Friday, November 21, 2014

"October 17" by July Third

Walking home that day was one of the hardest things I had done in a while.
I heard him, his voice, his laugh.
But he was talking to her.
Walking in front of them holding it all in.
Thinking back to the past year and all that had changed,
Wishing none of it had.

All I wanted to do was jump into the street
Shut out the pain, the agony, the hurt.
And make it all stop.
Walking, heel toe- heel toe back straight, praying I wouldn’t fall.
Yet something held me back,
 from cowering away.

That’s when I realized
I loved it, I missed it, I craved it.
This is what I had been dreaming of.
Walking slower now, taking it all in.
Knowing I would do this everyday

For a chance to hear him.

"Paranoid" by Justin Turner

The world around me slows as I head down the path away from school at 10 in the morning.  Every bird chirp and gust of wind makes me jump.  Trying not to break in a nervous I continue.  It’s my first time skipping class.  My heart races as I continue.  What if I get caught?  Or my gym teacher actually decides to take attendance? My record would be in ruins! I shakily move on and as I round the corner of the aging brick building.  My heart stops.  Movement.  Human movement.  I run back inside and dash into the library, before noticing that a squirrel was just crossing the street.  Phew. Then I realize my fatal mistake.  I’m in the library…without a pass.  I begin to think.  A million thoughts flood in my head.  Do I head back out? No I’ll look suspicious.  Tell them the truth? No way!  My mind swirls, before I realize, no one has said anything to me, the kid just standing at the front desk freaking out.  In fact there is no librarian there.  I step in, ninja-like; a little worried as to where they might be.  At least one is always here.  Then I see the familiar green backpack of Ms. Loot, the head librarian.  Something must have happened.  I enter to investigate.  I crawl behind the safety of the front desk, second guessing my decision.  I dash behind the shelf of new releases and towards the back of the library.  The fiction section is strangely empty.  I head there, curiosity overriding my fear.  Dust outlines the absence of the books that were there.  Someone whispers.  I instinctively drop to the ground.  While army crawling I cautiously peer around the bookshelf to see where the noise was coming from.  Ms. Denes, the administrator, and Mr. Traps, my chemistry teacher, were in a heated conversation pointing at the bookshelf several times.  Or were they pointing at me? I wasn’t sure because the librarians came out of the back room and the two staff members turn to speak to them.  This was my chance to get out.  I tiptoe toward the exit, but let out a quick but bloodcurdling scream when the fire alarm sounds.   I cover my mouth and dash out as fast as I could.  I snuck into the crowd of puzzled students catching the attention of my good friend Nancy.  “There’s been a fire on the football field!” Nandy says.  My eyes widen as I begin to put together the puzzle pieces.  Good thing I didn’t leave because I most certainly don’t want to be a suspect.  I don’t think I’ll ever try to skip again; I just can’t take this stress.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Why Writing Matters" by JK Rowling

Someone once told me “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go”. Over time my writing has matured in style, vocabulary, organization, and creativity. However, my realization of its significance is relatively recent. I had always been writing ever since I was younger but never fully understood its value until it started being more involved in my academic career. Writing impacts people tremendously, whether it is someone else’s work or their own work. Writing is important to me because it’s a form of expression and an essential skill to have in my academic career.

After learning how to write when I was younger, I began to keep a journal. Whenever I got frustrated with my parents or sister, which wasn’t often, I had no idea how to handle my emotions. Unfortunately this often led me to scream and fight with them.  There was so much I wanted to say but didn’t know how to put it into words so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I had so much anger built up, but no safe outlet to express it. Writing in my journal, gave me the freedom to say the things I always wanted to say and let my inner madman fly. It felt alleviating to put my emotions on paper and would immediately make me feel better. It quickly became my therapy. I even surprised myself when I began to write poetry after a tough break up with my first boyfriend. Being able to put my emotions on paper helped me through my heartbreak. I kept a separate journal for all my poems, which I’m glad I did because I love going back to read them and laugh at myself. I had never thought I could be creative enough to write poetry, but then I realized it didn’t matter if it was good; it was about how it made me feel. Not all writing is perfect and makes sense to other people. That is what makes personal writing so great and liberating. 

