Ayesha Boison

“Good evening, it is January 21st, 2189, 7 p.m. My name is Bastian Greene, and this is Channel 99 News. In just two days, the annual EVOlution festival will be taking place at the City Square. It’s been one hundred years since the evolution of technology changed the world, thanks to the eager participation of various companies. We want to give a special thanks to the Prodigal Mechanization Corporation, who initially began this life-changing project.”
     Neve Maravelle overheard the faint voice on her TV, so she hurried over to grab the remote on the coffee table, and quickly upped the volume. She sat cross-legged on the sofa and listened intently to the newsman.
     “Eighteen years ago, these enormous advances introduced programming that promoted the sole use of the English language. This simplified relations in global trade, especially in business, and led to automatic and instant translation. As the demand for them grew over time, these new technologies were installed in every country in the world. Over the years, people gradually adhered to the singular language, making communication much easier for anyone visiting a foreign place. Individuals from far and wide have certainly had a smoother time immigrating from their homelands…”
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The Meta Party

Emma Morden     

Claire enters her apartment with a prominent scowl on her face, all her friends are gathered in the living room and kitchen listening to loud music and enjoying her drinks. The crowd is silenced as she slams the door behind her. They all stand around, tightening their grips on their glasses,  feeling the tension rise in the room. Claire jams her coat on the hanger, and stomps over to the drinks table, pouring herself a giant glass of wine.
       Only after a large gulp does she glance around the room, looking for one person in particular—her former best friend Kerry…


       David sat at his writing desk, typing out the words on the page with one hand as he sipped his tea with the other. He was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, and his beard was growing in. For three days he had been sitting there, avoiding light and any human contact. His story was almost a month late, and he hadn’t had any form of inspiration. At this point, he was determined to write anything at all, even if it was complete crap, just so he could hand it in for editing at least. Once someone looked it over, maybe it would give him time to think of some brilliant twist to give this story. Continue reading The Meta Party

Embracing Imperfection

Joshua Ogden-Davis

When you make mistakes, make them fearlessly.

When I arrived in China in 2010, I spoke no Chinese and had no idea what I was doing or how long I would stay. Eight years later, I’ve taught myself Mandarin and have co-authored a best-selling Chinese-language cross-cultural self-help book, Making Friends with Foreigners.

Learning a language and publishing a book may seem like unrelated pursuits, but I’ve discovered that one principle is absolutely critical to both:

Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

If perfection is the only acceptable outcome, mistakes become shameful; if you can’t make mistakes, you can’t do a single [profanity] thing.  Continue reading Embracing Imperfection

When English Meets Cantonese: A Melding of the Minds

James Zhan

English is non-tonal, meaning no matter how you change the tone of a word, the word’s meaning will not change.

I was born in Canton, China, where Cantonese is the primary language, but my mother raised me bilingually with English and Cantonese. No one did that in my hometown, but my mother was learning English before, during and after I was born, so I was exposed to it daily; when I was picking up on Cantonese, my mother started teaching me English as well. These two languages are now my primary languages, the ones I alternate between depending on where I am living. Since my earliest years, I have always been fascinated by how vastly different they are, both in terms of speaking and writing. In many ways they are the exact opposites: they exist on polar ends of the tone versus non-tone spectrum. I grasped this instinctively growing up bilingual but now, reading through the literature on the topic, I have come to see how the differences between Cantonese and English affected my acquisition of both.

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A Guide to Writing a 500 Word Writing Sample

Michelle Mogilner

You start to panic. Is this what the career of a writer is going to be like? Hours of self-doubt interrupted by the occasional fleeting sensation of inspiration?

Dear Writer,

Congratulations! You have just been told that you’re being considered for a writing position at your desired company. You have opened your email and breathed a sigh of relief that your lackluster resume was accepted with open arms. But your journey is not finished yet! You pause at the words “writing sample” and your mind runs through a list of every essay and short story you wrote in the past year that might help you guarantee your position. You slowly come to realize that all your previous work will probably not help you here. Like an end-of-term exam, you must compress your skill set into a few paragraphs that will hopefully convey the fact that you know what you’re talking about. Suddenly, you find yourself staring at a blank word document. The cursor traces the white belly of the page and the blinking black line is reminiscent of the cross-armed high school teacher impatiently tapping their foot against the hard floor.

Continue reading A Guide to Writing a 500 Word Writing Sample