A Clock Ticking: A Short Story



We have become clocks


I starred only at the ground, and not at the trees, nor the street, nor the people. Occasionally I glanced up at my phone and looked at my surroundings. Yet it bored me, and I turned back to my phone. I think the sky was blue that day – but I can not remember. I suppose if I had taken the time to look around me, I might have seen what a beautiful day it was in the Boston Commons. But I had more important things to do. There was my twitter feed to check, emails to write, and notes to make on my calendar.

When I entered the train station there was the steady hum of peoples footsteps upon the linoleum floor, a constant flow of doors opening and closing, and maybe once, a child cried. Outside on the platform, others waited like me. They all wore almost identical suits and dresses, holding phones or laptops. I can not remember if any of us talked with one another, perhaps an apology was made when an old man bumped into me. I think I might have replied to him, but I am not sure.

The train came in with a steady, calm sound. We all entered, one at a time and took a seat. Laptops were pulled out again and there was a steady sound of fingers typing. Occasionally one would stop to take a sip of coffee. Feet tapped against the floor watches ticked, and the train pressed on. The train made its way through the city, we passed gray buildings with large windows revealing more people on computers. It stopped at the next train station, and more got on. A man sat across from me beside the window. He wore a bright purple shirt and white tennis shorts. On his lap were a sketch book and a charcoal pencil.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” he asked me.

“I think,” I said, typing out a report for my boss. 

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“What?” I said, “Oh – never mind.”

The man was silent and looked out the window. I thought I heard him give a sigh but I turned back to my computer, continuing my work. I heard his pencil scratch against his paper and I put my earbuds in. I was curious to what he was drawing, but I tried not took look up. I willed myself not to be distracted.

“Listen,” he said, “Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” I asked.

“Everyone is typing to the same rhythm, there – you hear it!” 

I did hear it, but I hated that he had drawn attention to it. There was something, almost dear about the sound. It was familiar, comfortable, and very simple.

“I don’t hear anything,” I said, “Excuse me, I am rather busy right now.”

When I started to type, I was off beat with the sound. It pounded in my ear and I heard what seemed to me a terrible noise against the rhythmic music. I focused upon the rhythm and found my typing to match its pace. My muscles relaxed, I took a sip of coffee, and I smiled before returning to my work. Everything was under control, I thought, it was just his manner that had put me off. Yes – that’s it, he maintained eye contact for too long. I was quite relieved at my discovery.

The train shuddered to a stop and the man across from me got up.

“Have a nice day,” he remarked. I said nothing but only pounded my fingers against the keys harder.

“It really is a beautiful day,” he said, and he left.

I was quite thankful that he was gone, and accomplished serval things before the train came to my stop. I got up from my chair and placed my laptop in my backpack. I was about to leave my row when I noticed a piece of paper lying on the seat opposite from me. I picked it up and saw a charcoal picture of a train cabin. It was nearly identical to the one that I was in. People sat on the seats typing on their laptops, squiggly lines over their fingers indicated movement. It was a rough sketch, yet somehow, it seemed incredibly accurate. I could recognize the figures on each of the seats. Yes – there was me, with hair tied up in a bun and wearing a black suit jacket. Yet where was my face, or the faces of all the others? Our faces were completely shaded a deep gray. There was barely even an indication of features, save but a couple lines across the nose and forehead.

I walked out of the train, onto the platform, holding the drawing in my hand. I was vaguely aware of the fact that I was not in sync with the others, but I hesitated to follow them.  After looking closer at the drawing, I saw clocks drawn along the side of the train walls. It appeared that there was one for each person. And when I inspected the faces of each of the figures more closely, I saw we each had a clock upon our face. The lines of the hands had been drawn faintly, but I could make out the numbers along the edge of the faces that I had mistaken for hair.

