This Young Writer Just Wants To Make People Smile

This Young Writer Just Wants To Make People Smile

You could say I write official fanfiction these days.

Every now and then, I get an email alert from I haven’t posted anything on that site in about five years – and my writing has improved exponentially since those days, so I’m not about to recommend that anybody reading this go track it down – but once every couple of months, someone clicks the little “favorite” button on one of my stories, and I get an email to let me know.

Sometimes that someone also takes the time to leave a review. This doesn’t happen often, but in the past few months, a few people have been commenting on one story in particular, something I wrote way back in 2011. It’s called “Tiger and Tigger.” It’s just under six hundred words long, and it describes the happenstance meeting of Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh and Shere Khan from The Jungle Book.

Most of the reviews talk about how funny the story is, but one had another thing to say: “PS: My eight-year-old daughter liked it, too.”

The next day, another review appeared: “I'll be reading this to my children. Wonderful.”

It hadn’t occurred to me before that something I wrote on a whim and threw to the internet seven years ago would one day be read to someone’s child. It warms me to imagine it: parent and child sitting together on the bed, laptop at hand, giggling over the antics of two diametrically-opposed Disney cats.

On a completely different whim, I went to an opening night showing of Avengers: Infinity War. I usually don’t do opening nights, and I didn’t expect to find a seat in the theatre, but I did.

I also didn’t expect to spend the next two and a half hours going through what I would later describe in a text to a friend as “the most brutal film experience I’ve ever had,” but I did.

I can’t ever recall hearing an entire theatre around me cry out in agony as the screen cut to credits. I don’t think I’ve ever spent an entire credits sequence trying to stop hyperventilating, or spent a good twenty minutes after that sitting in the parking lot messaging my sister before I felt up to driving home. I don’t watch movies that I think will have that kind of effect on me; I leave parties when someone puts on a horror film. Even with all the exposure to film spoilers my current job gives me, I had no reason to think that that was what I was in for.

As a storyteller, I can recognize the artistry required to create such strong emotions in an audience. I can imagine how thrilled the people responsible for that film’s creation must be, to know how large an impact they’ve had on people all over the world.

I can also come to one very firm conclusion: that is not what I want to do with my writing. Not at all.

I don’t want to create shared agony. I want to create shared joy.

Walt Disney once said that the idea for his theme parks came from days spent watching his daughters on the merry-go-round, wishing that there was a place where parents and children could have fun together. Like him, I want to create that space where people will have fun together, where all will feel safe and encouraged, free to wonder and laugh.

I suppose that’s why I ran off to Disney World after college, in pursuit of the ability to take the tigers and Tiggers who made me happy when I was little and create new stories for them that children and parents will share and enjoy.

And it’s nice to know that I’ve already been doing so for years.

Cover Image Credit: Sophie Katz

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.

Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?


With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.

We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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