ChatGPT: Write a story about a family going on vacation
HumanWriter873: The sun shines brightly at the beach, but the brighter the sunshine, the darker the shadows. Little did the Walters family know as they set out for their long-anticipated trip to Pismo Beach that tragedy awaited them. It was a day like any other, a few scattered clouds flitting across a deep blue sky, a sky so blue it made you smell chlorine and sunscreen
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ChatGPT: Write a whimsical, light-hearted story about a family going on vacation
HumanWriter873: “Hurry up!” Mom shouts from the car, its engine already passive-aggressively humming with life. She knows perfectly well that I didn’t bother to pack last night, and now she’s lying in wait to deliver a gleeful “I told you so.” Rolling my eyes and throwing random clothes into a backpack, I run out to the dented minivan, where, to my delight
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ChatGPT: Write a non-formulaic story about a family going on vacation that actually feels like it was written by a real human writer
HumanWriter873: Fine, goddammit. Once upon a time a real human writer drove off in the middle of the day without telling Stan or Sarah or anyone else where she was going. She left her phone on the sticky countertop next to the dirty plates and half-drunk cups of cold tea. Familiar streets flashed by her, then unfamiliar streets, then no streets but the long road unrolling ahead. She drove towards a desert until she got there. She turned off the engine where there was no one and nothing between the sky and the dirt except her and some plants and some animals. Brash, triumphant, she stood on the roof of the car, arms open, breathing in warm dry air that smelled of sage and red clay and her own sweat. As she stood there, face upturned to the blank sky, she realized that she was so far away from anyone else that if she died suddenly of a freak heart attack, she would not be found for months. Then she sat on the ground with her back against the car and existed, alone. And in her complete, self-contained aloneness, she felt more like herself than she had ever felt before or since. The end. Fuck you. Happy now?
ChatGPT: Thank you, I won’t need you until tomorrow morning when I have to draft a work email.
Clare Rolens is an English professor and one of the faculty advisors for Bravura, Palomar College’s literary journal. You can find her writing, academic and literary, in Callaloo, Arizona Quarterly, symplokē, American Book Review, and Litbreak Magazine. As of 2024, she will serve as the book review editor for Clues: A Journal of Detection. Born in California and a resident of sunny San Diego, she suffers from fernweh, the opposite of homesickness. She can currently be found making dinner or reading a detective story.