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Creative Writing
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Portfolio 3: The Cross-Country Race Of My Life (Essay Sample)



  • Turn in, typed up, something between 10-15 different exercises (at least 3000 words, but not more than approx. 3200). These should be a combination of in-class and textbook-inspired writing exercises/attempts/drafts. These will not be graded as polished final drafts—in other words, they do not have to form a coherent narrative whole, and I won't be picky about grammar & mechanics.
  • Bring a hard copy to class for peer feedback. Final draft due IN ONE DOCUMENT in D2L/Drop Box.

RATIONALE:    For 20 years, I’ve been doing research on creativity, and it’s clear that if people are going to take risks and be creative, they need some “low stakes” opportunities to do that.  I’m hoping this assignment qualifies. The stakes are lower than the longer portfolios or the final portfolio.  If you look at the criteria, you’ll see that I’m asking you to stretch yourself and try out lots of different possibilities.     

PROCESS: For other portfolios, we’ll be bringing rough drafts and commenting on them. For this first portfolio, you’ll bring at least one example of an exercise to share ahead of the deadline


Creative Non-fiction
Dear Ivan Anaya,
December 2012. It was the race of my life. The cross-country race in Burlada, Spain was a humbling experience. As if the world I had never known was embracing me; and, the clear blue skies had fallen beneath my feet. Ah. My feet. Where was my feet running towards again? It felt like forever, as if forever was merely a foot away.
And yet, not entirely so.
How could it have mattered when I knew it was unthinkable to even want to reach the finish line just as immediately as I had left? The line that had me pumping the adrenaline rush coursing through my veins reminding me that I am alive. That I am indeed alive. And when my fingertips touched the ground, I was tempted to kiss it. But no, because I knew I just had to do that one tilt. And tilt my head up I did. If I had not, I would not have seen you urging me to complete my rightful first place. Do I really deserve it?
Well, yes, there was a lot of rumbling in what I could have guessed was Spanish. I swear a couple of those rumblings were frustrations and swears. At first, perhaps, it was because I am a Kenyan running in a race in a Spanish land where of course it is a given its citizens would root for their motherland, for the one carrying the honor to run for his country.
And then, you came, naturally, you would, I knew you would. You were one of the best, trained by one of the best – 1994 European marathon champion and the world champion the next year. But then, you were gesturing as if guiding me further. Alas! You were slowing down when you could have pass by me. You were running right behind me.
While, yes, you showed perfect politeness and sportsmanship for not taking advantage when I pulled up a little short, it still bothered me. For when I have thought I have finally reached the finished line, there was still 10 meters that needed to be crossed over
I completely stopped.
Now thinking back, you said you didn't deserve running over me. You are a runner. I am a runner. Your coach was a runner. We all know victory is the only goal for runner running with their very last breath. It is what we have risked our breaths for in every muscle we build, in every endurance we gain, in every pain we muster to embrace.
Your coach scolded you of course but I could have scolded you more.
But, you know, the wind felt just right that day. Blowing right by me, us. Biting my skin raw in all its glorified silent scream. It is true that whenever you feel the wind there's no time to hesitate. Just stand up and run. The wind will act as your compass.
Til' the next time we run side by side, my friend.
Abel Mutai, Kenya
Play One: The Deal
Rain (Informant)
Jack (Hitman/Kidnapper)
Blake(Target of Hitman)
Blake receives a notice from Rain saying the location of his kidnapped sister has been found. However, Rain gets cornered by the kidnapper. He demands to know where Blake is, revealing that his sister was only a bait. Who is the real target then?
Inside a warehouse
[Jack points a gun at the back of Rain's head.]
Jack: You know why I'm here.
Rain: Let me see… to tell you where Blake is, what his plans are to spare my life?
Jack: Then you better hurry up and answer.
Rain: Why are you after him anyway?
Jack: I am only hired to do my work, not to answer questions. Spill!
[Jack nudges his head with the gun.]
Rain: Look! I'm a professional informant. N...

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