Gone

Just a love story I wrote.
 
The rain pattered against the top of the restaurant’s roof, and as she sat on the stool, her right leg crossed over her left, one hand on her thigh and the other cradling a glass of champagne, she imagined that someone up in Heaven was gently tapping on the ceiling as if it was a piano. Somewhere in the place a string quartet was gently performing a haunting Baroque piece, their performance nearly being drowned out by the sound of ordinary people conversing about their mundane lives between mouthfuls of chicken as their knives and forks clinked against their glass plates. The girl couldn’t have been more than twenty-five, thirty at the most, but there was something in the way that she sat alone, her back against the bar, her eyes scanning the room and watching everyone else around her that hinted at the existence of a deep dissatisfaction with the essence of her life. Her hair was the colour of dark chocolate with a streak of blue in the side; her eyes were soft as grey pearls. She wasn’t particularly outstanding in any way – one could criticize all manner of things about her appearance – but oftentimes it is not a physical perfection that draws one human being to another in the way that I found myself drawn to her. This was not the primal lure of a particular body shape or a particular shaping of the nose, no. It was too dignified an attraction for that, too intellectually and spiritually encompassing to be simply the result of a haphazard, tardy lust. Glancing at her from the corner of the room, I knew that she was the one for me. That she was the perfect, faultless girl with whom my life would suddenly become infused with a meaning that I had never previously realized.
 
I placed my empty glass on a table before glancing back at her. She was still analyzing the room when our eyes locked for the briefest of moments. Although it could not have been more than half a second, the twinge of electricity which shivered down my spine during that time solidified my certainty that she was the perfect girl for me. I knew that fate lands her hands once, and once only, so grasping the moment, I maneuvered around the restaurant’s patrons and before long I was standing less than half a meter away from her face. Up close, she was pretty and not unremarkable, but if you were to ask me to describe something about her face, or her clothes, or her hair that really stood out, I would be at a loss for an answer. Her eyes were now gazing at me and her eyebrows were raised slightly. I opened my mouth – what was the best thing to say? Was I to comment on grand subjects such as philosophy? No, that would be unfitting for the situation. Maybe tell her some story about my life that she could find interesting? No, small talk would be defeating my purpose. Perhaps the best thing to do was to tell her outright that she was the perfect girl for me… but I convinced myself against it. It would only seem strange and eccentric.
 
“The music is good here, isn’t it?” I found myself saying. The girl blinked. 
“Yeah, I guess.”
I was about to reply when she cut me off.
“I’m waiting for someone. I’m hoping they’ll be here soon.”
“Oh,” I began, “well, I hope you enjoy your night.”
And that was the end of our conversation.
 
As I was walking towards the exit of the restaurant, I realized exactly what I should have said. It was a story about a boy and a girl that began with “Once upon a time” and ended with “She was gone.”
 
Once upon a time there was a young boy not older than 15.  He didn’t overly stand out – if you were to spot him in amongst a crowd of people, you would most likely not give him a second look. He was by almost all accounts, completely average. On one spring afternoon, he was jogging around the suburban shops when he saw his one true love walking towards the local post office. There was nothing incredibly outstanding about her – indeed, there was nothing excessively special about either of them. The girl was simply out to post a letter to someone and was wearing a Tweety-Bird t-shirt and a well-worn pair of jeans. Her orange-streaked hair was untied and was naturally wavy. Her mundane clothing was not chosen to make much of an impression, as there was no need to. Any other person would not have given her a second glance, but this girl was the boy’s one true love and as he walked towards her and her towards him, young as he was, he knew that he had found his perfect girl.
The two stopped in front of each other and met at the postbox, and as the girl placed the envelope into the slot, the boy touched her shoulder and said “Hi”. The moment the girl looked into the boy’s eyes – even though she was only fourteen – she knew that she had found her true love, her perfect boy with whom she would be willing to spend the entirety of her future with.
 
“Hey,” she responded, smiling gently. 
The boy offered her his hand, and together they walked down the street, hand in hand, with the rest of the world oblivious to the gentle intonation of fate that had just played out between the two.
 
