Tag Archives: shel silverstein

CW14- My Media Autobiography

this assignment, to choose ten books/songs/poems/movies that chronicle my life and personality, was fun and challenging at the same time. part of the instruction was to be careful to choose media that actually reflect me, not just ones that are my favorites, and i was determined to do that at first. but the ones i chose– 4 songs, 4 books, 2 movies– ended up coming right back to my favorites anyway. i realized that the very thing that makes these my favorites is the same reason i chose them for the assignment: in each one, i connect with the author or a character in a way that makes me feel understood. 

Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary

(Book)

Emily's runaway imagination

   When I was about eleven, I picked up this book and knew immediately that I was dealing with someone very much like myself. It tells the story of a girl with a vivid imagination who was known for believing in the very things she dreamed up. As a kid, that description would’ve pretty much summed up everything about me. If I could imagine something, it was true. Animals could talk. Magic was real. Even inanimate objects had personalities. Strangest of all, between the ages of four and six, I actually thought I was a dog.

   To be honest, I’m surprised my parents never considered committing me to a psychiatric ward…

 

Peter Pan

(Movie, Animated. 1953)

Peter-Pan-and-Hook

   Throughout my life, growing up was something I always thought would never really happen. It happens to everyone else—sure. But will it happen to me? Never!  Like the legendary Peter Pan, I wanted to remain a kid forever. To me, the realm of adulthood was frightening and enigmatic—not something to be desired.

   I think I was around the age of twelve when I realized that growing old was inevitable. But at the same time, I also realized that growing up was optional. So I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that matter how old I got—twenty… forty-five…  ninety—I would never forget what it was like to be a kid. I would always keep the “child inside me” alive and kicking. At heart, I will always be free and childlike.

    “All children, except one, grow up.”

 

Mess Of Me by Switchfoot

(Song)

   This song is always a reminder to me that I’ve messed up; I’m a sinful, selfish, wretched human being, and I have no one to blame but myself. But, as the song states, I want to spend the rest of my life alive—not in death and decay. And I don’t have to lock my soul in a cage; by sacrificing His life for mine, Jesus gives me the daily chance to wipe the slate clean. I have made a mess of me, but He has made a saint of me.

 I’ve made a mess of me

I wanna get back the rest of me

I’ve made a mess of me

I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

 

  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

(Book)

giftset1vol-cover-rsz

   This trilogy in and of itself has played a huge part in my teenage years. I’ve read the books four times, watched the movies a dozen times, and you could probably say that I’m mildly obsessed with Middle Earth (my parents joke that I would go to hobbit college. It’s true.). But some of the themes present in these books also reflect themes in my life. For me, one of the most meaningful parts of the story is the example of friendship. As I get older, I realize more and more how truly blessed I have been in the way of friends. Godly, loyal, mature, always there for me, and just plain fun, my friends have helped shape me into the person I am today.

  “You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours—closer than you yourself keep it. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.”

 

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

(Book)

fallup

   A collection of poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein, this book reflects one hugely major part of my life: humor. I am almost constantly laughing or making people laugh. Like Silverstein’s poems, my humor is sometimes outright hilarious, sometimes silly and pointless, and oftentimes sarcastic. It was once said of me that ninety-nine percent of all the words I speak are sarcastic—which is not true, of course. It couldn’t be more than ninety-five percent. But seriously, I’m kidding.

 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.— Proverbs 17:22

  

Rise Above It by Switchfoot

(Song)

   One lesson that I’ve been learning, particularly in this last year, is that no person and no circumstance can control who I am. No matter if I am being judged, feeling alone, or going through some kind of trial—God will always give me the strength to rise above it. I think I’ve always been something of a rebel, but lately I’ve been discovering how true it is that no one can tell me how to live my life. I will never let another tell my soul what to fear.

Just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you’re scared.

Just because it’s law don’t mean that it’s fair.

Never let another tell your soul what to fear.

I get so sick of it,

It feels so counterfeit.

I rise above it.

 

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

(Book)

hobbit

   This reflection is actually a paradox, because my personality is, in a way, the exact opposite of Bilbo Baggins’ personality. While he would have preferred staying home with his comfy chairs, I would rather seek out excitement and adventure. But both Bilbo and I had (and I still have) the same lesson to learn: what we most desire is not always what is best for us. Gandalf pushed Bilbo out the door to an adventure that would change his life. Likewise, sometimes when I can only see how a life-changing adventure could bring good things, God simply says, “No.”

   Oftentimes, immediately after disappointment I can see how it was for the best. Sometimes, however, it takes months or even years. There may even be some things I will never fully understand in this life.

 “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea—anytime you like. Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Good-bye!” With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem rude. Wizards after all are wizards.

