From the Journal of Captain Pir Van Wilken: A Parody of Rip Van Winkle

Log Entry 24: 7/13/2156

Captain Pir Van Wilken

If there’s one thing I have learned recently, it’s that times change and society always moves forward. I was one of the first to be part of the cryogenic flights exploration program for long range space exploration. To put it simply, we’re frozen while our ship travels and thawed out once it arrives. We do our work and do the same thing for the flight back. Sounds easy enough, but what high command forgot to tell us was that a lot happens when you’re expected to be gone for nearly twenty years.

I wasn’t expecting a hero’s welcome when the auto pilot landed the ship back at the old military base, but I did expect more of a reception than just the robot sent to greet me. At least they were kind enough to sent transportation with it so I wouldn’t have to walk. Looking out the windows of the transport, I took notice of how much the colony had grown since I had been away. Red rocky landscapes had been replaced with the green of nature and the grey colors of industry and life. Different, but no unexpected.

The central hub of the base finally showed signs of activity, and as I walked through the doors inside, I noticed many other people stopping to take a look at me. I suppose I did stand out in comparison to the rest of them given that my uniform was a dark blue while they wore colors of dark red and black. When I finally managed to stop someone and ask where I might find the commander of the base, he silently pointed me towards the officer’s mess hall before walking off. There were to many thoughts on my mind at the time to lecture the young man about his etiquette given my higher rank, but I was in too much of a hurry to give my return report to bother.

Stepping inside the officer’s mess hall, it didn’t take me long to notice that I didn’t recognize any of the officers sitting around a large table in the center of the room. They seemed too caught up in their conversation to take notice of me, but I couldn’t help listen to them fiercely debate each other, talking about things such as divine rights, constitutions, parliament, the crown, and other terms  I was not familiar with. Finally noticing my presence, one of the men called out to me asking if I was a Parliamentarian or an Absolutist. I figured at this point they had been discussing politics, so I informed him that I had been a member of the Terran Progression Party and was loyal to the Terran Republic of Earth, which resulted in a massive uproar from the officers at the table. They began calling me spy, traitor, republican, and any other insulting term they could think of, until finally the first man took notice of my uniform and called for silence from the others. He asked me if I was the one who had arrived on the ship that had landed not long ago and I told him yes. He told me to sit down and began to explain what happened while I was gone. After years of rising taxes and unjust laws, the people of Mars, in defiance of Earth’s government, declared their independence and chose to crown the great General Alexander Washington as their king. After many years of fighting, the crown forces of Mars were victorious. This news was shocking to say the least, but I was also concerned and began asking him about the fate of other officers and commanders from the time that I left. Colonel Dornan passed away before the war even started after getting so furious at a new recruit that his heart finally gave out. Captain Tio he told me died in an airstrike early in the war, but that Captain Hernandez had been promoted to major and was serving at another base. Perhaps most surprising to me was learning that lieutenant Alexandrov, known for being inexperienced and often though of as unskilled, had survived and was serving as a member of parliament.

The man, whose name I finally learned was Colonel Royer, leaned back in his chair, finally finished answering my questions and telling me what had happened during the twenty years I was gone. The rest I would have to figure out on my own, but at this point I wasn’t sure what to do. Many of those I knew before had moved on with their lives and while I did still technically have a place with the military, I didn’t know what differences existed between Earth and Mars’s military structure, or if there were any differences. The colonel offered to assist me should I wish to join the Mars military. Perhaps I will take him up on that offer, but until then, I have received many requests from junior officers from the base to tell them about mars before its independence and about the old lands of earth which many of them have never visited. I wonder what the other men and women who went on the cryogenic exploration flights will think of this new world we have returned to and if we will integrate into this new system we will become a part of.