Throughout my education I’ve needed to be able to write more and more as the years pass and I take harder classes. I’ve been taking SOL’s dedicated to only writing ever since elementary school till just last year as a junior. I can’t even tell you the number of essay’s I’ve turned in and have been graded on, which doesn’t even include my English class. I have also had to write research papers in history and Latin. Even what I write for homework gets graded on.  All the AP exams have a writing section of the test. However writing has never been so important in my academic career until now. Because I’m applying to college my writing is going to be judged and evaluated. Writing a good or bad essay can determine my future at that college, which is why it’s so important to have writing as a skill. Writing a good essay is what really captures people and seals the deal to an acceptance to college. It became clear to me this year that being able to write well was essential for succeeding in all my classes, because you write in every single class, whether its for homework, essays, short answers, or in class assignments. This makes writing so important to me because I want to achieve my goals in school and succeed.

People frequently forget that writing is all around us. It’s the thank you letter you write to your aunt, it’s the emails you send at work, the papers you write for school, your private journal entries, or even text messages to your friends. You use writing in your personal and professional life everyday. For me, I use writing at school and at home. I’m a very private person and being able to write down my feelings, fears, and dreams allows me to be free of built up tensions and is my form of expression. Writing is also my academic strength and I enjoy doing something I’m good at.

"A Bad Smell and Where it Came From" by Lavender Li

My goodness, that smell was horrendous. Even though most people like the smell of the ocean, I can’t stand it. Of course, my English teacher decided that “Ocean Breeze” was the perfect scent for the new air freshener. When I when I waltzed into class on that one dreadful Monday and smelled the salt and seaweed, I wanted to gag. How could anybody like this smell? I think the reason for the hatred of the saltwater odor goes back to my first grade summer vacation.

As normal, my family decided to go to our local beach for a week. It was the perfect weather, a deep blue sky and a sun that filled the beach with happiness and warmth. We have gone to the same beach every year, merely out of convenience. The drive up to the familiar setting only took about an hour, perfect for traveling with children. In the past, I have always enjoyed making sandcastles and digging holes in the sand. I loved the tide pools filled with critters vastly different from the ones in my backyard. The ocean was fun to splash around in, not daring to go any deeper than halfway up my claves. Last summer, I began to notice the older children at the beach go further into the ocean, especially with boogie boards. Always smiling and laughing, I thought it looked fun. I informed my mother of what I wanted to do; venture further into the abyss. Thinking I would forget, she shook her head and replied “next year”.

Now, one year and a remembered promise later, my younger brother and I decided that this was the day we learned how to boogie board. I dragged my mother over to the stand nearby selling the boards. She agreed to buy one for me and my brother to share. I thought this was fair, as we could always get another one later. Inspecting every board, I picked out one with a bright blue checkerboard pattern. Smiling with joy, I ran right into the ocean, not looking back for a moment. I took the blue board out to the open sea and tried to catch a wave, mimicking the older kids on the beach. Peering behind me, I saw a medium sized wave coming straight at me. Thinking this was the perfect wave, I kicked my feet as hard as I could to get momentum going. Next thing I knew, I was flying on the wave until I suddenly lost my balance, and was thrown violently into the ocean. Behind me, another wave was hurling toward me, tossing my under again, flipping head over heels like a gymnast. I gasped for air, breathing in the water instead. I felt my lungs fill up with the salty water, suffocating me. Fear engulfed me, causing me to panic. Somehow, I managed to find the soft sand beneath me and stand up. At this point, tears were streaming down my face as I waddled over to my mother, who was videotaping the entire experience. This was when I decided the ocean was the worst place to go. I was petrified of the sea ever since. The rest of the vacation was terrible as well. I refused to go anywhere near the water and sat silently on the beach, afraid the ocean will stand up and eat me, just like a bad horror movie. To this day, I still cannot stand the ocean, as it brings back memories. Even the smell causes me to panic. 

 It looks like English will be a long year. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

October 2014 Statistics: Busiest Month Ever!

