Monday, December 21, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mind Over Matter, Value Essay

Phoebe Prince
Mr. B-G
Block E
Mind Over Matter
Where have today's values gone? Everyone is so preoccupied with their electronic gadgets to appreciate simple moments like the first snow fall of winter or hearing the words I love you for the very first time. We live in an impersonal electronic society, is that what our values have gone to? We no longer appreciate simple conversations now that we have twitter and face-book. Personally I can't believe that reading an email would have the same effect as speaking with someone face to face, making a moment.
I get into my pink fluffy onesie my feet tingle as they rub off the soft cushioned fabric. I head downstairs into the kitchen. The walls our heath green with various paintings of vegetables. I live in an old country house with a barn door and all the furnishings to boot. My fathers sitting at the dining table reading a thriller type novel as per usual with a half glass full of white wine next to him. The fire is roaring and the smell of hydrangea's wafts through the air. I curl up on a chair adjacent from my father making sure to be cosily tucked in near the fire. He puts down his book and says, "Now what is on your mind tonight my dear?" From there on we start a heated debate about almost anything. Our conversations range from sex, drugs and rock and roll to matters of great importance such as ancient religions, politics and criminal justice. No subject is off limits with me and my father.
I click in my glossy silver i-pod into my speakers. I turn up the volume full blast, the walls vibrate from the sound of System of a Down screaming out "Chop Suey". I'm sitting in my room on my mattress (I broke my bed one evening whilst jumping on it). My walls are covered with doodles, posters, lyrics and memories. I have the lyrics to "I love college" by Asher Roth printed on my walls. I start off by listening to some Arctic Monkeys, they always get me in a good mood. My mix soon turns into some darker music. My i-pod reflects me inside throughout. Its my constant companion. Soon my boyfriend rings me up, "Phoebe c'mon man lets go for a spin, bring your i-pod." I get into his Civic and he starts driving. The windows are down and the air is blowing through my hair, I plug my i-pod in and the Alex Kidd starts pumping. Alex Kidd is by far my favourite DJ. The words "ecstasy" are throbbing in my ears. Leem starts speeding up we're going well over sixty miles an hour. We change the music to some Chemical Brothers and The Avalanches. He drops me outside the farm across the road from my house. I now put on "Sandiego Song" by the Coronas.
I value both my i-pod and my nightly conversations with my daddy for both different yet similar reasons. My i-pod is stimulating to my body as I can't help but move along to the beat, it is also the soundtrack of my life, I have a song for every moment and mood of my day. Without it I would be lost. Its also therapeutic for me I find it easy to relate to the lyrics in music and let them wash away any emotion I'm feeling. As for my nightly conversations with my daddy I treasure them dearly they stimulate my mind to no end, he has increased my knowledge of different dialects, cultures, religions and politics. I learn about the world around me even though I don't leave my kitchen table.

Both my i-pod and my conversations with my daddy make me think, one with its thoughtful lyrics that I relate to and helps me deal with my own personal problems. My nightly conversations make me think about other people and the world that I'm in. I become more emotionally and intellectually mature through both these activities. Although I still value such items that don't have such significant effects on me. Sometimes I love just walking around in my favourite heels and feeling like the most confident girl in the world, but mostly I just like sitting back and discussing politics with my dad.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


“1st Quarter Outside Reading Review”

Cutting; Dr. Steven Levenkron
Genre; Self help.
Norton company, 1999.