The story of Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle involves a character falling asleep for twenty years and waking up in an independent America that has started to develop its own sense of identity. This short parody journal entry is meant to be similar to the second half of the book and I wanted to try to keep certain details of the original story similar, but also framed in a different way such as Mars declaring independence, politics seeming to be an important part of this new independent identity, although I did choose to reverse it this time by having the revolutionary state be the monarchy rather than the republic this time. I also wanted to try to not have the Mars from before Pir leaves to be completely different from the Mars that he returns to. The America that Rip Van Winkle leaves and the one he enters into are different, but America hasn’t really developed a completely distinct culture in the book. People may be talking about politics more and may act a bit differently, but Rip is still able to adjust himself with relative ease. Similarly, I tried to add small details about uniform differences and Pir being unsure of how different Mars and Earth really are, but I tried to show that politics are starting to shape discussion and the direction of Mars. Maybe I didn’t present some details from the story in as much detail as I would have liked due to wanting to keep the length a bit limited, but I wanted to try to show these details in a different context. I think that Rip Van Winkle questions what it means to be an American and looks to answer that through politics and the politics of America while I wanted to try to present an identity for Mars as well that is also shaped more by its politics rather than a new and sudden cultural shift.

-Ryan Bucher

Narrative of the Captivity of Beverly Miranda By UC Merced As Told By Beverly Miranda

Through the grace of God, together with her willpower and perseverance (although time to time tested), the captivity and restoration by the University of California Merced of Ms. Beverly Miranda became possible. Her release marked a special time not just for her but for her loved ones as well. Her narrative and story were written by her own hand for her own keeping but now she chooses to share it among her peers on this fascinating English 102 blog, for you all to indulge in her captivity at UC Merced over the course of four years.


In the spring of 2015, the University Chancellor and recruits approached me with great efforts and different tactics to lure me into their grip. They came in great quantities, stopping at nothing to assure they secured my seizure. They came with shirts, posters, financial aid packages that I couldn’t resist, and ultimately they secured my captivity – but as I pressed the SIR button, I saw my freedom and peace of mind escape me. This quick and sudden gesture secured my fate for the next four years, with no knowledge of the excruciating, agonizing and intense years that would await me; with no way of escaping or liberating myself without bringing great shame to my name.

When I first arrived in August of 2015, I saw never ending landscapes, I felt the scorching sun on my back, and was amazed by the lack of buildings – I couldn’t believe Merced would strip me of my liberty. And I couldn’t believe this was the city that they promoted and glorified so heavily. Everyone looks at me like I’m an outsider, a foreigner – because I am. I don’t belong here in this institution designed and created for the elite, designed to keep me out, designed to bury me in debt. I was no longer surrounded by my fellow brown, Latino, Angelenos – the white people had taken me hostage. There were thousands of others who were taken too, who had also fallen into their deception and who also faced the same fate as I did. We were crammed into dorms four at a time in a room built for three, fed food fit for the birds, and were thrown into a system unknown to almost each of us.

I had often said before that if I were ever to be captured by a four year institution I would rather choose to be killed; but when it came to the trial my mind changed; the glittering promises that filled my spirit with hope, changed my mind to not want to end my days. All of my mother’s greatest hopes and dreams for me, lingered over my head and only then was I was able to see the light hidden in this captivity. For the next four years I would embark on an excruciating journey, a journey I would not be freed from until I fulfilled the needs of the university. In the following story to come, I shall speak on the recollection of my time spent at UC Merced and the horrid, agonizing moments I experienced during my time held captive.