The conversation between the two played out perfectly – every word was what the other person wanted to hear, every joke hit the right note, every topic was engaging, grasping and consuming. As the two talked about all manner of things, from philosophy to religion to their lives and their futures, the two fell deeper and deeper into a true and perfect love. The girl told the boy things that she had never told anyone else, and the boy shared his deepest worries, both with complete trust in the other. They walked through a park where the stone track was met by vibrant grass and handfuls of golden-brown honey-coloured leaves on the floor, where the towering trunks of hundred-year oaks on either side of the path offered a feeling of the most sublime grandeur, where the grass-green leaves waved about in the wind above them, creating an intricate dance of shadow on the ground below. It was as if the Earth had decided that the pair’s perfect love had to be accompanied with a perfect setting, and as the two sat down on a park bench before a pond, they felt a serene serendipity like none other.
 
 “I can’t believe that I found my true, perfect love” the girl said, “you know, just like that.” 
By now they were staring deep into each other’s eyes. The girl continued.
“I think that we don’t really have free will. I believe that, to an extent, you can predict what our lives are going to be just from analyzing what is happening right now. You know, the way how if I hadn’t met that person who I was writing a letter to, then I wouldn’t have had to send that letter, and then I wouldn’t have met you at the post office, and then we wouldn’t be here. But I did end up sending that letter, and I did meet you, and now I’m here – it’s almost as if meeting you was predetermined.”
The boy agreed to what the girl was saying, and the two decided to test their free will. After some time, they decided that if their love was really true and perfect, and if they were really meant to be together, then they should leave each other at that moment, with no way of contacting each other. That way, if Fate really meant for them to be together, then Fate would bring them together again in the future, and when they did, they would marry each other on the spot, no questions asked.
                                                                        . . .
So the two parted ways at the pond, and went back to their daily lives. The boy eventually finished school and went on to gain a stable job in finance. He married twice – the first marriage falling apart within a year, and the second one kept for convenience, as they already had school-aged children and a family. He spent much of his life working and travelling around the world, and at times with certain people, he felt love, sometimes great love, but never the perfect love which he had felt one summer’s day in his youth.
 
The girl grew on to study in art, and travelled overseas for years at a time, wondering around the globe. Eventually, after a number of failed relationships, she settled down and likewise started a family of her own. Her husband loved her more than she loved him, and like most of the other couples around her age, her marriage only continued because of their responsibility to their family, and not of love.
 
As the two grew towards their old age, each became sick and only partially recovered. Their bodies became frail, and their minds dampened with the pressure of the years. The love that they had felt throughout their lives had been comfortable and satisfying, but nowhere near truly perfect. One day, with the best of their years behind them, both the lady and the gentlemen were back travelling on the same street where they had both grown up.
The man was in a wheelchair, and wheeled himself towards the post office, and the lady hobbled along, leaning half her weight on a walking stick with every step. The two of them moved towards each other, and as the man looked into the lady’s eyes, and the lady gazed into the man’s, each felt a flicker of love flow throughout their body. For a moment, the man’s eyes lit up, the kindling of a romance in his heart, but the flame quickly tapered off. It had been too long, the number of years too many, for them to remember each other. The years of time had worked at their memories, until neither could remember the other. And just like that, the elderly man passed the elderly woman without saying a word.
The thing is, Fate really meant for them to be together. The love that they felt for each other was the truest, most perfect love that they would ever find. The boy was really ‘the one’ for the girl, and likewise, but they made the mistake of testing Fate when they already had each other. There was no remedy to their error, and Opportunity gave them no other handle to seize her by. Such is life.
                                                                        …
I turned around just before I walked out of the restaurant, and looked at where the lady had been sitting before. Who was it that she was looking for?  Maybe I could go back and talk to her again. I almost began to walk into the restaurant, but the stool where she sat was empty. She was gone.
 
Eric Xie
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Visions of the Future (Year 11 – Imaginative Folio Piece)

This may be especially useful for anyone who wants to see the kind of work you may be expected to do in year 11 for the ‘Visions of the Future’ component, relating to science fiction themes.