"Mirror's Lament" by Justin Turner

What am I?  A slave. A slave to everything you do, and everything you say.  I have no control, no reason as to why I must listen to you and mimic what you say.  I don’t know your thoughts, but here I am at your command.  I’ll do what you wish, but only because I can’t do otherwise.  You make the decisions and you get to enjoy them, while I, doing my perfect impression of you, get to spend the time wondering why.  But what am I to do?  I’m only your reflection.  I’m in every mirror, shiny object, or pond you pass by.  You look at me when you pick out our imperfections, or when you’re brushing your teeth.  Other times, you don’t even notice me as I ripple through the slow current of the stream.  I know you like no other, yet know nothing about you.  Your actions are a mystery, but I know exactly what you’ll do.  We’ve grown up together, spent every moment of our lives together, but you’ve never actually talked to me.

What I’d do for some control, a chance to think for my own.  I’ve copied your mistakes all your life; I want to make my own.  I want to know what it’s like to kiss someone you love, and go exploring for something that I’m passionate for!  I want that power to think for myself.  One day.  One day you’ll see me doing what I want.  One day I’ll run my fingers through grass, and laugh at something funny.  Truth is I may be you, but you are definitely not me.  One day I’ll break the bondage of the reflections of the world, and you’ll see what it’s like to be in our shoes.  One day. 

"Why Writing Matters" by Victoria Lemmings

Writing matters because writing is communicating. We all want our voices to be heard, and writing provides an outlet for that passion of self-expression. Writing is taking a complex idea that is living and growing in your head and transferring it onto a piece of paper so that it can be shared with and appreciated by others who may have not previously seen things the way you see them. Writing is the preservation of the knowledge of others all around you, a way to keep track of history and conserve the words of those who came before us. Writing offers new perspectives and expands the scope of our minds. I have found that when spoken words fail, the written word speaks.

In the scope of the world, writing is necessary to keep history alive and to help us remember what has come before us. Historians write in history books so that we remember the past of our country and the surrounding world, not only so that we don’t make the same mistakes again, but also to commemorate and celebrate the accomplishments of our pasts. Storytellers write down the cultures and beliefs of a people so that their culture can be preserved into the future. A hundred years from now, the people of 3014 will hopefully look back at a novel by John Green to examine how teenagers lived in the 21st century and use our example to shape their own. Without writing, our achievements, greatness, and also downfalls will cease to exist with the inevitable passage of time.

In my personal life, writing helps me make sense of the world around me. Sometimes it’s easier to write out why I’m upset or annoyed than to tell someone. In the safety blanket of a worn notebook, I feel confident because my voice won’t break and I won’t stutter. With writing, my words will flow onto the page and suddenly I realize that in my hastily scribbled words I’ve discovered more about myself than I knew before. Sometimes my upcoming “word vomit” unintentionally reveals what I’ve been thinking the whole time but been too confused to comprehend. Seeing these thoughts on paper offers me much-needed clarity. Furthermore, writing opens a doorway to the amazing creativity living inside my mind. I have so much going on up in my head, and so many imaginary scenarios and fictitious characters that are just itching to find expression in a piece of creative writing. However, in my day-to-day life, this creativity often lays dormant, hiding under the thousands of other concerns clogging my brain. But when I apply myself to creative writing, these characters break out of their shackles and bubble to the surface. Writing provides the key to their previously closed doors, an outlet for the endless stories inside my head.

Academically, writing is the way to communicate understanding and knowledge. I write in almost all my classes on homework, notes, and assessments to convey my retention of the material. How else will my teacher have tangible evidence that I’m learning anything? Someone can be extremely intelligent and store a world of knowledge up in his brain, but if he doesn’t have an outlet to prove that he possesses this great gift, there’s no point. His intelligence doesn’t benefit anyone when it’s just locked away. Academic writing teaches students to break the locks on their brains in order to express themselves and share their wealth of knowledge that’s too often hidden. This expression is a form of communication that is a vital skill which must be taught and practiced.

What about writing to learn? This is essential. Whenever I have a topic for school that I’m confused about, I try putting some time aside to write about it. I’ve found that, similar to writing out my feelings in a journal to realize my emotions, writing to learn academically has significant benefits. Writing gets one’s cognitive juices flowing and brings underlying ideas and themes bubbling to the surface and ready for use. Writing to learn gives one the chance to think endlessly and fully. If someone learns how to write well they will think well because writing is just documented thinking. We have to think to learn.

Ultimately, writing is irrevocably significant to the world, to schools, and to the individual. Write to learn, write to communicate, write to discover new things. Write for academics and write to think, but above all else write for yourself.