Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let the Music Burn

In a world as crazy as ours is, how do we know what we value? What used to be a family dinner every night, chatting about the days events, has turned into the buzz and beeps of cell phones and the internet, with the sound of fingers tapping away on the keyboards. The time we spent with those who matter most to us used to be the most valuable, but is that true anymore? Everyone has their own opinion on value and what they value. I value my schoolwork enough to continue writing this paper but do you value my school work enough to continue reading it?

As I place the ear buds into my ear and the familiar music of my favorite artists fill my head, I escape into my own world. My iPod allows me to escape whenever I need or want to. It's a silver iPod nano. It's not new and it's not in the best shape, but it plays the music I want to hear and that's all that matters to me. To cover the scratches and scrapes from numerous drops, I made an iPod skin. It’s made of one of my favorite pictures I have, my friends Tess, Nicki, Hannah and I at our 8th grade step-up ceremony. We're dressed up out of our usual jeans and hoodies and into dresses and heels. We're all smiling, happy to finally be out of the middle school. Under the picture consists the words "Best of Friends". I see this skin and my friends and I every time I take out my iPod, which is very often.

I don't know how much my iPod cost because it was a gift. My aunt gave it to me for Christmas after she heard me begging to my parents. As I sit in the car listening to Taylor Swift, I remember opening the gift. I had an idea that it may be an iPod but I didn't want to get my hopes up and then not get it, so I tried to convince myself otherwise. Listening to my iPod makes long car rides and plane trips go by faster or relaxes me while I lie on the beach with the sun beating down upon me. To me it doesn't matter how much my iPod costs because the happiness it gives me every time I release the hold and press play is worth it.

The smell of wood burning and the crackling of the flames give me the most welcoming feeling. It's almost like the fire is pulling me towards it, begging for me pull up a chair, relax, and roast a marshmallow to perfection. Every time, I give in. It's getting cooler as I change into my sweats and a hoodie, and pull up a chair as close as I can get without possibly burning myself. This is what I wait for all year, the summer air; slightly cool when the sun sets, my family and friends, and a fire burning the night away. Without saying a word, I know what everyone is thinking. Can we get a fire bigger than the one across the lake finally?! Usually, we can't. We all have the secret hope that tonight may be the exception.

When the fire finally starts going naturally, it's time. As we all jump to the table to be first to grab a marshmallow and a stick, we each eye the chocolate and graham crackers awaiting our toasty marshmallow. I pull my chair as close as I can before I get yelled at to back up before I fall in.

Toasting the perfect marshmallow is about finding the right spot in the fire, being patient, and constantly rotating the stick. It's the second step that gets me every time, patience. I guess you could say it's not really my thing. Usually, when I can't wait any longer to eat my gooey marshmallow or delicious s'more, I give up on the patience, light my marshmallow on fire and then extinguish the flame with a breath. It may not taste the same as a golden brown perfect marshmallow, but it's the satisfaction that matters to me. I break the graham cracker in half, trying my hardest to make the pieces even. Next I grab the best looking pieces of chocolate, place it on my graham cracker, lay the marshmallow and the final cracker and it's done. For a second I see how good it looks and almost don't want to eat it. That thought quickly passes and the aroma of the flavors blending reaches my nose. Moments such as these, are one of the things i value most.

I value my iPod and my summer nights at the fire equally. It's not that I can't decide which I like better, it’s more that I like them for different reasons that it's too difficult to compare. My iPod may cost more than a relaxing night, but it can't take the place of the memories I have, enjoying the fire and its benefits. Neither value to me can give what the other gives.

My iPod and toasty warm fires both allow me to relax. When I’m listening to my iPod and when I’m sitting by the fire, I automatically forget about the things that happend that day, and just enjoy what I'm doing.. There’s something about the way they make me feel, like I’m the only one around and nothing else matters except that moment.

With everyone in the world questioning value and judging other people because of their own perspective of value, it’s what matters to personally to each other that means the most. So, what someone values most is based on their personal opinion of value. I know what I value, whether it’s listening to Taylor Swift, or it's a “Friday night beneath the stars”.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sarah Dessen - Along for the Ride- Book Review

The book, Along for the Ride, is about a teenage girl named Auden and her summer before heading off to college. Auden is a night owl and never sleeps until the morning. Her parents are divorced and her father is remarried. Auden lives with her mom but decides to go and stay the summer with her father, his wife Heidi, and their daughter Thisbe. They live in a small town on the beach and there Auden goes on a quest to get a second chance at a childhood she never had. For the first time Auden has friends and a love interest. Auden has to decide what is really important in her life and what she needs to do to keep herself, her mother, her father, and her new friends happy.

One review quote that I specifically agree with is, “I love Sarah Dessen’s style and how easily it is for me to slip into the character’s world”. I agree with this quote because while I was reading this book, I did slip into the small beach town and I felt as though I knew each and every character personally.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style because it was easy to read in the terms of a teenager. Everything that each characters said was believable and wasn’t irrelevant to something that character would say. Sarah Dessen’s writing reminds me of another one of my favorite authors, Lisi Harrison. The two authors’ writings remind me of each other because they both write teen book that are believable and I can relate to what is going on with the characters, how they act and what they say.

One quote from the book is, “He kept talking, but I’d heard this song before, knew all the words, so I just sipped my coffee.” I chose this line to reflect the authors writing style because I think that every teenager can relate to this line in some way. For example, everyone knows that line that their parents say over and over and that’s exactly what Auden means when she said that she heard this song before and knew all the words.

From this book, I learned to not take my childhood for granted. Some people grow up too fast so I learned that I should take advantage of the time I have being a kid and teenager and not rush into my adulthood.