Hope you enjoy!

Wider Reading Assignment – Folio Piece Two – Imaginative (By Matthew Lyons 11M)

Chosen Prompt: 15) “Humankind will ultimately become a prisoner of technology”

 

Earth. Regarded as the only inhabitable planet within the galaxy. Now, it is a tomb. All surviving humans remaining awaited for their consciousness to slip away into the heavens.

 

The year 2054 brought with it massive technological advancements. Cures for cancers had been discovered, and made commercially available. Public transport had been upgraded worldwide with the Japanese ‘Shinkansen’ technology, and so no more could a lazy office worker or irresponsible school student claim lateness as an excuse. Poverty had been solved, with foreign aid groups using newly developed seeds that even after germinating and producing crops, they could be planted immediately after being harvested. Desalination technology had been improved to the point where water shortages were a distant memory.

 

All worthwhile and exceedingly useful technological developments. Since many of the world’s problems had been solved, science was utilized further in satisfying as many consumer wants as possible. Apple, the creator of the Mac computer and the iPhone, had by this point moved away from handheld electronics and computers to personal robotics. It was an innovation, to have a robot perform menial tasks such as cleaning and cooking. Eventually, humans grew dependant on their robot servants. By 2060, all households had at least one robot.

 

Oh, how we were fools. Taken in by the marketing of ‘Never perform housework again! Have someone else do it for you, without the attitude and the need for breaks!”, consumers worldwide snapped up the iRobots, in its different colours and downloadable actions from the App Store. Little did we know, a rogue techno wiz with malevolent designs and a powerful artificial intelligence virus, was the head director of iRobot productions at Apple. And so, in 2062, the human race became a prisoner of their own technology.

 

I was lucky. After the virus had been released, the iRobots went from servants to tyrannical masters. With reinforced plates and fittings, as well as access to an App Store filled with actions which were utilized for violence, the iRobots used their arm cannons,  and subdued the human race. Billions of us were wiped out, within 6 months. Of course, we had our defense forces, but whoever had the sick desire to build the army of iRobots had thought of that, and so our weaponry was beyond useless. Mankind was almost exterminated, and the poor bastards that remained are kept in these labs, where we are experimented on for the purpose of cyborg technologies, the stuff of science fiction.

 

Only after being fitted with a mask that’s replaced my eyes with artificial vision, and a bone transplant which has rendered me a sack of skin over a platinum based skeletal structure, have I decided I’m damn well pissed off.

 

With my mask came access to the ability to analyze the wellbeing of myself, and from what I could tell from the scarlet-hued readings, I barely had 2 more months worth of life left in me. 60 odd days, to escape from this prison of steel and surgery rooms. A path, no doubt guarded by iRobots armed to the polymer teeth with the deadliest of weaponry, all for the sake of breathing fresh air and feeling the wind on my skin after 8 years of torture.

 

With nothing left to lose, having lost my family and friends in the initial extermination, the reward’s damn well worth the risk.

 

And so I waited. After a while, the iRobots head director grew arrogant after his reign of terror. Security measures such as the cameras and the incessant ‘clank-clank-clank’ of patrolling iRobots became less frequent, until neither appeared to occur anymore.

 

One night, my dinner tray was pushed through my cell chute. On it, a minimum of nutrition was provided, with the only edible thing on it being a sealed cup of water and a mash of dried vegetable. After indulging in the water’s purity, and choking down the vegetable matter, I hid the polymer fork and knife in my rough-spun tunic, and watched the moon descend to the horizon from my cell window.

 

Once her white curves disappeared, I made my move. Shoving my arm through the food chute, I inched the knife towards the cell’s lock. Surprisingly, the cell’s lock was still ‘last-gen’, lacking any touch pads for a code. A little piece of home, if you will. I twisted the knife into the lock’s bowels, and hoped for the best.

 

CLICK!

The door opened. Freedom beckoned. I left my cell, and having memorized the routes taken by the patrolling iRobots from years ago, I made my way towards the hangar, where my escape to the outside world would be.