I stopped in the middle of the train station. People brushed past me, clocks ticked, and feet tapped. I looked from the drawing to the people, not quite sure what to do. Then, I walked over to a trash can, and for a moment held the drawing over the hole. I looked at it again and saw the clocks. I put it back in my pocket, and pulling my watch off my wrist, I dropped it into the waste. Slowly, as if in a daze I walked out of the train station into the street. Cars whizzed by, and people rushed from building to building. I watched the sun reflect against the glass windows of buildings in front of me. The air was sweet and the breeze added a freshness to it all.

A week passed and I almost hated the drawing that the man had left behind. My family found me strange and irritating. My boss was horrified at my reports and was on the verge of firing me. I was almost terrified when I found myself saying good morning to people on the train. I almost threw the drawing away, but I did not.

I was walking in Boston Commons, beside the public library when suddenly I saw the man from the train. He walked past me with a smooth, easy stride, but then stopped and looked back.

“Hello,” I said.

“Hello,” he said, “It’s a beautiful day.”

“Yes,” I said, “It is.”

My Nonno, on Writing Properly



A few days ago, my Grandfather dropped my brother off at my home. He is one of those grandfathers who wears white jeans, tennis shoes, and pastel colored sweaters over his tennis shirts.  My Grandfather is both classy and progressive. Along with his avid interest in jazz music, his reading list has Japenese Haiku on one end and  Haruki Murakami on the other. He practically breathes haiku. 

I gripped the arms of my chair. That very day, I had received an email from him concerning my blog. I could not wait to ask him questions concerning writing. 

Finally, I asked him my question.

“Nonno, how does my blog come across as…pretentous?” 

My grandfather took a sip of his scotch, leaned forward in his chair and said with a rumbling voice:

“You, are not the Pope.” 

“Oh!” I said. 

His point soon came clear. Why is a fourteen-year-old girl writing blog posts on something that she does not have first-hand experience of? 

From him, I gathered several tips on writing, not just for young people, but also older writers. 

Tip One: Establish Your Authenticity 



“You, are not the Pope.”

When writing, one must establish the authenticity that they have. Thus, as a young teen writer, I have little authority at all. I have not experienced many trials in writing or learned enough first-hand to be able to speak on it.

Thus, writing a blog post on what I learned from another blog post or book is not a good thing as a writer to do. One must speak on what they know, not on what they have heard.  

However, I do have authority over my own experiences and ideas. Writing on what I have truly experienced is great and allows me to establish my “authority”. 


Tip Two: A Writing Exercise

Quick! Grab a piece of paper and a pencil! Write down five to ten things that you enjoy doing. Be detailed in the way you write each one. “I like to read” does not provide enough information. However, “I enjoy reading light contemporary novels by the pool on cool summer evenings,” is much better. 

Perhaps this exercise seems simple and childish to you?

However, my Grandfather had an interesting experience with his college students when he had them do this exercise. 

He had them split up into groups and after they completed the exercise he went around and had a couple of them read aloud what they had written. Afterward, he remarked, “It’s funny. How are old are you all? Eighteen? Twenty? Twenty-Five? I find it interesting that none of you mentioned enjoying kissing.” 

You can imagine how uncomfortable his students were. However, my grandfather proved his point. One must be honest when writing. There should be none of these facades or even false writing styles. Writing is supposed to inform and cast light upon lies, not darken the picture. 




I am so glad my Grandfather came over that day. I learned a powerful message:  

Do not pretend to be another writer. Be yourself and know your limits and boundaries in writing…

The Three Things a Writer Must Have



As writers, we continually search for the magic medicine to cure Writers Block and other deadly writers diseases. Through blog post after blog post, we read tips on how to mature our writing. Hour after hour, we stare at blank screens trying to bleed words onto the paper. However, I am convinced that we spend too much time staring at our characters and fantastical worlds that we forget to observe what is around us. 

Writers should not simply be the whimsical poets with pens but also the observer in the crowd. They ought to take in every single detail they see and study what makes an individual do what they do. 

