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.