  

True Grit

(Movie, 2010)

truegrit

   The very title of this movie pretty much says it all. Like Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old girl bent on bringing justice to her father’s killer, I am stubborn, rugged, and outspoken. Although I’ve never formed a posse, I often take on challenges that no one expects, and I don’t let anything—fear, pain, doubt—get in my way.

 “Most girls like to play pretties, but you like guns do you?”                

Mattie Ross: “I do not care a thing in the world about guns. If I did, I would have one that worked.”

  

Tidal Wave by Owl City

(Song)

   Let’s cut to the chase: sometimes I feel lonely. Clung to by insecurity. Followed by fear. Haunted by depression. When I go through times like that, this is always my go-to song. Adam Young (Owl City) so perfectly and beautifully articulates what it feels like to experience such uncertainty. But then he reminds me that “I’ve found a new Hope from above,” a Hope that transcends all fear and doubt. A Hope that will never let me down.

It hurts just to wake up whenever you’re wearing thin.

Alone on the outside, so tired of looking in.

The end is uncertain, and I’ve never been so afraid,

But I don’t need a telescope to see that there’s Hope,

And that makes me feel brave.

 

Amy’s Song by Switchfoot

(Song)

  If I could have one thing said of me after I’m gone, I would want it to be said that I was on fire. I don’t want to be a lukewarm Christian; I want to be someone who makes a change—someone who was different. Someone who, like the girl in the song, leaves people burning with an unquenchable hunger for salvation.

Salvation is a fire in the midnight of the soul,

It  lights up like a can of gasoline.

Yeah, she’s a freedom fighter, she’s a stand-up kind of girl.

She’s out to start a fire in a bar-code plastic world.

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CW15- The Faithful Boat

this assignment was to write an extended metaphor, similar to The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. i first read the story about unconditional love several years ago, and i found it rather depressing– but it got the point across. in my version, i use a longer and less poetic style, but i tried to keep the gentle repetition and simplistic feel.

Once there was a little girl who found a sturdy wooden boat on the beach. The little girl was lonely and bored, and she wanted to do something more than most little girls do.

The little girl said, “Boat, I want to go on an adventure. Will you take me?”

The boat said, “I was made to be strong and carry people. I will take you anywhere you want.”

The two went on an adventure, and they became friends. After that, the girl and the boat went on many adventures, paddling up and down the coast in search of pirate treasure or damsels-in-distress. And the boat took her wherever she wanted.

One day the girl said, “Boat, will you always take me wherever I want?”

The boat replied, “I will always be here for you. I promise. As long as you do not ask me to do anything that would be wrong, I will take you wherever want.”

“Always?”

“Always.”

“Even if I change?”

“Even then,” the boat promised.

The faithful boat and the little girl became even better friends, and they had many more adventures.

But when the girl got older, she forgot how fun it was to go on adventures, and she forgot about the faithful boat.

One day, a few years later, the little girl (who was not-so-little anymore) was bored again, but she wanted more than to paddle around the coast looking for childish treasures

“Boat,” she said, “I want to go on another adventure. I want to go to the island way-out-there—the island that nobody has been to. It has been a long time since we went on an adventure; will you still take me?”

And the boat said, “Climb in. I will take you wherever you want.”

The girl climbed in, and the two paddled out to the island. They found adventures there that they had never dreamed of before, and the boat and the girl became good friends again.

For a time, the girl remembered that she loved adventures, and the boat took her wherever she wanted.

But then the girl forgot again, and the little girl became a grown-up woman.

When the girl remembered the boat years later, the boat was a little more worn, a little more lichen-covered. But the boat was still sturdy.

“Boat!” she cried, “there is an emergency! Someone is drowning in the rough storm down the coast; I need you to help me save the person. But it is very dangerous, and you might be wrecked. Will you still take me?”

“I will always be here for you. I will take you wherever you need,” the boat answered.

That day, the boat and the girl were heroes together. But the girl was a busy woman, and after their heroic adventure she did not have any more time for the boat.

But one day the girl came back to the faithful boat. She was an old woman now, and the boat was falling apart. She sat down on the coarse sand next to the boat.

“Hello, boat,” she said warmly but wearily.

“Do you want to search for pirate treasure?” said the boat, hoping to cheer up the girl.

“I don’t care for pirate’s treasure anymore,” replied the girl, “the only treasure I care about is my family, and they have grown up and moved away—or died. I am lonely and bored, just like when I was little.”

“Do you want to discover new land?” the boat asked.

“All the land that is there has already been discovered,” sighed the girl.

“Well,” said the boat, “do you want to save a person in danger?”

“People in danger don’t need wooden boats anymore; there are helicopters and motor boats to do that.”

“Oh,” said the boat.

“Boat,” said the girl, “you once told me you would always be there for me.”

“Always.”

“I have changed.”

“So have I,” said the boat, “ but I am still here for you.”