Updated: Nov 17, 2021
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." - Deuteronomy 6:6-9
I am Designed to Communicate
Language is a gift from God. The very first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells the story of Creation, in which God created everything with His voice, simply speaking all of the universe into being. After creating Adam & Eve, God spoke to them and gave them instructions on how to take care of the Garden of Eden. Even after humans rebelled against God at the Tower of Babel, He still continued to bless them with the gift of language --- albeit many different languages that accomplished His purpose of having humanity populate the earth.
If it weren't for God's gift of spoken language, there would be no written language. And if it weren't for written language, there would be no Bible for us to read and learn more about who God is and how much He loves us. Therefore, He created language precisely in order to have a relationship with us. He inspired over 40 different men to write the 66 books of the Bible, which remains to this day the best-selling and most widely-published book of history, poetry, and prophecy ever written. Although math has been called "the universal language," the Bible does not contain any equations. Instead, it is full of images and stories that are applicable to our lives. It should come as no surprise, then, that after a long day of thinking, my brain can no longer hold facts and figures. Instead, I seek stories.
One of my Physics professors once told me that he had two choices when preparing to write his doctoral thesis: he could write a lengthy academic paper than only his review board would read, or he could write a simple, understandable article in plain English that non-physicists could understand. He chose to write for the common person, and so have I.
Because language is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us (only exceeded by His great love expressed through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ), I should treat the ability to write and express my thoughts, plans, and feelings as an incredible privilege. Therefore, it is with extreme gratitude that I am pleased to present a summary of my past and present written works. Not all of these creative projects are equal, but they are all equally miraculous.
Creative Writing Project #1: Blog Posts
Someone once said, "The best way to learn is to teach." Maybe that explains why I enjoy sharing my latest writing projects with others via my personal blog. Or maybe I just want to convince others to switch to 24-hour timekeeping. Either way, the blog on my personal website (which you are currently reading) is an incredible place to record my thoughts and continually tweak them over time. In fact, the reason why many of my blog posts (including this one) appear to have been published recently is that I am continually editing the content to keep everything fresh and up-to-date.
With over 70 blog posts so far (and counting), it can be difficult to know where to start. For your enjoyment, I have personally curated the following "Greatest Hits" list of blog posts, which I believe showcase both my diverse range of interests and my best creative writing:
Best Letter: Thank You for Caring: An Impassioned Plea
Best List: How I Rank All 50 Disneyland Attractions
Best Photography: Staples I Have Known
Best History Lesson: Counterfeiting and Colonial Currency
For example, leaving voicemail can be downright boring. Here's my collection of creative answering machine messages.
Creative Writing Project #2: Poetry
It is practically a prerequisite for grade-school graduation that every student must have tried their hand at some form of poetry, whether it is simple rhyme or complicated haiku. The problem, of course, is that kids have difficulty understanding the importance of meter and rhythm when writing poetry. That is why I have revisited some of my early attempts at writing poetry and updated them with more mature phrasing. Unlike truly great poets, I tend to write basic rhyme that never deviates from a predetermined number of syllables. The benefit of this, of course, is that it is fairly easy to develop a cadence when reading the poetry. Here is my most recent poem:
Best Rhyming Poem: An Original Christmas Poem
It should come as no surprise that much of my best poetic work is rhyme. Unlike free-flowing poetry, which has no restrictions on length or style, the boundaries and patterns dictated by rhyme help me to thrive, despite the obvious restrictions. That is why I have found myself fascinated with an unusual type of poetry: the square poem. Before I share my personal efforts at crafting a square poem, the following video provides an excellent demonstration what a more professional attempt looks like:
The poem in this video is described in greater detail at this website. At its most basic, a square poem is simply a poem that can be read both across the lines and down the columns. As more words are added to each line, writing a square poem that actually makes sense becomes more difficult. This is why I have been practicing writing square poems with only four words per line. My best attempt at a square poem is as follows, with humorous results:
I Have One Dog
Have You Dog Too
One Dog Too Much
Dog Too Much Poo
Of course, I could have included punctuation after each line, but since the poem is meant to be read both across and down, I believe the magic of the square poem is better appreciated when the punctuation is left out and the reader is permitted to extract their own emphasis.