Cutting is written by Dr. Steven Levenkron a psychotherapist. It’s not really a story as such, Levenkron writes about his encounters with self mutilation and the psychological side of it. He goes through multiple stories of patients who all have become self mutilators through different circumstances and attempts to understand the tabooed subject.
“Levenkron understands the need for sharing basic information about this taboo subject as well as strategies for treatments. As a therapist who has worked with this problem for more than twenty years, he has much to offer. Levenkron is also a gifted writer, who, with this book, adds to the growing genre of creative nonfiction in which personal narratives… and engrossing stories provide information about a complex subject in a medical or scientific field.” – New England Journal of Medicine. The cover reads “Cutting casts an eye on the emotional pains behind a dark adolescent practice. – Salon.
From a personal point of view I can see that Levenkron does truly understand the concept of self mutilation and how it’s not about suicide in most cases it’s about trying to transfer the pain from emotional to physical pain which is a lot easier to deal with for most adolescents who most likely don’t even understand how they’re feeling. Levenkron uses a narrative form for this book and tells the story from an unbiased perspective. Cutting is similar to some of Levenkrons other books like, The Luckiest Girl in the World, a novel about a self-mutilator; and Anatomy of Anorexia. They all contain the same theme of mental anguish and recovering from it.
“What does it feel like to cut yourself, deliberately, until you feel pain and start to bleed? Why would you do this? What does the experience of pain do to you, or for you? These are the questions that all self-mutilators ask themselves amid their desperation and shame. The answers come from many directions and have many meanings.” (31) Levenkron uses a lot of questions in his writing, I think this is a good method as it makes the reader feel that the author as well as the reader in figuring the self-mutilator out as we read.
Some questions that arise from the book for me are; how does the author himself cope with dealing with such a morose field? How does he manage to understand what’s going on inside the self-mutilators head? I think Levenkron does a great job of bringing self mutilation a usually tabooed subject in our society to light. I think he wrote the piece to show that people shouldn’t be afraid of speaking out about self-mutilation and those who do it shouldn’t be condemned as selfish. This book I really connected with as I found there was truth in every word that Levenkron wrote and it helped me comprehend what people close to me have gone through.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Child Called Dust!
It started with one call. My husband Jock and I had been on a US adoption list for months now and had gotten a bit pessimistic about the idea. Then one day I received a call from our agency. A waspy voice on the other end informed me that there was a child in America waiting for us to come get him. We were in a euphoric state the whole journey over from London. I was to get a boy! My ex husband, Tony, and I had lost our child in a tragic horse accident many years ago. Soon after, we divorced and Tony went on some insane trip to Africa. It was a far cry from the Tony I had known and once loved. Anyway soon after he left there was no sight or word from him again, so he was presumed dead. I mourned my ex-husband's loss for the appropriate amount of time; no more, no less. I also waited for the appropriate time to marry my love, Jock Grant-Menzies, Tony's best friend. After the wedding Jock and I moved to his London estate. Jock wanted children as soon as possible but I refused to go through the tormenting years of infancy again. If there was to be any child, we would have to adopt him.
We arrived in the States after an anxious journey. Although I wasn't overly excited about having another child I was ecstatic at how happy it made Jock. The sky was a blanket of gray clouds, the air was crisp. We sat in the waiting room for hours until we were at last called into the little lime green office. The carpet was faded blue and looked like it was used as an ashtray. The woman sitting behind the pine desk was almost emaciated, her cheek bones stuck out. She wore a ridiculous amount of rouge on them; She wore a canary yellow pant suit, oh how "American" she was. Her voice was low and raspy, she held a cigarette in one tacky bejeweled hand and the adoption forms in another. Her office was bleak the lime green walls had clear damp stains on them and the entire room smelt stale. There was a rubbish bin beside the door i could see the rest of her ashes along with what looked like a bottle of wine. The one window the office had stared out onto a dark austere street with a flickering lamppost on the corner and the grody yellow taxi's were all in a line next to the pathway. The child we were to adopt was named Dave Pelzer, he had been viciously abused by his mother. All he needed was a home that could support and love him unconditionally. After all the papers were signed the woman called Dave in, he was nauseatingly angular. His soapy tufts of black hair fell over one of his sunken watery blue eyes. I went over and gave him a hug. He looked so defenseless and innocent how his mother could do the terrible things she did to him I'll never understand.
When we got home Dave was awestruck by his new house. "Do you like it?," I asked, he nodded still stunned at the town house before him. I sauntered in the grand engraved oak door and motioned for Dave to follow. Our foyer had a white marble staircase leading up both sides, there was a mural of the "birth of Venus" on the ceiling with a Waterford crystal chandelier hanging. I looked down at Dave, he looked like a deer caught in head lights. "Well what do you think?," I inquired as softly and warmly as possible. A quiet voice came from Dave, "Its lovely".His timid demeanor was endearing I couldn't help but find him lovable. "Thank you!," I replied proudly, "I've just finished having it decorated, by a dear old friend Mrs. Beaver." "Now come on let us head up stairs and I'll show you to your new room I hope its to your liking."
The next week went by swiftly. I spent most of my time during the day teaching Dave to play chess. One day Dave mentioned his mother. "I hated her. She treated me worse than a slave, I was an it to her," he murmured while his fists shook. "Well," I trilled, your Dave to me, a boy who has brought me joy I thought I would never feel again." "A Few years ago when I was married to my first husband, I had a son, he died in a horrific horse riding accident." "Its nice to have a child in the house again." Then Dave did something I'll never forget, he looked at me with eyes full of tears and said "Thank you.. Mom.." Although in a way I feel as though I did a disservice to Tony with our divorce, I will make amends by giving Dave a loving, safe home.
I woke up Sunday morning bright and early. The sun draped in through the curtains and gently awoke me. I looked around my bedroom I had all the toys I could dream of. The walls were blue and had posters. I crept out of bed and across the halls, I peaked inside, there she was attractive in a waif like way, her blonde curls gently fell around her shoulders and framed her long face well. She was sitting in bed cuddled up in a chiffon robe with the paper. The whole scene looked picturesque. Then Brenda saw me, "Come in dear I'd love your help with the crossword!" I edged my way in holding my head down worried that maybe if I looked up that I'd be back in America in my old house. She patted the bed assuringly, I hopped beside her and she gently cradled me in the nook of her arm. As I sat there in the plush room filled with rich fabrics, I thought maybe I'm finally home.