Frankly, this is a trap I fall into every single day. Who doesn’t want to dream? However, this can cause your creativity to dry up and your performance to go down. As writers, we need to surround ourselves with people, experiences, and materials to feed our creativity and inspiration. Thus, while forcing yourself to create that storyboard is highly beneficial, writers also ought to take a break from the screen and immerse themselves into the world. 

This leads me to the Three Things a Writer Must Have. 

True Literature: 


What do I mean by “true literature”? Clearly, almost all writers enjoy reading. Reading is one of the main origins of creativity for writers. It also is the origin of poor and ill-formed stories. 

When choosing books to read, a writer ought to pick ones that challenge them either mentally, emotionally or spiritually. While an occasional easy read is fun, a steady diet of popular teen novels and actions flicks is not. 

To clarify, when I say good literature I do not necessarily mean old classics. I understand that some prefer contemporary novels to the old ones.  There are quite a few modern novels that have excellent sentence structure and character arcs. Thus, finding the right fit for you should not be too hard. 


download-2.jpgAh…those recreational activities! Writers need a break from their bleeding and racking of brains. We need an outlet to let the creativity and inspiration poor in. Thus, developing a hobby is very beneficial and should be a part of a healthy diet for a writer. 

Beneficial hobbies include art, cooking, chess, playing an instrument or sport, gardening, and photography.  

Pick at least two hobbies that you steadily work at. This will refresh and enhance your mind and also feed your creativity.



Music motivates and gives me passion. Whether sentimental or upbeat, good vibes are vital to writing. 

Create a couple playlists so you do not have to go back and forth from your writing to your music.

Listen to the songs and let the notes evolve into words upon your paper. Relax and enjoy writing…



Developing these three methods will boost your creativity and inspiration. Your creativity will less and less dry up like a well. Words will flow instead of bleed. 

Enjoy these methods and learn to relax when writing. Through juicy novels, recreational activities, and swaggy tunes your writing will be boosted.  

Why You Should Use Aesthetics in Your Stories


What is the difference between movies and books? Both tell stories, and both convey meanings. Movies have the wonderful gift of visual art. They show dazzling pictures of oceans, city lights, dances, quiet castles, etc. Books, on the other hand, must describe and show everything through words. They must feed your imagination.  However, both movies and books have Aesthetics

Aesthetics are key components to creating a compelling story. They are what draw people in and in rapture them. 

I introduce to you the world of esthetics.

Choose an Aesthetic for Your Story 


Another term for aesthetic is atmosphere. It is the tune that sets your novel. Whether it is chill-champagne-in-glass-jazz or Arabian-earthy-spices-dazzling-rugs or pretentious-white-couch-kale-smoothy-Harvard-experience, it is what sets your novel. There should be at least two esthetics in your novel: A positive and negative one. One should draw your reader in, the other should make them disgusted and saddened.

Think of the saddest, more thought provoking story you have read. Put your finger on the aesthetic or atmosphere that made you feel that way. Esthetics are powerful, are they not? 

If you are writing a fantasy novel or multi-culture novel, I encourage you to use several aesthetics, one for each culture. The trick is to be able to change the aesthetic but still maintain the style of your novel. If you change the style of your novel, your reader will become lost. 

Find a Picture, Set the Tone of Your Story


Most writers have Pinterest or some time of image/idea generator. The next time you see an inspiring picture, use it as a story prompt. Let the picture be your guide for your esthetic. Glorify the writers rule, “Show don’t tell.” Saturate your reader with the details they want to hear about. Make their imagination crave for more. 

Do not fall into the trap of assigning weak adjectives and adverbs to your sentences. Study the following example:

Flavia walked into the coffee shop. She smelled the baking pastries and looked through the glass at the yummy looking snacks. On a wall, a blackboard contained a menu with fancy names for foods. 