Another form of poetry which I enjoy is musical lyrics. The reason why so many songs are so memorable is because they feature singable melodies and rhyming words. Therefore, it is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic spawned many songs and lyrics designed to help people remember things like wearing a mask, staying socially distanced, and washing your hands. I was particularly inspired by this website to put the lyrics from the following video onto a hand-washing poster:
Here is the neutral skin-tone poster you can save for your own use:
Creative Writing Project #3: Essays
Well-researched and painstakingly logical, the inspiration for many of my essays have come from research papers and reports written for school projects at Lane Community College and the University of Oregon. You can read one that I am particularly proud of below:
With my background in writing essays, it may not surprise you to learn that many of my blog posts take the form of mini-essays, attempting to use logic, research, and cohesive arguments to change minds and convince readers. Two of my best blog-post essays are the following:
Best Persuasive Essay: Why I Switched to Twenty-Four Hour Time
Best Opinion Piece: My Stand on Swear Words
Creative Writing Project #4: Research Papers & Reports
You may not consider research papers and reports to be "creative," but just as essays require clever thought to construct a meaningful and understandable argument, research papers require even more creativity to make a potentially boring subject interesting.
Not unlike essays, my experience with research papers began in school. You can read my team's report and presentation on the future of Best Buy below:
Another well-researched paper that I have written focuses on the environmental crises that the sport of snowboarding is currently experiencing. Read my report below on how retailers like Tactics Board Shop in Eugene, OR are being affected:
Naturally, these research papers have influenced my blog posts, as well. Although much shorter, here are a few of my best-research blog posts:
Best Photographic Research: These Photos Are Older Than I Am
Best Historical Research: Oregon's Unusual Fruit
Best Safety Research: Blind Spot-B-Gone
Best Linguistic Research: The Retronym and Why It Exists
Best Spiritual Research: When Should I Worship?
Creative Writing Project #5: Newsletters
Someone once said "The best way to learn is to teach." In my case, however, the best way to learn how to publish a newsletter was to publish a newsletter. For three years, I self-published a small newsletter which I called "The Monthly Environment Magazine." It contained a wide variety of content, including puzzles, news, contests, short stories, serialized fiction, and art. You can read every single issue of my magazine at the link below:
Best Magazine: Monthly Environment Magazine Archive
Although the Monthly Environment project ended when I started to focus on my college education, I returned to the idea when I started working at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Because I was so far away from everyone I knew, I created a monthly newsletter to keep friends and family up-to-date with everything that was happening. This time, however, I created a digital newsletter that could be easily and conveniently emailed to my list of subscribers. The result was a much more polished and powerful example of design and content. You can read every single issue of my newsletter at the link below:
Best Digital Newsletter: Newsletter Archive
A much more recent example of which I am quite proud is the annual Christmas newsletter which my family sends out each year. I was asked to format the newsletter to resemble a newspaper, and by using Microsoft Publisher, I was able to get the end result quite close.
Creative Writing Project #6: Fiction
Like many others, I enjoy reading and watching fiction: both fantasy and science fiction. Also like many others, I enjoy imagining how that same fiction could be significantly improved and tweaked. In fact, that is the definition of "fan fiction." However, just because I enjoy writing fiction doesn't mean that I enjoy writing the same kind of fiction as everyone else. Whereas others tend to write fiction by saying, "What if..." and then going from there, I start by saying, "How could this make sense?" This means that my process of writing fiction is very similar to my process of building LEGO or reimagining Disney parks and attractions. When it comes to making existing fiction better, the very best examples are my "If I Directed" series of blog posts:
Best World-Building: "If I Directed Tangled"
Best Book Adaptation: "If I Directed The Chronicles of Narnia"
Best Original Film: "If I Directed Hopewell's Flying Tractor"
Best Sequel Trilogy: "If I Directed Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII, and IX"
Best Cohesive Storytelling: "If I Directed The Santa Clause"
Besides imagining improvements to existing media franchises, I also I love to tell original stories. However, I like to format my stories a bit differently from what others would do. Inspired by the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure series of books, I have written a book with branching storylines, interconnected plots, and unexpected twists and turns that puts YOU at the center of the story. Go ahead, see what you think:
Creative Writing Project #7: Anguish Languish
I recently came across a very unusual book of Christmas carols.