My piece for this creative writing project was inspired by Mary Rowlandson’s “Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.” I decided to write about my “captivity” here at UC Merced for the past four years because personally, I have felt trapped and captive at this institution during my time spent here. It has played a big part in morphing who I am now and it is a statement experience in my life. My parody was based on a very personal point of view and experience therefore, I mimicked Rowlandson’s introduction and conclusion (paragraph before the first remove) paragraphs in order to assure that the point of my piece being a “personal account” got across. Besides directly mimicking the content and style of her paragraphs, I also tried to keep the narrator’s voice alike, starting with the third person intro and followed by the first person narrative. I decided I would follow this stylistic choice from Rowlandson’s narrative because I thought it would be best to introduce that the story was detailed and retold through my personal view before directly jumping into the narrative of my experiences because it would establish the idea that the story would be told in hindsight – just like in Rowlandson’s narrative. I thought this created a similar tone between my piece and Rowlandson’s story. Another choice I had to think about when deciding how to approach my parody, was how I was going to concise a captivity narrative into 500 words. Rowlandson’s narrative had 20 removal paragraphs, as to where my narrative is made up by only four paragraphs. Therefore I decided to only imitate her introductory paragraphs, and not the actual removal ones, therefore this allowed me the freedom to capture a similar essence, and pay tribute, to the captivity narrative without surpassing the word count and introduce a story of four years in a concised, regulated manner. Overall, this assignment taught me how difficult it is to mimic another author’s work – it requires taking risks, making difficult stylistic choices, and choosing how much inspiration as an author you’re going to take and how much of the work will be your own. But it also challenged my creativity in a great sense and allowed me to explore my capability regarding parody/homage of other author’s works which would essentially teach me more about myself as a creator/writer.

Gully’s Space Travels


This is a parody of an exert from the first chapter of Gulliver’s Travels.

As a most famous space captain, many often ask me my life story, this is typically what I tell them:

“My father had a small animal farm on the North side of Jupiter’s moon Europa: I was the second oldest daughter of 3 sons and 2 daughters.  He sent me to the Space Academy on the South side of Europa at sixteen years old, where I lived for three years, and studied and trained to join the Intergalactic Space Force. During this time and after I had graduated, to earn a little extra cash on the side I was apprentice to Mrs. Nancy Rogers, a pilot of some sort. I was charged with cleaning and maintaining her ship. Often, to help ease the financial burden, my father would send me small amounts of money, this I used to help learn more about flying a ship. When money got too hard to supply, I went up to see my father. Who being supportive and willingly came up enough money to get me by throughout the year.

Soon after my return from the Southern Hemisphere, my good teacher, Mrs. Rogers, recommended me to be a co-pilot to the well-known Space Force Captain, Stevie Liken. Which after accepting, I stayed with for a few years, and who I went on a lot of voyages to the nearby planets and even to other galaxies.  When I came back from my multiple space voyages I decided to live in the city, not with my family. I consulted with Mrs. Rogers, who encouraged me, and told me to do what I thought was best, and also found me job. I bought a small quaint house with my savings and eventually married a friend turned significant other later on in my years.

When Mrs. Rogers died a few years after I moved into the new house, I had to reflect on my life, and all the choices that led up to me being where I was. Thinking, it was best to talk with my husband and the few friends that I had, I decided it was time to go out into space again. I was a co-pilot successfully on more than two ships, and made several voyages, for many years, to the ends of this galaxy and into others, which helped to add to my growing fortune (the pay was good). When I was not piloting and being a leader in an expedition, I read the so-called best Earth authors, both ancient and modern, amongst other authors. It was one of the few things I could do whilst being on the ship for long periods of times. Though it’s not to say that I didn’t do it whilst I was on land.

The last voyage that I co-piloted lasted about a year and a half and at the end, I was tired and ready to come home. However, this final voyage proved to be the most interesting of all of my journeys, and I was more than excited to go off and explore So, I packed up my things, said goodbye to my family, and set off to join the crew. My hard work had finally paid off an I was made Captain Leila Gully of the space ship “Galaxy” (ironic, I know). And finally, set sail from the main Northern city of Europa on March 9th, 2149 of which our voyage was at first very prosperous. Some would say, a little too prosperous.