Pretty boring, is it not? The descriptions are weak and do not spark the imagination. Now look at the next example: 

Flavia stepped eagerly into the coffee shop. Warm air surrounded her, and soft jazz tunes played in the background. A sweet and savory aroma of pastries filled her senses. She plastered her nose to the glass protecting the desirable desserts. Glancing up, she saw a blackboard hanging on a bare brick wall. Lacy handwriting spelled the names of “Chocolate Cherry Crush” and “Very Vanilla Vittles.” 

The last paragraph was not a great example of aesthetics, however, it described the atmosphere much better than the first example. 

Capture a feeling, write the aesthetic, portray an atmosphere and your readers will fall in love with your story. 



Why You Should use Myers Briggs for Discovering Your Characters


Across the world, writers search for the best way to portray three-dimensional characters. Unfortionetly, a big mistake that young writers make is to simply assign a few quirky traits to them. I was caught into this trap when I first started writing.

What makes a character compelling is not their interests but their weaknesses and motivations. 

My method for creating compelling characters is by using the amazing personality test, Myers Briggs. If you have not taken the test, I encourage you to take it. It has helped me learn much about myself and others. It only takes about fifteen minutes and is completely free. You can take the test here.

Myers Briggs:


Myers Briggs sorts people into sixteen categories. While this may sound confining and simple, it is quite complicated. Each type has four dominant qualities out of eight total qualities. 

Extroverted vs. Introverted

Sensing vs. Intuitive 

Thinking vs. Feeling

Judging vs. Percieving 

Therefore, an ESTJ is a person who is more extroverted than introverted, processes his information through his senses rather than his intuition, makes decisions by thinking logically rather than how he feels, and is more planned and organized rather than flexible and spontaneous. Judging and perceiving have nothing to do with being judgmental or perceptive.

An INFP on the other hand, is introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. 

How does this apply to our life? What is so important about these four letters?

It turns out that Myers Briggs is very accurate about a person’s strengths and weaknesses, how they relate to each other, and what careers they are likely to pursue.

It is imported, however, that you follow these two rules for taking the test:

  1. Be honest, even if you do not like it. Do not craft your own personality.
  2. Avoid answering in the neutral section.

Sounds interesting? It gets better.

Each type uses their thought processing letters (N or S and F or T) in different ways. For instance, an INFJ uses their traits in this order of importance:

Dominant Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Auxiliary Function: Extroverted Feeling (Fi)

Tertiary Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Inferior Function: Extroverted Sensing (Si)

Yes, all types use all four letters (N, S, F, T) in their life. However, they use their Dominant and Auxilary function the most.

Myers Briggs gets more complicated than this. However, I do not want to overwhelm you with a long post, so I’ll get to the characters. I will do more posts on Myers Briggs and particular types in the future.

How to Discover Your Characters Using Myers Briggs: 

Step 1: Become familiar with each Myers Briggs type. (16 Personalities has detailed information about each type.) 

Step 2: If you know your character well enough, you should be able to find the Myers Briggs type that matches him or her. 

Step 3: Study and research the type. Know your characters functions (Dominant, Auxilary, etc). Read about how they relate and connect with other types. 

Step 4: Chose two sub-types for your character. These two subtypes should only vary from your character’s main personality by one letter. For instance, an INTJ could have a subtype of an INTP and an ISTJ. 

Step 5: Read about your characters shadow personality. A shadow personality is when a person reverts to the opposite of their type. E.g. an ENFP’s shadow personality would be an ISTJ. 

Step 6: Now, you may assign your character a few interests and quirks. You can also research what hobbies your character’s type is likely to have. 


Discovering your characters with Myers Briggs will boost the believability of them. Understanding exactly how your character perceives the world will keep them consistent in all their interactions. 

Myers Briggs has helped me craft my favorite character, Liinha. I have been working on Liinha for almost two years. She is an INTJ, with a subtype of an ISTJ and ENTJ. I am an ENFP, thus, I do not naturally understand INTJ’s. Once I started studying INTJ’s my understanding of Liinha rocketed. I saw the world through her eyes and understood what motivates her. 

