Government Sonnet

The Legislative Branch writes all the bills,

 

Then sends them to the president to sign.

 

Levying taxes occupies their time,

 

While they are waiting on Capital Hill.

 

 

 

Executive Branch passes all the laws.

 

Mister President, commander in chief,

 

Guides the militia to mend the world’s beef.

 

He runs the country with minimal flaws.

 

 

 

Last, but not least, is the Judicial Branch.

 

Says if a law is constitutional.

 

Self-sufficient and operational,

 

Supreme Court justices know their good stance.

 

 

 

The government might not always be fun,

But each branch works hard to get the job done.

Every Storm Runs Out of Rain

When people lose loved-ones in their life, it is hard for them to envision things getting better. It feels as though they are drowning in a shallow pond; in order to save themselves, all they have to do is stand up. But, something keeps anchoring them down. At first glance, this book may seem like a light-hearted summer read, but Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, is a cleverly titled story of the emotional vulnerability of teenagers in crisis. Readers watch as Anna Riley finds a way to cope with the loss of her first love while being an emotional support system for her best friend, Frankie Perino. Ockler wrote Twenty Boy Summer in order to show how true love never dies and how much like the cover, things are not always what they appear to be. More importantly, Ockler utilizes stream of consciousness – or inner dialogue, extraordinary metaphors, and imagery in order to convey that everything always has a way of coming back together.

From crushes to dreams, Anna and Frankie have not hidden any secrets from each other. That is until Anna’s secret summer romance with Matt, Frankie’s older brother, comes into full bloom. Anna cannot help but to feel as though she is betraying her best friend, but it’s only temporary; in just a few days, while on a family vacation in Zanzibar Bay, California, Matt plans to break the news to his little sister. As the count down to California quickly comes to it’s final hours, Matt is also brought to his final hours. A confounded Anna is forced to lock away all that remains a mystery between her and Matt, as well as her and Frankie. When Frankie asks Anna to join her and her family for a vacation back to California, it is with initial reluctance that she accepts. This is going to be the first time the Perino’s will be back to the beach house since Matt’s death; Anna understands that the Perino’s façade of normality cannot be attained without Anna being there to act as the strong one. Continuously having to put on a brave face, wears Anna down. Throughout the book, Ockler shows the private thoughts that Anna would never dare to share through stream of consciousness. When Frankie finally finds out about Anna and Matt, she doesn’t give Anna the chance to tell her all that she felt; Anna realizes that talking about Matt hurts Frankie so again, in an attempt to be the strong one, Anna tells the reader, “I just swallow hard. Nod and smile. One foot in front of the other. I’m fine, thanks for not asking.” (273). Although Anna wants to be strong for the Perino’s, reader understands that she cannot always be the support system. She too has her breaking point when it comes to Matt’s death. It is not until their summer vacation comes to an end that Anna realizes things will be okay.

Throughout their stay in Zanzibar Bay, Frankie devises a game for the girls to play and it involves ditching the A.A., Anna’s Albatross, a.k.a. Anna’s virginity. As Frankie names the game to Anna by saying they have to meet twenty boys to find the right one, Anna only smiles and nods, something she has grown increasingly good at. Frankie could have said that it had to be fifty boys and it would not make a difference; Anna would still only be thinking of one. For her, “all the ghosts [she] tried to leave home float like dandelion seed wishes [into the room her and Frankie share in the beach house]” (85). That is until Sam Macintosh comes around. AS their relationship begins to prosper throughout the summer, Anna’s feelings for Matt start to fade. Without Sam, Anna would have been anchored down to Matt for the rest of her life. Sam shows Anna how to love again and that sometimes good things fall apart so that others can begin to sprout.

At the party where Anna looses her A.A. to Sam, Frankie stumbles upon Anna’s journal – where all of Anna’s deepest secrets about Matt swim across the pages. In a livid rampage, Frankie throws Anna’s journal into the ocean. Anna, astonished at what had just happened, gather’s all of the strength left in her to not “dive back in and follow it down, down, deep to the bottom of the sea, lost for all eternity like the broken, banished mermaid” (223). The imagery in this passage gives the reader a sense of how Anna is feeling. She lost the only connection she had to her memories of Matt. As if things could possibly get worse. When enough time passes, Anna begins the conversation that mends the fragile dynamic between herself and Frankie. Broken in so many ways, the two girls miss Matt together as they silently pledge to pick up the pieces and carry on.

            Sarah Ockler has written a novel that speaks wonders. The strong, organic presence of Anna’s inner thoughts, metaphors, and imagery make this novel a standout. Some people may see the title, read the first few chapters, and assume this book is about sex, but it couldn’t be further from that. Twenty Boy Summer is about picking up the pieces when they shatter to the floor. It sends a powerful message to young adults alike, that no matter the circumstances, there are always brighter days – that every storm runs out of rain.

 

Ockler, Sarah. Twenty Boy Summer. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2009. Print.