For this creative project I decided to write a parody of the first chapter of Gulliver’s Travels. In the original story, the author is explaining his life story, from his childhood to his adulthood and how he ended up where he did. I decided to do all that but with a futuristic approach. I took the story and set it in the future where humans no longer only live on Earth but have populated the surrounding planets and have made contact with intelligent life from other galaxies. They work and live together, in this future society, we all coexist peacefully. Within in my interpretation of this story, the main character is a female spaceship pilot who left behind her small life to experience bigger and better things. She joins a space force academy and trains to achieve her dreams of one day flying her own ship. Had this story continued it would have followed her and her crew on their most exciting voyage across the stars, where they encountered new species, and places they never would have thought to uncover. The main character leaves behind a husband and her family, of which wouldn’t not be unheard of in these times since society had advanced, and as she is an independent woman, it wouldn’t be strange. This story—instead of not only being an adventure story, would focus on the relationship the main character has with herself and how she grew and developed whilst on this voyage experiencing things for the first time. I wanted to write something different like this because I thought it would be fun to imagine a Gulliver’s Travels but, in the future, and in space. It’s easy to imagine since in the original book, it basically feels like the main character is exploring new planets because of how different and unlike “normal society” these new places were like.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Rip Van Winkle – The Rest Is History

Tania De Lira-Miranda


Whoever has made the journey to Merced has to remember Yosemite National Park. Located in the central Sierra Nevada of California, the park is a sight to behold with its features such as its waterfalls, sequoia groves, and granite cliffs. The tranquility and natural beauty make it a famous attraction that many come to see. Even with the change of every season, weather, and time, the park always manages to look absolutely divine if one were to wander through its trails.

Just a bit further away from Yosemite, if one was driving, one would be able to see a small city named Merced. The city is mainly filled by farmers since Merced is the fifth-top producing county in California so agriculture is a big part of the heart. It is this concentration of farmers that make the city be a conservative red town and so, it is here where our tale begins.

It was in that city and on one of the farms that a conservative, red farmer by the name of Brett Johnson. He, unlike his ancestors who for sane conservative figures, passionately agreed with a presidential figure who ran a campaign based on xenophobic, racists, and wall fantasies. He certainly was not a favorite among the people who lived in the city as he always tried to but into political conversations, trying to tell people about how they were being brainwashed by fake news alongside the deep state and the US government.
One day, after an afternoon of political arguments and discussions, Brett wanted to take a trip away from Merced and decided to go to Yosemite. It was in the national park that Brett took a walk through the trails walking deeper into the forests until the sky began to darken with rain clouds. Then he walked into a nearby cave and headed inside, trying to wait out the rain. A few minutes later, a band of drifters entered the cave. During their wait, the group offered Brett a cold drink and having finished his own supplies, he accepted. After finishing the drink, he began to tire and when he laid down to rest for a bit, he fell into a deep sleep.

Upon waking up, the cave was empty with only Brett inside, the rain had disappeared. Standing up to stretch, he noticed his joints felt stiff. Exiting the cave, he began to go back to Merced. Arriving at the city, he noticed how different it looked, the shops he saw every time he walked the streets changed and new stores had instead taken their place. Confused, he walked to his farm and was surprised to see it in decay. Entering the house, he saw it was empty and abandoned and become depressed. Walking back to the main part of town, he entered one of the shops and saw that the news was talking about the president’s speech, but instead of seeing a spray-tanned figure, the screen showed a Hispanic woman who was currently talking about her coming out story. Shocked, he asked the clerk his president and was met with a weird look as the clerk told him about how he was impeached during a time called the red drought alongside other prominent red figures like Barr, McConnell, Mnuchin to name a few. Asking for today’s date, Brett practically jumped out of his skin when he was answered with 20XX – 20 years had passed while he slept.


For my creative project, I chose to modernize the tale of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. The reason for this is because I felt that the story would be the easiest to modernize and have it reflect the modern times of today. That’s the reason why I changed the story to take place in Merced since the town can be conservative. The story already has some political references in its plot since Rip Van Winkle, due to his sleep, missed out on the American Revolution and so missed the fact that America got out of Britain’s rule and began its own country and created its own form of government along with its new leaders. So it is because of these reasons that I decided that the political references that I wanted to mention in my imitation would be Trump and the conservative party. As I am on the left side of the spectrum, the event I wanted my Rip Van Winkle to miss would be Trump’s impeachment, along with other prominent conservatives. So just like Rip Van Winkle was a loyalist while everyone else supported was a colonist, my Rip Van Winkle, who I named Brett Johnson, was a conservative while the others were implied to be liberals and like Rip Van Winkle, Brett Johnson is on the wrong side of history.