Perhaps, you are asking yourself:

Why do I need Myers Briggs to create my characters? Why can’t I just continue creating my characters in my head? 

My answer to this question is this:

Characters are not created. They are born. 

The mistake that many people make is by ignoring their character. Instead of exploring their character, discovering them, and letting them grow, they stunt their writing by getting a minimal view of them. Also, by ignoring your character you also ignore a part of yourself. Are not characters an extension of your personality? Even if their personality is the opposite of yours, they still have something that you like about yourself, something that you hate, or something you desire. 

Exploring and using Myers Briggs helps you see your character as a person, not simply a cheap imitation or stereotype. Be careful not to assign a type to quickly to your character. Wait in till one type rings your characters name in your ears! 

My Last Few Tips for Creating Your Character: 

  1. Explore your character’s personality.
  2. Let them breathe, wiggle, and grow.
  3. Let them be who they are. Do not force them into a mold, or make them do something out of character.
  4. Take your time getting to know them!
  5. Love your character. This may sound quite obvious. However, we all can learn to love them more. Love your character as if it was a family member, friend or spouse. Unconditionally love them. Loving them also means understanding them, accepting them, but also helping them improve. 

If you do all of these things, you will not be the only one who cares about your characters. Your readers, too, will love them. 

Great Resources for Myers Briggs: 


Psychology Junkie


My Writing Life for the Past Few Weeks


I have not posted in a while, and I apologize. To become educated is time-consuming and leaves little time for writing.

Today, I have a short story that I wrote a couple weeks ago. I am open to any critiques that you may have.

My main point for the short story is to talk about the psychological term Projecting. Projecting is the act of blaming another for one’s own issues. In this story, the main character believes that others around her are mentally insane and socially unaware. However, it is really herself that has the problems.

Please let me know if this is evident in the actual story. I would love to hear from you all.

Without further adieu, I introduce to you A White Chocolate Mocha. 

Thumbing for my phone beside me, I looked through the windshield of my car at the looming Starbucks coffee shop. Inside the Christmas-light framed windows, sat an elderly woman wearing skinny jeans and hoop earrings. She was typing furiously on a laptop covered with brightly colored stickers saying: “Save the whales.” Across from her sat a middle-aged man with a balding scalp. He stared back at me through the frosted window. 

I opened my car door and put a booted foot out into the slushy snow.

The warmth of the coffee shop greeted my cold body. A soft murmur of voices spread about the room. I got in line behind a short man wearing a fluffy gray sweatshirt. He peered at me behind oval glasses.

“C-cold out,” he stuttered.

I gave a short nod. Instinctively, I pulled out my phone and began to attend to it seriously.

“I’ve been coming to this Starbucks for two years. I always get the same thing. Do you know what I get?”

“What?” I said, not looking up.

“A hot, white chocolate mocha. Grande.”

I looked up from my phone. The small man was grinning at me. I gave another quick nod and returned to my screen.

“I sit in that chair, over there, by the old lady with earrings.”

“Someone is sitting in your spot.”

“Yes! It’s so funny how you know that without looking up.”

I had no interest in explaining to him that I had been coming to this Starbucks for three years and that I sat in that particular chair.

A tall, blond lady from behind the counter handed a plastic cup to the small man.

“White chocolate mocha, sir? Grande?”

“Thank you!” said the small man to her. He then turned to me.

“Excuse me?” he said. I ignored him.

“Excuse me?!” he said again, this time tapping me on the shoulder with one finger.

“What?” I said, finally.

“Oh…hello! You must have not heard me. Anyway, will you please come with me?”

“Where…? No!”

Where are the mental institutions when you need them?

“Oh, but you see I am so attached to that chair. I want you to come and help me get it back. You see?”

“No, I do not. I’m very sorry but I have a lot of work to do.”