Letter to Mrs. Scow About My Choice Book

May 3, 2013

Dear Mrs. Scow,

            Yay for choice books! As you probably know from reading my M&M entries, I absolutely, one hundred percent love to read so I am super excited for this project/assignment. When we were in the library coming up with ideas on what books to read, I looked at Dear Zoe, by Philip Beard; Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler; and The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, which was the only non-fiction, auto-biography/biography I looked into. I was able to narrow my choices down to either Twenty Boy Summer or Dear Zoe,. Both books were able to immediately spark my attention.

Dear Zoe, is about a fifteen-year old girl named Tess who is struggling with her split family, school, sex and drugs, and the unexpected death of her baby sister, Zoe. While in the library, I read the first few pages and was instantly hooked; I already began to make room in my over-populated-with-book-characters-but-that-is-okay-because-I-love-it heart for Tess to move in. But then I found Twenty Boy Summer. Sabrina has been telling me about this book for FOREVER. Literally, I bring up any book that I am reading and she doesn’t even let me finish. She just says, “If you haven’t read Twenty Boy Summer then I’m not interested.” Isn’t she such a doll? But anyways, I figured that Sabrina NEVER reads for fun, never. If she is constantly shoving this book down my throat (so to speak), then I guess I should give it a try. And that, Mrs. Scow is how I came to choosing Twenty Boy Summer as my choice book! I am positive that I will finish this book before the deadline so I will be able to read Dear Zoe, as well.

To be quite honest, my favorite types of books are ones with sappy love story lines. I do not know why, they are just my guilty pleasure; Twenty Boy Summer fits the criteria. It is about Anna Riley whom goes to Zanzibar Bay for the summer with her best friend, Frankie. Frankie devises a plan for both girls to meet one boy a day, their goal being twenty. According to Frankie, this is the perfect opportunity for Anna to have a summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie. She’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago. I am only eighty-six pages into the book and already it has anchored itself to my heart. Seriously, I have already shed tears. When Ockler writes about Matt and his death I couldn’t help it. I didn’t cry because he and Anna were in love and their romance ended shortly (well, that was part of the reason, only a little bit though), but because I was actually able to relate. Matt had a small hole in his heart. For all his life, it had been perfectly fine, but one day it just stopped working. My best friend has the same thing. He has assured me that there is nothing serious to it, but it was still terrifying. I can only imagine how Anna is taking Matt’s death. If my friend died because of this, I would be a total wreck and that is what brought on the tears. I am really beginning to love this book and cannot wait to finish it. For me, finishing a book is like I have just finished one of the greatest adventures of my life. Thankfully, I will always be able to revisit and relive those adventures time after time.

 

Toodle-loo,

           

Hunter Dilara

 

 

 

Memories

To see.
To remember.
To cherish.
To forget.
The microscopic details that we so easliy recall.
The memories that tear me to
pieces.
The tears come easily 
and once again,
I break the pormise to myself.
It’s a constant battle,
a War between remembering and 
forgetting.
I can so easily recall the city where you were born,
your favorite beach,
your favorite number, 
things that I shouldn’t remember,
but feel the need to.
Why?
Why do I continuously remember everything about
you?
It is so much easier to forget.
To forget is to move on,
To get rid of the anchor that holds me down.

But by doing that,

I would be drowning a piece of my heart.

Getting rid of it

forever.

“I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You” by Pablo Neruda – Literary Critique

Naturally, human beings crave what is the most destructive for us. We allow ourselves to love someone so much while simultaneously hating him or her with such an intense fire and passion. Our feelings of love and hatred intertwine with one another and suffocate us until we have no other choice but to allow the conflicting feelings to consume our bodies. We are constantly drowning in this love but refuse to stand up in order to save ourselves. There comes a time in everyone’s life where they find a person whom they cannot help but to love, no matter what the circumstances. In his poem, I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You Pablo Neruda is able to take all of the perplexing thoughts about love and fathom them into such a eloquent poem almost everyone can relate to.

Unfortunately for me, there were minimal literary devices. One very prominent device however, was the use of personification in stanza three. “Maybe January light will consume/My heart with its cruel/Ray, stealing my key to true calm.” The narrator is personifying January. She is hoping that with the New Year coming up, she will be able to let go of her past lover and move on. She is hoping that she will be able to simply, let go. But until then, she is going to continue loving her past significant other.

Tons of imagery was used to help me really connect to this poem. From the start I already felt connected to this poem. To me, it was like Neruda put himself deep into my mind and wrote this poem particularly for me. He captured the essence of loving someone unconditionally, despite their mistakes and their flaws. My favorite use of imagery was on line four when Neruda wrote: “My heart moves from cold to fire.” It shows how the narrator is in constant battle with herself over loving her significant other. Her lover has probably betrayed her trust, resulting in her being hurt, disappointed, and feeling bitter. But, she is able to look past that mistake because she knows all of his best qualities. This makes it so easy for her to continue to love him. Her friends and family probably disapprove of him because of the pain he has caused her thus moving her heart to cold. She knows that maybe there are better men out there, but she truly feels that he is the best for her, which is why her heart is able to move to fire.

Out of all of the poems I have read, this is truly my favorite. I stumbled across this poem when I was face-to-face with similar feelings, which is why I believe I am able to understand this poem so clearly. Neruda wrote such a beautiful poem that has anchored itself onto my heart and will stay with me for a very long time; it speaks to such a large audience. EVERYONE will experience these emotions at some point in their life and this poem offers a lucid understanding for their feelings.

