Coney Island Beach, May 13, 1997

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a preview of "Rules"


When I was a kid, living in Ohio, sometimes my brother Julio and I, instead of going out and playing with our friends,we would go up to our sister's room and use her typewriter to write stories. I don't remember if we ever showed them to anyone and I don't think our stories would have made any sense to anyone except ourselves, but we had fun. And I would type until my index fingers were numb.

Growing up I enjoyed writing, but it wasn't until my high school English teacher Ms. Hunt gave my class a creative writing assignment that I discovered I could truely captivate an audience. I read my story to the class because the girl sitting next to me was afraid that Ms. Hunt would call on her and she hadn't completed her assignment. She nudged my arm saying, "Go ahead Juan, yours is good." I looked at her laughing, knowing she didn't even know what I had written. "You just don't want to be picked." I chuckled as she smiled back at me. I raised my hand and was picked to read my story.

Looking down at my chicken scratch handwriting my heart began to race as my ears began to feel warmer and my pulse was now in my fingers. With my face buried in the four pages I had written, I slowly began to forget about the class as they became more interested in my story. When I finally finished reading my story I slowly raised my head, my face was burning, and my throat was dry. No one said a word, as everyone's eyes were fixed on me. From across the room Sandra, broke the silence. "Did that really happen." she hesitantly asked, afraid of what the answer might be. Putting my story down on my desk, I looked around the room realizing I had just become a writer. I smiled knowing they needed to know. "No." I whispered and heard everyone let go of their breath, as they sighed in relief.

Today I continue to write, and I've moved onto directing as well. I always captivate my audience and take them where they never tough of going. Rules is my newest venture into that world. A world that is all to often real. A world that many people don't realize is a part of them until it's too late.

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juan e. martínez. jr.