But to review my writing, I think I could have added dialogue. My creative project is mostly details and general details, the point of view is from someone looking into Brett’s world. The thing that really restricted me was the word limit. At first, I thought that it was a lot to write about but it was once I started getting on a roll, I realized that the word limit was too short. I feel like I could have written more to further explain how much Brett lost while he was asleep but I had already reached the word limit. I still think I did a fair job but I do realize that there are things I could have bettered in my writing.

The Lost Entry

980xCredit: Glam&Gore on YouTube

The Lost Entry

Of the mystical creatures of the sea; their danger, their beliefs,

their customs. The author’s way of controlling the fate of

the monsters. His vindication of the mer-species.

0X May, 17XX

Although I intended to leave the description of this species to a particular minimum, yet, I cannot ignore the beautiful terror that was before my eyes. We were near the coastline of Lilliput, almost reaching the land that was promised to be gorgeous beyond belief. They seemed to glow from underneath their skin, vivid hues of azure and crimson that I had never seen before. I saw them when I looked out into the vast sea. At first glance, I thought that it was a trick of the light. But when I asked my crewmen to look out and alas, they could not deny the sight of these mighty creatures. We had no knowledge of what they were. Mr. Bates and the crew of the Swallow never shared stories of these…fish? Women? Fish-women? As far as I knew, they had never been seen before. I was the first to see their stunning gills travel along the waves.

My crewmen wanted to capture one of these magnificent beasts and subject them to queries about their culture and ways of living. They could not believe their eyes, that there were such creatures that lived in the ocean as human-fish hybrids. I warned them against this, as there was no telling what the consequences of such an action would be. Eventually, I was able to deviate their minds from such a thought, or so I believed. That night, they snuck out onto the dock and taunted the creatures. They didn’t believe what I had warned them of. We lost a sailor that night. All because they would not listen to my word. The captain’s word. It’s their own damn fault. These poor souls, we have to protect them from man’s selfish hand.

I must destroy this notation. Humanity cannot know what I have seen. They will harm it, make it as wretched as they have made themselves. I have to hide my discovery of these beautiful creatures, but I must also ensure that none of my crewmates spread rumors about their existence.

Whatever it takes.

Tomorrow, I must take the ship. I need to find a way to leave my crew behind, to leave them to their deaths. Those bastards did not even listen to my simple order, they deserve to stay stranded. There’s nothing that could change my mind. I have to do what I can in order to save these beautiful creatures. No—I must name them. Sea-ladies? Oceanic-women? Mer-maids? Mermaids. That will be their name, that only I know. Nothing can harm them, not with every memory of them being wiped away. Diary, I must throw you into the depths of the sea. After I do what I must with my crew, you will be the last thing to go. No one can know the mysteries I’ve found. This is the end.


For this project, I wanted to focus on my favorite novel throughout the course, Gulliver’s Travels. When looking for inspiration for what to write about, I remembered that an SFX makeup artist on YouTube, under the channel name Glam&Gore, made herself into a beautifully terrifying luminescent mermaid. Once I refreshed my memory on the makeup look, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about and how I would go about writing it. Following the same style as the different entries that were written throughout Gulliver’s Travels, I created a lost entry that exposed the existence of mermaids. Although all the action throughout the novel were an exaggeration, I wanted something to actually be true. The one thing that Gulliver encountered that was actually real, he would never be able to share because of his desire to protect them from the harm that humanity would inevitably force them to undergo. I wanted this lost entry to vaguely mirror the passion the Gulliver develops for the Houyhnhnms towards the end of the novel. I wanted his fascination with the mermaids to be the catalyst for his future fascination with the Houyhnhnms. Through the addition of this entry, I wanted to expose the selfishness, but also the care, that Gulliver has for living creatures. While he may not have cared too much for humanity by the end of Gulliver’s Travels, he definitely would have been one to take care of animal creatures whenever he saw them in need. I really hope you enjoyed my twist on the novel.