 

 

Attempting Poetry.

And I never know

quite what to say

when you’re upset, and it

tears me apart that I

can’t always help you.

Just know that I’m

always here for you

and if you ever fall,

I’ll be here to catch you.

Know that I’m

aware of all

your pain, and

all the sadness

you have, and

that I’m willing

to help you carry it.

Just know that

I love you,

and it rips

my heart apart

to know you’re

not happy all

the time.

What am I learning about myself as a learner?

Since entering high school, I have learned a lot about how I learn and what works best for me. As much as I would like to think that I am great at multi-tasking, I am really not. I have found that whenever I am listening to music while I work on homework assignments (particularly L2K logs or projects) my finished product isn’t as good as it would be had I not been listening to music. I really love music and I love listening to it, unfortunately I just am not able to focus while it is playing. With that said, when I am learning, the environment around me has to be fairly quiet in order for me to process my thoughts to the best of my ability. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s true. But, when I am working in a busy environment, I am usually able to buckle down (so to speak) and turn the noise around me into white noises so that I can focus. 

As I am assigned projects, I really like to know what the finished product is supposed to look like. If I don’t know what my whole goal of the project is, I get really bad anxieties. I cannot really explain why this happens, but I think it has to do with the fact that I have a busy schedule and don’t like to waste the time I have on doing pointless work that is not going to pertain to the project. When I don’t know what my goal for the project is, I tend to slack off until I know all of the details so that I can get a clear picture of what everything is supposed to look like. For instance, when we had to do research for our ode topics, I didn’t really spend quality time researching fragrances nor did I go in depth with my research. This is because I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to be looking for. Therefore, I stuck to really general research.

Also, when I am given a project, I like to see examples. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is the teacher’s own work or another student’s work. Again, that is because I like to have an idea of what the assignment is supposed to end up looking like. I feel like Ms. Scow does a good job at this because for every project we have (think poetry recitations), she always presents to us the same project and how it should be. In my L2K class, Ms. Stern only provides us with a slideshow that breaks down every thing that we should have in our project. This is helpful because it shows me what components I am supposed to have, however it does not show me how everything is supposed to come together.

Throughout high school, I am hoping I can gain more knowledge as to how I learn. I feel like it is beneficial to be aware of what works best for me as a learner so that I can be successful.

 

Persuasive Letter About Fragrances

Dear Mr. Peters:

            Fragrances are an item that is extremely undervalued. I believe that they should be celebrated because of all the useful purposes we use fragrances for. I propose that we celebrate fragrances by having something like a school-wide paintball fight. But, instead of using paint-balls, we can use fragrance-balls. They can help us concentrate on studying for a big test, bring back nostalgic memories when we have had a bad day, or mask the harsh odor of our sweat after an intense workout. These are just a few of the countless reasons about how fragrances help us out. Because of all of the work they do for us, it is only fair that we take the time to appreciate and celebrate fragrances, don’t you think?

            To begin with, there are so many smells that have been proven to help concentrate. These fragrances include: mango, peppermint, apple, and lemons. I am certain that you of all people are able to relate to having so much work to get done, but at times, it gets simply hard to focus. During finals week, we can have a school wide “fragrance-ball” fight to help students concentrate. Not only would this be beneficial to get the students to relax and have a bit of fun during the stressful week, but the smell of mangoes (or whichever fragrance we choose to use) will linger in the air to help students concentrate. I am sure some parents may have concerns because paintball pellets leave bruises. It is possible that fragrance pellets might as well. However, so many students enjoy paintball fights and we can hand out protective gear. This idea will help people concentrate, but it can also be implemented to help people who are having a bad day.

            Secondly, there are scents that can bring back nostalgic memories for people. For instance, the smell of roasted sweet potatoes and marshmallows bring back memories of spending Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house. If I were to be having a bad day, just the fragrance of sweet potatoes would be enough to make me smile. On top of that, a friendly game of fragrance-ball would help me to not think about my troubles for a little while. Some may argue that when they are upset they want to be left alone. But, this idea of having a fragrance-ball fight could help encourage students to have fun and forget about the obstacles they need to face in their life for a short while. 

            Lastly, I mentioned how fragrances help to mask the harsh odor of teens after they are physically active. In order to help promote physical activity as well as celebrate fragrances, the whole school can take part in a Warrior Run or some sort of obstacle coarse. Afterwards, when everyone is sweaty and smelly, we can have a fragrance-ball fight. Students may oppose this idea because they don’t like certain scents. To help fix this dilemma, prior to the day of the race and fragrance-ball fight, we can have students vote on fragrances they like. For each different fragrance, there can be a specific area or zone.

            Fragrances are very beneficial to us in many ways. Whether it is to help us focus, bring back happy memories, or help us smell good, fragrances should be celebrated. Many thanks for taking the time out of your day in order to read this letter, please consider all of the reasons as to why we, as a school, should celebrate fragrances.

                                                                                    Best regards,                                                                                                                                   Hunter Dilara