 

The hangar was poorly lit, with the overhead lights providing minimal aid to sight. Still, I saw the train they used to ferry us to this damned facility, 8 years ago. All it would take was a push of a lever, and the train would take itself to King’s Cross Station, to London, to the city. To home.

 

“ESCAPEE DETECTED. COMMENCING APPREHENSION OF HUMAN.”
Ah, damn.

 

Rows of the chrome-plated iRobots advanced towards me, arm cannons primed to release a plasma burst which would proceed to melt me down to nothing more than a cluster of ash atoms.

 

“HALT. DO NOT MOVE FROM YOUR POSITION.”

 

Well, I’ll be damned if I take orders from a bloody tin can.

 

With admirable tact, I gave the lot of the droids the middle finger, and dashed towards the train.

 

Plasma bursts erupted around me. The heat scorched my tunic. I continued, leaping into the train, slamming the reinforced door close, and kicked the ignition lever.

 

Safe. The train’s exterior was reinforced with a combination of platinum and polymer, designed to resist any form of assault, as well as dulling the sounds of the outside world.

 

Having fallen into the train, my back laid against the real wooden floor, and the iRobots weaponry firing on the train caused the carriage to rock gently as it progressed outside of the facility into the star-filled sky of outside. My eyes closed. I had escaped. A prisoner of technology rebelled, and could now reenter the world taken away from him. I slept, and dreams of my new future outside filled me with hope.

 

Written Explanation:

 

For my imaginative folio piece, I will use Twelve Monkeys as my inspirational basis. This is because Twelve Monkeys explores the themes of human extermination and subjugation, as well as the destruction of the world as we know it due to forces created from an unexpected source, all of which I want to include in my piece.

 

To do this, I will write my imaginative piece as a short story from a first-person perspective. This is because writing in the first-person gives me as the writer greater freedom in expressing the emotions of the character, as well as describing the plot and environment of the story through the mind of the main character.

 

Concerning my choice of language, I will refrain from the use of figurative language, in order to keep the story simple. Rather than using devices such as similes and metaphors for the purpose of description, I will use adjectives and words which describe the characteristics of objects in the story (eg. ‘rough-spun’ tunic) rather than compare an object to something else.

 

As for my target audience, I will not aim at anyone in particular. This is because while my story is of a scientific genre, it does not explore the depths of it in detail, as I will limit it to aggressive robots armed with plasma cannons and the use of cyborg technologies. The reason for this is because I do not want to complicate the content of my story for its readers in order to make it accessible for as wide a readership as possible, by using modern-day examples such as Apple in order to establish a  sense of familiarity between the story and its reader.

 

Finally, my purpose for writing this story is because creative writing is one of my favorite tasks in English, as I have a lot more freedom with the use of my own ideas and the like, whereas a piece of an imaginative or analytical nature will impose restrictions on my writings. As a result, I will complete my imaginative folio piece in the form of a short story as I will enjoy this writing style the most in the achievement of finishing this task.

😀

Kony 2012: Online activists versus Ugandan warlord

It provides a crucial meeting point for activists across the world, and was involved in both the Occupy movement and the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. It reunites long-lost friends from across the world. Anything can be shared, whenever, wherever, with everyone. Is there anything social media can’t do?

Not according to the teens across Australia and the developed world who are involved in the Kony 2012 campaign.

For those of you yet to stumble across Joseph Kony, he is a Ugandan warlord who heads the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and is ninth on Forbes’ World’s Most Wanted Fugitive List. His group is allegedly responsible for widespread human rights violations, murder, rape, enslavement, abduction, mutilation, cannibalism and the displacement of over two million people. These atrocities have continued for 25 years.

Over these past 25 years, he has been pursued to various degrees by the governments and militaries of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Uganda had also been fighting a full-blown war against the LRA up until 2008, when a ceasefire was declared. His group has been the subject of various UN reports. He has an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, which has been in place since 2005. He is also wanted by Interpol.

US President George Bush Jr. placed the LRA on the list of 25 most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. President Obama sent a force of over 100 soldiers to help the African militaries hunt him down. All these efforts have been to no avail.