Esther Quintanilla

The Rime of The ancient White Tigers

It is an elder smoking in street,

And we stopped us three.

His white beard and wisdom filled eyes,

‘Now why have you stopped in front of me?’

Us three heard a tale that is not told wide,

And we are curious;

‘My friends come in, a meal is set:

May you come in and feast.’

The three sat in the chair:

No choice but to eat;

And the elder ask which story

The three said ‘The Tigers of White Ruri’

The Tigers that are white live in the Jungle;

That is dense full of trees and leaves.

They are not the same as others though,

For they have brown skin and platinum hair.

Tiger Ruri was deemed the protector,

Since she was the chiefs daughter,

And stood watch of the Hearth;

That stood for courage, dignity, glory, and strength.

Blonde haired pale skin people explored the village,

And was astounded to what they saw.

The chief asked, ‘What are you?’

The response was Aetos Dios.

One took a liking to Ruri,

And hung out with her all day.

He said ‘I will save you from this burden’

And Ruri replied ‘Silly Tenguerian’.

The white tigers began dying, and no one knew why.

‘To blame is the Blondies!

It’s their fault we die!’

The chief told them to stop this foolish blame.

The chief went to Ruri and found her dead,

And saw the Blondie lying there.

He cried for his daughter

And felt truly scared.

He yelled at the Blondie but he died as well,

And he yelled to the others.

‘Get out, leave now, your deeds are done!

You Tenguerians bring nothing but despair !’

The Blondies mourned for the son,

And the Tigers found cause of death.

‘Poor Ruri was attacked

And the Tengu fought it away

She got the most damage,

And prepared to die was he,

But he waited it out

To die together with hand in hand.’

After this, they buried Ruri

And the Tigers died substantially.

Half went into captivity

And the rest never accounted for.

‘Is this why you only see

the white tigers in the controlled cities?’

Maybe so, maybe not

It is only Maybe a story.

For my creative writing project I decided to do a parody of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. As you can clearly see I do not know how to work a computer, so it looks this way because no matter what I did the lines looked too spaced out and did not show the breaks. Anyway, I did not want to mimic it line-by-line because I think a parody should follow the story in it’s own way and thus I focused more on the crazy story. It is a story I made up of a society that is Human and animal. I wanted to base it off white tigers because they are my favorite animal. I also wanted to add different mythology within the story too. Aetos Dios comes from Greek Mythology and the Tenguerian is a word I made up from the word Tengu which is from Japanese folklore. These could be understood by looking it up online. The meaning of the poem is open to interpretation(s). *Imani Pree*

Pip Jenkins: A Reflection of Modern Day Disconnect

As the car drove into the outskirts of the city, Pip saw that many new houses stood in place of where the vast fields once had been. The cars that lined the streets were sleek and shiny, the streets themselves littered with garbage. As they drove deeper into the city and past the buildings, he realized they were taller than he remembered and with different signs attached to them, each flashier than the other. On every corner he saw a shop of sorts, named ‘Starbucks’, and in it were people who looked like they belonged in magazines. He glanced at his reflection in the glass of the car, he looked disheveled, his hair was much too long, and the end of his beard rested on his lap. After twenty minutes more, the kind stranger drove into his neighborhood, which looked almost exactly to how he remembered, but didn’t. The people were also unfamiliar. This street was his, but it wasn’t.

He looked back, in the distance he could see the Sierra Nevada’s, the street was Waterfield, he had stared at the sign as they passed it. This was his street, his house was approaching, but nothing made sense. Pip stood still after exiting the car, this had to be a dream, for he had only left yesterday, yet it seemed like many years had passed. Thanking the kind man for driving him home, he thought back to the pair of women who had shared with him their meal while in the forest. For it must have been magic! No other explanation made sense!

As he stood there, he was surprised his wife did not come out to greet him. Miss Elizabeth Jenkins always greeted him with a kiss and a smile on the doorstep of their home. However, no one exited the home, and as he payed closer attention he realized the fence was not the same. The curtains to the living room which has once been a pale lace, now were a dark slate color. Even their lawn was different, fake it seemed! It was his house but wasn’t.