Perhaps it is because the English language is so ludicrously ridiculous that English-Speaking Americans, more than any other nationals, play word games galore. There are so many ways to have fun with the weird and wacky ways that English can be manipulated, and one of the best is known as Anguish Languish. Have you ever played the family party game Mad Gab? In this game, one player reads a string of seemingly unrelated and unconnected words. They attempt to read the string of words in a way that permits their teammates to guess at what the actual sentence should be.
For example, if you wanted to say "sue her," you might instead say "sewer."
An entire sub-genre of literature has been published in this vein, with perhaps the first and most famous being "Little Red Riding Hood," and the afore-mentioned song book of Christmas carols. Inspired by these marvelous works of Anguish Languish, I have given it a try myself by converting the intro song from Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" to Anguish Languish. First, watch this video to get a sense for the original wording and tune:
In case you didn't catch all of the lyrics, here is a transcript of the normal version of the song:
"Deep in the Hundred Acre Woods, where Christopher Robin plays, you'll find the enchanted neighborhood of Christopher's childhood days. A donkey named Eyeore is his friend, and Kanga and little Roo (and Piglet, too); Rabbit, and Tigger, and then there's Owl, but most of all, Winnie the Pooh!"
Now here is the Anguish Languish version of the song:
"Depend Uh-Huh Dread Anchor Would Swear Kiss Gopher Row Bin Please Yule Fined Tee Ink Ant Egg Nay Bore Heard Of Kiss Gopher Smile Good Daze. Aid Honk Key Aimed He Oar Sizes Fend, End Cane Guy Ant Whittle Room (Sand Pick Light Two); Wrap It, Aunt Pig Her, Ant Ten Tear Scowl, Butt Moose Too Far...Winning Some Pool!"
Creative Writing Project #8: Summaries
I really enjoy summarizing movies, stories, and instructions for others. I am good at explaining complicated concepts in easy-to-understand ways, and at picking the most important information out of a sea of information. Check out this blog post to see my process of making a summary more concise and clear. One good example of my ability to summarize concepts is my work creating PowerPoint Presentation slides to accompany the Study Guides for The Chosen. You can download all of the presentation material from this blog post.
I also summarized the key concepts in Netflix's adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, which you can read below:
Part of my inspiration for this style of writing is the book Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau, where the same story is retold 99 times, each time using a completely different writing style and technique. You can see this and many other unusually creative books in the following video:
Someone once said that "Writing is a way of thinking on paper." Someone At night, I used to have dreams in which I was typing every word that flashed through my brain---one painstaking letter at a time. Thankfully, my typing skills have improved, but my fingers still can't keep up with my thoughts. Here I have collected some of my most successful attempts at putting thoughts on paper.
Creative Writing Inspiration
How do I get the inspiration for my writing? For starters, I listen to a lot of different podcasts and subscribe to a lot of different YouTubers with varied interests. Here are a few that I highly recommend:
Podcast Recommendation #1: A Podcast of Unnecessary Detail
Podcast Recommendation #2: Planet Money
Podcast Recommendation #3: Revisionist History
Podcast Recommendation #4: Cautionary Tales
YouTube Channel Recommendation #1: Mark Rober
YouTube Channel Recommendation #2: Smarter Every Day
YouTube Channel Recommendation #3: Bright Sun Films
Most importantly, however, I read a lot of different books. Check out this blog post to see a partial list of the books I read a few years ago.