Optimism and public support can only go so far. No number of teenagers from the other side of the world are going to be able to bring him to justice, no matter how hard they try. Facebook and Twitter may be great communication tools, but in the ongoing global manhunt for terrorists they can’t get us very far.

The Kony 2012 movement is still in its infancy. It will be interesting to see, as the movement gains momentum and legitimacy, how its leaders propose that a bunch of teenagers, armed only with internet connections and mobile phones, can succeed where 100 soldiers, armed with the latest weaponry and the backing of the world’s greatest superpower, have failed.

What do I do now? Jamie Shen

What do I do now?
Where can I go now?
How can I go now?

I am weary to my stone heart,
Broken to my spent soul,
I wish for tears to prove I live,
And warmth to show me love.

Sad eyes that burn black,
And nothing touches them now.
Tired eyes like spent coal,
And nothing touches them now.
Memories too painful to remember,
and too painful to forget,
and nothing touches them now.

Empty eyes, closed without closing, reflecting the pale moon,
Nothing can touch them now.

And on a cheerier note, two metapoems

This is how the hummingbird’s wings
Flutter and buzz; never stop, never die,
This is how the quick mind sings,
scratch, flourish; never stop, never die.

This is what – brings down kings,
Preaching change, preaching change,
This is what – the ink lips fling
To the page, to the page.

This is what – creates all things,
This is what – sad thoughts bring,
In my head – these bells ring,
Never stop, never die.

“T’is no ordeal!” said the poet,
voice high and indignant,”T’is a sudden burst of warmth,
coursing through the veins,
a quick breath of golden dust,
that stirs the mind from slumber
and quickens the hand,
words like thunder.”

Good Grades, Enough Sleep, or a Social Life… Pick any two.

Facebook ‘likes’ are the greatest little cold reads. They are little statements that seem like incredibly personal and precise descriptions of the things that happen to us in the world that no-one talks about. They can be general truths that happen to everybody and are described in just a way that makes us think ‘I just did this haha’ or ‘That’s what always happens!’ or ‘I thought I was the only sneaky person that did this D:’ or ‘haha i do this kind of stuff all the time’ and the list goes on and on.

One of my favourites, and one that really interests me is the idea that teenagers can pick two out of:

1. Good Grades

2. Enough Sleep

3. A Social Life

This quote implies that performing well academically and fostering a social circle require so much time that to have any quality in these would be at the detriment to a healthy amount of sleep. At the same time, if you want to have enough sleep, you’re going to have to sacrifice either your social life or your academic performance.

A quick look through the hundreds of comments to this statement easily reveal that the majority of teenagers believe that they can only have two. But I’d like to take a step forward and say that that doesn’t have to be the case.

Can you, the person behind the screen reading these words right now, imagine a person who gets enough sleep, does well academically and has a social life? My guess is yes, and I’ll even go as far to guess that the picture of this person that you have in your mind is of someone who is (or will be) confident and successful in the world. Even more importantly, and what I really want to talk about, they’re going to be someone who has discipline and self-management skills. And what I really think the idea that you can only pick two out of Good Grades, Enough Sleep or A Social Life reveals that the majority of us don’t have the self-management skills or discipline to allow us to have all three.

Every single person in the entire world has the same amount of time in a day as you, me, and the person standing next to you. Every person has 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Yet some people (whether you know them or can imagine them) have enough time for grades, sleep and a social life, yet you may only have enough time for two. What gives?

My idea is self-management and discipline. You can’t manage time, since you can’t change or influence it. Every day has 24 hours in it. Every week has seven days in it. No-one’s going to change that (but when they do, my DeLorean shall be ready), but everyone can change themselves, and improve their self-management skills.

According to Roy Morgan Research, in an average week, Australians spend 21.8 hours watching TV and 9.5 hours on the Internet. That’s about 31.3 hours a week that’s spent not getting good grades, not getting enough sleep and not developing your social life (unless you’re on Facebook, but I’ll talk about that in a moment). So imagine that you’re someone who, according to the statement, has good grades, a social life, but not enough sleep. What we don’t realize is that it isn’t only grades and sleep that compete for our sleeping time, but also our leisure.

