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Arizona, Chap 1.

by SofieR

Welcome to Nopal, AZ. Population, 900.

I had heard stories about the little border town where my father Javier grew up, but nothing could ever prepare me for the real thing. Just imagine reading about Neverland your entire life, then one night Peter Pan comes along and flies you to the real thing Wendy style. That’s what it was like to suddenly find myself in Nopal. To me, Nopal was Narnia, Neverland, Oz and Hogwarts all wrapped up in one.

As we drove in, I had to blink and blink and blink so my eyes could adjust to all the color. You’d think nobody in this town ever heard of a neutral. The corner market was orange, the elementary school was yellow, the church was painted in green and red stripes. Mexican colors. The colors of our people, Javi would say.

Actually, Javi hadn’t said much of anything on the drive from Burbank. He stopped the car by a small, peach-colored house and announced our arrival with an icy “We’re here”. It gave me the heebie-jeebies and I had to hold in a cringe because it was so not Javi. At this point in a normal road trip, Javi would do some goofy impersonation of a cab driver. I do believe this is your stop, miss. Or, he would say something cheesy about how his uncles built this house with nothing but their bare hands, ya know.

This wasn’t a normal trip, though. This was the week before his father’s funeral, and Javi was understandably off. We were watching Jeopardy when we got the news. I remember getting a sinking feeling in my stomach, because the only ones who called the landline anymore were debt collectors or other bearers of bad news. Javi got up, talked for five minutes then came back to the Lay-Z-Boy and just stared at the TV. When I asked who had called, he said; “My sister in Arizona. My dad just died”. Then he turned and answered for the contestant on the screen like nothing even happened.

“Who is; Christopher Columbus!”

He even got it right. It was the most unsettling thing I think I’ve ever seen, and I saw The Ring when I was five. Javi didn’t mention it again until the next morning, when he said we were heading to Arizona for the funeral and that we were staying for the entire summer. He said he wanted me to learn where I came from before I went off to college in the fall.

“But I’m not from Arizona,” I reminded him. “I’m from L.A.”

“Then I want you to see where I come from.”

I had never given much thought to where Javi came from before now. I knew he was from this little town in Arizona. I knew he had parents (obviously) and a younger sister, and that his younger sister had a son around my age who was my only first cousin. But these people were more like characters is an old fable to me than my actual relatives. Neverland, remember? Nopal only existed in stories. Now I was actually here, staring out the car window at a little peach house that looked like it was made of clay. Now, Nopal was going to be real.

We got out and started unloading our things from the trunk and I couldn’t help but think our Volkswagen, who I affectionately named “Zim” when I was six because of it’s resemblance to that creepy green alien from Nickelodeon, looked aptly out of place in Nopal. Almost like seeing a futuristic time machine in the middle of an old timey tavern.

The screen door on the little peach house opened with a loud creak and slammed shut. Javi and I both spun around to see a lady with neatly trimmed black hair, olive skin and serious brown eyes walk down the front steps toward us. Javi put down his bags elbowed me in the ribs.

“Come and say hi to your Abuela,” he said. 

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64 Reviews

Points: 733
Reviews: 64

Mon May 27, 2019 10:19 pm
Aliceinhorrorland wrote a review...

Hey, I’m here to review! I like the way you told it as a memory rather than it just happening. Although that usually tends to be harder I think. But you made it work.

But I do have some critique for this chapter:

- First off, like Phoenix said, I’m pretty sure his dad dying should’ve been a bombshell. Unless of course he’s some sociopathic being who has no human emotions. Or is some robot. I didn’t really feel anything while reading this, and I think you need to work on descriptions some more for feelings. Because if someone told me my dad died I wouldn’t keep watching Jeopardy.

- This whole thing seems very rushed. Like first we are in some room and find out some dad died, and then all of a sudden we are in a three day later scene. People can do that in writing, but you usually don’t do such a short scene and then throw them into something else.

- Lastly, I can’t tell what this is supposed to be about. I didn’t really get an explanation for everything. All I can see is some dad died that no one actually cares about and they’re going to his funeral after watching jeopardy when he should be camping. Also I know the MC never met the grandfather, but to not even think about it a little? I would’ve at least attributed a few thoughts towards the dead guy. Idk how old the mc is but he seems at least old enough to sympathize a little.

Although I did like the descriptions on the car, and you did pretty well at making me see the scene.

Apologies, if this sounded too harsh. I just think you need to spend some more time on this piece in order to effectively get your point across. But if you spend more time on it, I think this could be a pretty good model. Good luck and as always keep writing!!

That’ll be all from me. <3


User avatar
562 Reviews

Points: 14535
Reviews: 562

Mon May 27, 2019 9:16 am
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...

Hello, FlamingPhoenix here with a few things to say about your chapter on this lovely day, and to help get your work out the green room.

Okay let's start.

So out of the hole chapter there was only one thing that needs a little more work, it's your description. Now you did add quit a bit in, but I feel like it could have a little more, like when Javi got off the phone with his sister, I'm sure hearing his father is dead is a really big thing with him, so I'm sure he looked sad in some way.
I do have a few things I keep in mind when ever I'm writing, sound, sight, smell and feel. It's the four things that helps me with my description, and I'm sure it will help you too.

Well that's all I could see one thing chapter.
Other than that this chapter was really well done, and I can't wait to read the next one. I think this for a starting chapter is really good. It has me hooked and I really want to read the next chapter and find out what happens next now.
I also know what the name means to. So I have a feeling this story could get rather interesting. So I can't wait to see what will happen next.
I can't say to much about the characters at the moment because I don't really know them yet, so I do know the the main character, seeks peace in writing. So I wonder what she writers done.

Well that's all from me for now. I did really love reading and reviewing your chapter, and I hope I will get to do it again sometime, when ever you post again on YWS, so don't ever stop writing and have a great day or night.

Your friend
Reviewing with a fiery passion.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
— Alvin Toffler