He attempted to enter the house, but it was locked! Next to the door was a light up button with what seemed to be a camera. He pushed it repeatedly, but no one came to the door. Not his wife, nor his kids or his dog. No one was home, no one was there.

He hurried down the street to his favorite diner on the corner. However, the building that housed the diner was now a gas station! The price advertising the price per gallon at almost four dollars! Great God! On the sidewalk he spotted a newspaper box, he reached it quickly and saw that it cost twenty-five cents per paper! My lord!! Luckily, he carried a spare quarter in his pocket at all times and deposited into the slot. He reached in a pulled out the paper. The headline read “Mueller Report Released: President Trump Not Innocent Nor guilty”, underneath it read “How this will affect next year’s 2020 Presidential Elections”. He must have looked wild standing on the sidewalk with his eyes almost popping out of his head and a sense of devastation setting in. A younger man in athletic wear approached him “you alright man?” He turned to the newspaper in his hands, “Oh yeah, I read about that this morning”, “I was hoping this would be it, Trump has caused enough upheaval in the White House”.

Pip stared down, “but… but… last I recall Bill Clinton was President and he had been Impeached, Donald Trump had illusions of being President, but they were just rumors” The young man stared at him, “Uh… nah man, that was a long time ago, uh I got to go, here’s a dollar” and walked away muttering something about drugs. I sank down to the sidewalk, a plethora of emotions came to surface, but all I could thin was “what happened to my world?”


In my creative project I focused on Washington Irving’s  “Rip Van Winkle”, the section of the story where he returns and finds everything different. Pip Jenkins is a middle-class man who was living the American dream, a loving wife, two kids, and a perfect city home. Overwhelmed by his routine he takes a day trip to hike in Sequoia National Park, on this hike deep in the forest he encounters two older women, who very kindly invite him to have some of their stew. Next thing he knows he wakes up, to the bright sun, he crawls out of the dense bush, but when he goes to his car he realizes it is gone. He hitchhikes, and the man who picks him up drives him back to Fresno.

The world in the past twenty years has changed so much very rapidly. When Pip left it was 1999, the world’s population was about Six Billion. The world was preparing for the new millennium and mobile phones around the world were opening the world for many people. That year saw their very own presidential scandal with Clinton, and Trump was simply a very rich man with an aspiration to run one day. Fast forward to now, our President is a worldwide and continuous scandal, the planet is dying, and everyone seems to be entranced by social media and technology. Now more than ever, we are wrestling with our identities as “Americans”.  Pip is what one would describe as the “perfect” American, and he has come into a society that seems to have a large disconnect with the word.

Whereas his wife used to greet him at the door warmly, present day he was greeted by a tech forward doorbell. The flowers that once were, had to be replaced by turf because of the drought. A mom and pop diner had been knocked down and replaced by a gas station. Lastly was his encounter with the young man, instead of attempting to listen to Pip, the man walked away condemning him as a drug addict. I made all these changes to emphasize the growing gap we have with others and nature. So much is happening, and although now more than ever we have more lines of communication, that disconnect is larger than ever. Our world is in turmoil, and we much like Pip seem to be sleeping through it, but one day it will hit us all at once.


Sabrina Vazquez 

Rime of the Ancient Examiner

Part I

It is an ancient examiner
And he stops one of three
By the long absent gaze and baggy eyes
Now where will they stop me?

The lecture hall doors are opened wide,
And I am next to speak;
The students are met, the exam is set:
I hear the quiet sobs.

He holds them with his elderly hand,
“there was a study guide” quoth he.
‘hold off! Don’t start, round sadistic fool!’
His hand dropt he.

He holds them with his glittering eye—
The anxious student stood still,
And listens like a three years child:
The examiner hath his will.

The quivering student sat on the chair:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed examiner.

The study room cheered, the library cheered,
Merrily did we drop
Below the lane, below the hill,
Below the new beginnings top.

