother, I looked at her past and how our different upbringings - her moved around often and given little, me given excess - led to our different world persectives.

"I don't know what her house looks like. I don't think I have ever been there, although maybe she grew up in that house where her father handed me a card for Christmas with my name spelled wrong, with models of old cars in bright red sat idle on top of the fireplace mantel. We hardly associate with my mother's family (because she was never very close to them, so why would we be?), but we went there near Christmas once to exchange presents. Or maybe it wasn't Christmas, I don't remember. What I do remember is sitting on the couch looking at those toy cars and trying to not watch South Park on the television because I was too young to watch South Park (as my mother said), then I became so bored with no kids to play with that I gave into the television. When someone caught me watching it, they turned off the television and so I listened in on conversations with names of people I didn't know, people I probably should have known. But maybe this story isn't from that house. My mother lived in many⁠—in Indiana and Texas and California, with her mother, her father, and her grandmother. I don't imagine that house when I think of this story. I imagine a small kitchen that's dark. The light only comes from under the cabinets, bright and yellow, and when someone walks in front of the light, deep shadows crawl across the walls."

The Homeostasis of Cohabitation, Short Story

A failed college professor is hired at a high school run by aliens who study human learning.

"A blue tendril poked out from behind his ear, like a snake searching for a branch to settle on. Portillo reached out her hand and the tendril curled around her finger. She helped pull the tendril from Leblanc’s neck, him cringing in both pleasure and pain. It didn’t appear particularly large in her hand, curled up like the DNA in a nucleus, but having seen it come out of Leblanc, I scooted my chair back a foot, almost against the wall, and angled it towards the door so I could leap away if that thing reached for me."

To The Moon and Back, Short Story

Brad's mother disappears. Following in her footsteps as an astronomer, he looks to the stars to find her.

"I grabbed myself some Oreos and spilled the milk while pouring a glass. When I finished, I swirled the half full cup to send the little black dots of Oreo swirling around the glass like the reverse image of stars in space. I left the cup and spilled milk on the counter and crawled into bed without brushing my teeth or changing my clothes. She'd be back in the morning to wake me up for school like she always was."

When Women Weep: An Alternative Heroine to the Strong Female Lead, Academic Article

Women are disatisfied with female characters in media - the Mary Sue, and the badass strong female lead, who is just the traits praised in a man in a body men want to see naked, as Brit Marling said. I'm disatisfied too, so I looked through past stories for strong women who used emotion to heal.

"While at a simple glance, Trinity might be considered an early iteration of the 21st century strong female lead, I couldn't help but be drawn back to one particular scene in The Matrix, one where emotion, and crying at that - considered to be feminine and absent in both male characters and strong female leads - is used to heal."