I went up to the counter and slammed a five dollar bill onto the counter.

“White chocolate mocha,” I whispered, hoping the small man would not hear, “Grande.”

“That’ll be five dollars and eighty cents, miss,” drawled the blond lady. I looked at the five dollar bill and then to her.

I reached into my back pocket, feeling a few smooth quarters. I pulled them out with two fingers, fumbled, and the coins fell onto the hard ground. I whirled around to pick them up but banged into something in the process.

“Darn! I’ve spilled my tea.”

I looked up to see a huge man wearing a black leather jacket over a shirt that said: “Snake Charmer.” He had enormous black rubber boots on and bushy gray eyebrows.

“I’ve spilled my tea,” the man repeated.

“I’m very sorry, sir. If you’ll just excuse me for a-.”

The man bent down and picked up my lost quarters.

“Here yah go,” he said.

“Thank you,” I muttered. I turned back to the blond lady and gave her my coins.

“Five dollars and eighty cents,” I said.

She glanced down at the quarters that lay in the palm of my hand and then back up at me.

“You’re missing five cents, miss. You gave me three-quarters.” A faint flutter of amusement went across her made up face.

I felt my back pocket. Nothing there. I felt my front pockets. There was nothing. I turned back to the lady.

“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t have five cents on me.”

The blond lady raised one well-groomed eyebrow.

“No cash? Credit cards? We take casino cards,” she said, smirking, “If that’s all you have.”

“I don’t gamble. Your manager won’t mind if you let go on a nickel, right?”

“I’m afraid he will,” she said, pushing my cash and coins to the edge of the counter. “Sorry, ma’am.”

A hot wave rippled through my body. My neck was wet with sweat.

“Ma’am,” I began with a desperate patience, “Starbucks is the only coffee shop that sells white chocolate mochas. I’ve been coming here for three years. And I live in Plainville! We have two coffee shops on Main street, two minutes away from my apartment. Why do you think I drove thirty-four minutes to Starbucks Coffee Shop?”

I looked down at the ground. A rusted penny lay beside my foot. I stooped and picked it up.

“Here! Five dollars and seventy-six cents! No! I’m not insane! I don’t gamble. I just left my credit cards at my apartment. Will you take the money? Deal?”

The blond lady flipped her head behind her. She gave a deep sigh.

“I’ll check with my boss. Just a minute.”

She retreated slowly away and disappeared. Behind me, I heard many sighs of frustration.

It felt much longer than a few minutes when the blond lady returned.

“I’m sorry,” she said with pathological patience, “But it’s against the rules.” She looked beyond my shock ridden figure to the next customer.

“I’ll take your order, sir.”

“Just a minute,” said a familiar voice. The huge man with the black jacket came up behind me.

“I have a nickel.” He put the coin on the counter.

The blond lady stared at him. I stared at him.

“T-thank you,” I said at last.

Handing me back my penny, the blond lady said: “The pickup counter is to your left, ma’am.”

She must have forgotten that I had been coming here for three years.

“Thank you,” I said, with effort.

I glanced towards the window. The small man was sitting in my favorite seat. He saw me and grinned. I went over to him.

“Hello,” I said, in a very nice voice.

“Hello! You had some trouble, didn’t you?” said the small man.

“Yes,” I said. I lowered my voice.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Marley. What’s yours?”

“Marely…” I said, ignoring his question, “Can you…Marley, do something for me?”

“Of course!”

“Well, you see… I hope it won’t be too much trouble-.”

“Not at all!” interrupted the small man with glee.

I tried not to show my annoyance.

“Well, really, it’s just…” I leaned closer to him and whispered: “Have you heard of Anguliphobia?”

“No. I don’t think I have.”

“Well, anyway, it means a fear of corners or angles. You see?”

“And you have it…this Angu-Angi-.”

“Anguliphobia. Yes.”

“But you came through the door! There are corners and angles there!”

Perhaps this man isn’t so mentally ill.