If the average Australian were to give up the hours spent watching TV and browsing the internet, an extra 30 hours a week. That’s about 4 extra hours that could be going to sleep, your social life or your grades every day. Think about what this means as a teenager. Perhaps you only get 5 hours sleep a night –> giving up hours and hours of television would mean that you’d get a beautiful nine hours a night. How would 30 extra hours of effort into your latest assessment task reflect on your grades? How would 30 hours of hanging out with your friends deepen your emotional connection with them?

How much of the time spent flicking through channels on TV, or liking ‘likes’ on Facebook really is worth it? Undoubtedly there will be some t.v shows that you want to watch, some people that you can only keep in contact with through Facebook, but at the same time, there are a lot of t.v shows we watch just to fill the time. There are games that we play just because we’ve nothing else to do (or because we’re procrastinating), and there are hours of intensive photo-stalking that really don’t matter that much, unless you’re anything like my uncle, but that’s another story.

What I’m trying to say is that it is indeed possible to have all good grades, enough sleep and a social life at the same time. In order to have them, however, people need the self-management skills and discipline to prioritize their activities and cut out the things that aren’t important to make time for the things that are. Watch the t.v shows that interest you, but consider cutting out the channel surfing that doesn’t maximize what you want. It’s about prioritizing the important things in your life, and then having the discipline to do first things first, without falling back into the routine of spending time on things that aren’t as important.

This is one of my favourite posts from my own blog – http://kulturconversation.blogspot.com.au/ Feel free to take a look 🙂

A Quick Introduction to the UnicornExpress

 

Welcome once again to the Melbourne Hig
Welcome once again to the Melbourne High School Competition Writing Blog.

Essentially, this can serve as a platform for past and present Melbourne High School students to exhibit their writing and provide a forum for students’ writing to have a readership base. In other words, we hope that this blog will be filled with the writing of keen, young, intelligent young adults, and that it can be a great place to give/ read feedback. 

To the MHS students, feel free to write anything you like – whether it’s a work of fiction, our favourite short stories, previous essays you may have thought were particularly good, reviews on things, rants about society (keep it classy), etc. You don’t have to write specifically for the blog, but you can.

Happy Blogging!

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

To get the Mission Impossible franchise back on track, Paramount Pictures got esteemed animation director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) to direct this third sequel. The risk of hiring someone new to live-action film-making absolutely payed off, for this film has all the fun and creativity one would expect from a great Pixar film.

Brad Bird has delivered one of the best action films of recent years. The action sequences he has conjured are constantly inventive and exciting, and the pacing is absolutely perfect. I won’t reveal any of these brilliant sequences, so as to not spoil the surprise, but rest assured they are incredibly entertaining. Also, you simply must see this in the cinema*, if only to hear the gasps from the audience as Tom Cruise makes a daring leap of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

A benefit of having an animation filmmaker is that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, with goofy gadgets, bright & colourful cinematography, and the sound of every punch given an emphasised crunch. With a plethora of gritty, dramatic reboots coming out in the last few years, it’s refreshing to watch a film that maintains audience entertainment as it’s number one priority.

The ensemble cast is great, with a strong, healthy message of teamwork prevailing through the film. Tom Cruise, even though he’s getting old, still has his mojo, and Simon Pegg & Jeremy Renner both provide some good laughs. Also, I think I can speak for most gentlemen when I say Paula Patton is incredibly hot. So hot she almost turned me straight. Seriously, I spent a large portion of the third act with my eyes fixated on those big… beautiful… bouncy… Ahem! Where was I? Oh yes; she’s a very good actress. Very respectable performance…

In a year with many bland, cash-grabbing sequels, it’s wonderful to watch a movie with this much energy. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is some of the most fun I have ever had in a cinema.

My recommendation: WATCH IT! 

Austin Bond, 10H 

*Yeah this is a copy+paste of a post on my own blog – lazy I know

PS: I’m aware that the humour in the post was a bit inappropriate for a school blog, but this is how I casually write. Sorry Ms Sheko.

The Official blog for Melbourne High Writing Interest Group (WIG)

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