The sun came up upon the left,
Out of the exam room came he!
And he stood dark, and on the right
Went down into the d.c.

Lower and lower everyday,
Till over the bridge at noon—
The miserable student here beat his breast
For he heard the tears monsoon.

The TA hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The nervous examinee.

The anxious student he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright eyed examiner.

And now the panic attack came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his breathtaking wings,
And drained brain chemicals along.

With sloping shoulders and dipping heads,
As who pursued with darkness and confusion
Still treads the shadow of his delusion,
And forward bends his head,
The hope not redeemed, loud roared the screams,
And towards quizlet aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wonderous cold:
And ice, ankle high, came floating by,
As blue as the blue and gold.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of A’s nor B’s were ken—
The fear was all between.

The stress was here, the stress was there,
The stress was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross a PALs boss,
Through the fog he came;
As if he had been a Christian soul,
We hailed him in God’s name.
He taught the material we ne’er had grasp,
And through the guide he flew.
The depression did split with a THC hit;
The mentor helped us through!

And a good quizlet sprung up behind;
The PALs boss did follow,
And every day, for food or an A,
Came to the examiner’s hollo!

In mist or cloud, on grass or shroud,
He perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog smoke white,
Glimmered the white moon shine.

‘God save thee, ancient professor!’
From the fiends that plague thee thus!—
Why look’st thou so?’—With my copy of the exam answers
I outsmarted the PALs boss.

My parody of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner focuses on the modern day pressures surrounding midterms and finals for a college student. I focused it at UC Merced because it is familiar to me. I made some very specific stylistic choices when creating my parody. The first choice I had to make was whether or not to translate it into modern language. I ended up deciding not to do that for two reasons; first, the original language is more dramatic and second I felt that it would really highlight the contrast between the struggles of the time periods. I even chose to leave some lines the same. If I thought the lines had no major impact on the plot and even worked for this time period, I left them alone to tie the time periods together by commonalities. The original poem is about a mariner who sets out to see, makes a stupid mistake, gets cursed, then comes back with the fear of God. In my parody, a bunch of nervous students are sitting in an exam room before an old bat of a professor. Before their exam, the professor stops to tell them the tale of a foolish student who stole the exam answers before the test. I chose to only do part one. This choice was made because the word count for the assignment is five hundred, and part one alone was five hundred words. It was also partly because it would have totaled to over a thousand words and the first part itself was enough to justify that this poem is literature of power. I can change the words and the situation of the original, but the moral at the end of the story remains the same for both version: if you look a gift horse in the mouth, karma will come back to kick your ass.

-Oliver Briggs

Redding 2019

I slowly walk through each old abandoned street

Near the banks where the Sacramento flows

Noticing in the faces of those I greet

Marks of tiredness, weariness grows

In the voice of the neighbor across the road,

In the voice of those both young and old

In the voice of everyone, hope has slowed

When will change come as we’ve been told

How the shopkeepers cry,

Closing their doors for the final time,

Once happy couples let out a sigh

Perhaps now is the chance to escape the crime,

Now through these streets late at night

All that can be heard are sirens and shouting

Enemies rushing by in a flash of light,

Any prospect of change leaves me doubting

-Ryan Bucher

Los Angeles (Any City) 2019

A tribute to William Wordsworth’s “London 1802”:

Women! You shouldn’t be out at this hour:

The World is too dark and dangerous: and he is out

Causing misery and pain: “it’s your fault”,

They’ll say, no questions asked whatsoever,

You have forfeited your personal rights

Of inward happiness. They are selfish men;

Oh! “She was asking for it,” “did you see what

She was wearing?”; it all comes with a price.

First teach them manners, virtue, courage,

And then, power.

Thy soul was like a bright Star, now broken and burnt out:

Thou haven’t a voice to make noise or speak up:

No longer pure as the naked heavens, or majestic,

It was never even free.

So this is the way we must live our lives,

In in uncheerful frighten godliness; and yet their hearts

Sleep and live in peace, no regrets.


-Laura Mateo Gallegos