“Well you see, I have a very special case. I don’t like marble. Marble gives me the creeps. It’s hard and shiny. But by itself, like at the order counter, I can stand it. But marble corners! Oh! Those are the worst!”

“Ah! I see,” said the small man, “What is it you want me to do?”

“Will you go and wait for my coffee?”

“Certainly! What did you order?”

I hesitated.

“Well, it’s a White Chocolate Mocha. It’s a Grande.”

“Really! You know, I’ve been ordering that very same thing for the past two years! We must be soul mates! Do you know what-.”

“That’s very nice! I think my coffee is about ready.”

Without further words, the short man hopped up and went to the counter.  

Stealthily, I put the small man’s coat onto a nearby vacant chair. I sank into his seat and pulled out my laptop. I plugged in my headphones and waited for the man to return.

The sun streamed into the coffee shop. Across me, the same old lady with earrings kept typing. Her iced tea, that sat beside her had not been drunk.

“You are in my seat.”  

I looked up. The small man was now towering over me in my seat. He had a puzzled look on his face.

“My coffee!” I said, taking the cup from the man, “Thank you so much.”

I turned back to my computer.

“Yes, of course. But you are in my seat,” repeated the man.

I slipped my headphones on.

“You don’t understand,” continued the small man, “That’s my seat. I’ve been coming here for two years. I always sit here.”

I signed into my laptop and clicked wifi settings.

The small man tapped his finger on my shoulder.

“Excuse me? Excuse me!”

I was completely tired of this irritating man. I selected a hard rock song to blast in my ears. Then a white tab popped up in the middle of my computer. It read:

We’re sorry, but Starbucks internet is currently down.

“Excuse me?”

The End

The Tree of Life

Image result for the tree of life

Jessica Chastain on isolated plains


It is a struggle to find edifying, God-honoring movies that seek for truth. The movies of the secular world have the grand cast, the budget, and cinematography, but often I find myself disgusted by what they display on the screen. The low-budget “Christian” films are clean, but give cliché answers to questions that must be answered. Where are the powerful, truly beautiful movies? Where are the films that answer honestly? 

A few weeks ago I watched a movie that is life changing. Why is it life changing you might ask? The movie contrasts the way of nature (sin, greed, and selfishness) with the way of grace (forgiveness, love, and mercy). Written by a Catholic director, Terrance Malick, there are strong themes of grace and forgiveness throughout the film.

It opens with a quote taken from Job 38: 4,7:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?….When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

I introduce to you, The Tree of Life



The setting is a family living in the 1950’s. The family is timeless. It centers around the ten-year-old Jack O’Brien and his complicated relationship with his father. While this sounds like a major plot cliché, it is very realistic. The father, representing Nature, struggles with anger towards his sons. However, Terrance Malick does not paint him black and white. It is clear that Mr. O’Brien loves his sons dearly. He is a human being, after all. Mrs. O’Brien is the opposite. She represents Grace and loves her sons unconditionally, despite her struggles with giving her dead son up to God.

Jack O’Brien suffers from the loss of his younger brother and resents his father’s nature like ways. Emotionally damaged, Jack struggles over his tendency towards nature versus grace. 

In the last scene, Jack and his family are reconciled on a gorgeous beach, representing heaven. There he reunites with his dead brother, and his relationship with his father is healed. Mrs. O’Brien is consoled by the Virgin Marry and is able to give her son up to God. She now recognizes that God has a purpose for everything, and all outcomes are a part of his master plan.




Jessica Chastain (Mrs. O’Brien)

The Tree of Life is a powerful movie, but also beautifully filmed. Starring Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, the scenes are highly realistic. Shots of earth, water, and animals appear frequently with an ultra light brilliance. 

Psalm 19:1: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

The Tree of Life captures the beauty of God’s power in creation,  forgiveness, redemption, and ultimately Grace. 


The Tree of Life




Anne Frank: An Inspiring Adolescent​ Writer


One of the most renowned books in modern history is written by an adolescent. A teenager, with her own shortcomings, rebellious thoughts, and her own world view. Anne Frank, author or A Diary of a Young Girl or The Secret Annex, has captivated the world by her superior style of writing compared to others her age. A Diary of a Young girl puts the WWII into perceptive, by forcing the reader to see through the eyes of a young Jew in the heart of anti-Semitism. The book is Anne’s own personal diary, and once it was published, the world was open to her most intimate thoughts. Early on in the diary, the Frank’s go into hiding, in fear of being taken away by the Nazis. They are later joined by four other people, and dynamics become tougher.  The time period stretches from 1942 to 1944 and ends three days before the Gestapo discovers their hiding place. Anne Franke dies in a concentration camp at age fifteen, but her last wish, “I wish to go on living after die,” becomes true. Her diary is published by her father, Otto Frank, who is the only survivor in their family. It was discovered that not only did she give a close account of the War, but also that she was an excellent writer, and discussed philosophy and religion.

Writing Tips: 

Having little to do in the Franke’s cramped hiding place, Anne wrote frequently. Her own tips on writing are unintentionally strewn about her novel like pieces of gold in a field.

Tip One: Write 

“Paper has more patience than people.”
This is excellent to keep in mind. Your piece of paper (or computer screen) will never criticize you and never make fun of you behind your back. In fact, its sole purpose is to be filled with words. Imagine how lonely it must feel having no one to keep it company! It wants to fill up with juicy words. Don’t push the backspace, continue writing.

Tip Two: Keep a Diary 

“I don’t want to jot down the facts in this diary the way most people would do, but I want the diary to be my friend, and I’m going to call this friend Kitty.”
Keeping a diary helps put your thoughts and idea onto a page. It is a great way to practice writing frequently and helps you process your thoughts. One of the things she did in her diary that was unique is that she wrote to someone. Kitty, her imaginary friend is always there for her in the novel, always a quiet, patient friend, who hears her out. Talking to someone, whether real or imaginary, makes you self-conscience of what you are writing and how you write it.

Tip Three: Read 

“I’ve been allowed to read more grown-up books lately. Eva’s Youth by Nico van Suchtelen is currently keeping me busy.”
The better books you read, the better your writing becomes. Your writing will influence by what you read. Read cheap, poorly written books, your brain becomes hardwired to write and speak like that. Read excellent, well-structured books, your writing will improve. And your appetite for different types of literature will change. You will begin to want the better books over the cheap ones.


Anne Frank, a young girl who was driven by her passion and determination, accomplished her dream of becoming famous. At such an early age, she proved to the world that anyone could accomplish their dreams. We writers must muster every bit of passion and write our hearts out. We must write of what we know, what we want to know, what we think, and what we believe. And then truly, if we fight through the blood and sweat of the adventure of writing, we too can accomplish our dreams.

The Little Prince: The Beauty Behind it

In 1943, a book was published that would an enchant, sadden, and enthrall the modern world. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a story of unconditional love, childhood, and life and death itself. Its protagonist, a pilot who crashed in the Sahara desert meets a boy who is referred to as the Little Prince. Bit by bit, the pilot learns of the Little Prince’s background and discovers the depth of feeling in the boy’s heart. The Little Prince is in love with the rose that grows upon his planet but is hurt by her selfishness and naiveté. He takes a trip to Earth where he meets a fox who explains to him what the word  “taming” means, which is symbolic of his love for his rose.

In the end, you will grieve over the Little Prince’s choice, and shout for joy over his courage and selflessness. The Pilot too is amazed by him, and learns truly, even from such a young boy.

Read this book, and you will never forget it. While the story is simplistic to read, that even a six-year-old could understand it, its underlining themes can be taught even to the most intellectual people of the world. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote a story that will captivate your heart, and open a door into a new world of depth and abstract thought.