Susan Boyle: an inspiration

My mother got on the computer, went straight to youtube, and pulled up a video from a show called Britain’s Got Talent. “This is their version of American Idol – and you just have to see this,” she told me.

She clicked on the arrow to play the video, and it began. The first second of the video began something that was to go on for seven minutes and thirty-four seconds more, and I watched in awe as this woman performed. She confessed that she’d never been kissed, had on a frumpy little dress, her name tag wasn’t even on her dress (it was stuck to her chest), and her hair needed some brushing. I instantly fell in love with her appearance and attitude.

The audience angered me in the beginning. They heckled, laughed, and their expressions openly admitted their opinions of her. I could instantly hear their thoughts in my head. Susan didn’t seem to care; I’m sure living with this humiliation for 47 years has made her strong. She didn’t back down, she didn’t shake with nervousness when she sang…overall she seemed so confident, and I wish I could have been there to witness this amazing performance. When she opened her mouth to sing, I swear that you must have been able to hear a pin drop in the audience. Her voice was so powerful, and that definitely hushed up the people that had been heckling her only moments before. They stereotyped her, and they were proven wrong. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

This woman, this one frumpy-looking woman poses as such an inspiration. It’s hard living in this particular time period. Growing girls are told what is “beautiful” by pictures they see in magazines and on television. Supposedly, if you’re not beautiful, no man will ever love you, and you will not get anywhere in life. Susan Boyle is the perfect example of the opposite of this. Maybe she’s not the most attractive woman on the planet, but her soul, her attitude, her voice… all are beautiful. I think that maybe the people of the world needed to realize this.

Thank you, Susan, for providing a different example for girls to look up to. You proved everyone wrong as soon as you opened your mouth and that beautiful music escaped. You’re going to go far, and now the many people who are inspired by you will as well.

After seven minutes and thirty-five seconds, my mom looked up to me and smiled. I rubbed my arms to rid them of the goosebumps that had risen, and tried to hold back a few tears. “I told you,” she said with a grin.

Follow the yellow brick road?

My heart lurched. A lump formed in my throat. Tears sprang to my eyes. To want something this bad hurts… especially when one knows it is not within his/her grasp. Especially mine. Watching people perform on the stage is really emotional for me. When their emotions show during the song they’re performing, it affects me. Deeply. I’m torn in-between reality and fantasyland. Which should I choose? The practical way? The logical way? The way where I have a sure chance at succeeding? Or…should I shoot and eventually miss? Should I be risky? Should I jump without knowing where I might fall?

I’ve had pipes since, well, I don’t even remember when. Chorus teachers I have had over the years have always acknowledged my talent, and their acknowledgement eventually paved the road to my distant dreamland hidden in a thick fog. All I wanted to be when I was younger was a singer. A real professional vocalist with millions of adoring fans. Then I began to love Evanescence and thought: wow, it would be awesome to be the female lead to a hard rock band. Thus, a bigger dream was born.

Maybe you’ve noticed that I have a deep obsession with female fronted bands – and well, now you know why. I aspire to be like them; I want to be in their position so badly. It aches to see them perform and think about just how lucky they really are. They are exactly what I want to be. All I want is to perform with my band on a stage in a grand theater to a crowd of a million. To spill out my emotions through song and slump off the stage exhausted when I am done. I want to sing and run around with the mic. I want to lean on the mic stand and have sweat pouring off of me from so much exertion. I want to stop singing and listen to the crowd sing the next verse – a verse most likely derived from a line of a poem I wrote when I was twelve. I want to share my love of singing with the world and I want to belt it until I can’t belt it “no more.”

At my fork in the road, to the right lies the road that leads to my dreamland. The road paved with yellow bricks and patches of lilies of the valley growing on the side giving off my favorite aroma. To the left is an equally pleasant-looking road, only it is paved with brick that gives off the more practical red-ish color. This road is the one I’m to follow should I want to be successful on the first try. The writing road. I’ve been told I was born to write, but I’ve also been told that I have a very powerful voice. Now, should I choose the yellow brick road that leads to my dream career of being the female in a female fronted band? Or, should I venture down the more structurally sound road that leads to definite success? Do I want to be an exact clone of my mother and eldest brother, or do I want to be the first to set foot on my own yellow brick road?

Emily’s poetry, a history

I’ve been writing poetry for years. My mother named me after her favorite poet, so why not carry it on? I started out with a composition notebook that I decorated with stickers. Everyone just assumed it was my diary, as if it couldn’t be anything but a shallow notebook with all of my deepest secrets and fears hidden inside. Nobody gave me enough credit. Boys would steal it from me, but I managed to get it back without any harm done. They were only teasing. Teasing is harmless, right?

After that was filled, I moved onto a pink camouflage notebook that had pens attached to the front of it. It was nifty because if I had an idea I didn’t have to hunt for a pen before being able to write it down. The pens were just there. That notebook was also known as my “diary” and even a teacher asked: “why do you bring your diary to school?” To which I simply replied: “it’s not a diary.”

I poured random thoughts and whimsical dreams into those notebooks. Within about a month, the pages started ripping out of the pink camo notebook, so I saved the paper, but threw the rest of the notebook in the garbage. It was time to move on again.

I found a regular old yellow spiral notebook and plastered it with quotes, stickers, drawings, and pop-up sunflowers that I ripped off a thing I had at home. Poetry was transferred from my head onto the pages of that thing for about a year. I entered the seventh grade with the same notebook, and only showed the ones I was proud of to my then English teacher (who is now a teacher in the high school). The boys in my grade grew up a little and stopped calling it my diary, and I continued writing.

For my birthday that year, one of my best friends (we barely speak anymore…) bought me a hardcover spiral notebook with puppies on the front. Said notebook lasted me for nearly two years. That notebook taught me something important. Because I wanted the notebook to last, I only wrote poetry when I really really felt like it and had a good feeling about an idea. I decided that I didn’t have to write about everything – but there are some things that I will always wish to remember. I still have one page left in that notebook that remains empty. If I fill it in, the notebook is done forever. I always want to have the option of being able to fill it up totally. It’s amazing to go from the earlier poems in that book to the last few. It’s like traveling through two years of my life in thirty minutes.

Eventually, I took a little notebook that was a party favor at some birthday party I went to (I think it was Carin’s) and ripped out the used pages. I then covered it with duct tape, and voila! New notebook.

Using the duct tape notebook, I rewrote some of the ones I am really proud of, but I also wrote a year’s worth of new material. I am still busy filling it up with my life, so it’s a work in progress. It’s crazy to see how much I have grown in the past year. There are some poems in said book that are extremely naive and young-sounding. I know I will say the same thing in the future when I look back at what I wrote when I was fifteen (the present… for now), but I like what is exploding out of my pen at the moment. Maybe I will post some examples in the near future (which is defined as: later today).

“We are going to pick ourselves up, and dust ourselves off”

Today my brother and I were supposed to be at the orthodontist at exactly twelve o’clock to let them torture us. My mother called the office yesterday and informed them that we would not be attending our appointment. We all wished to watch Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

Every classroom I entered today had either their TV or their SMART Board tuned into the news, watching this historical event.

In 7/8 period Global, we sat down and began writing the thematic essays for our mid-term examination. I finished mine, and sat twiddling my thumbs (well, I read) until my teacher, Mr. Leous decided it was finally time to turn on his TV. “You can put your essays away now,” he said.

We watched. And watched. And watched. I mouthed the Lord’s prayer along with the man who recited it, and then Aretha Franklin got up and sang her heart out. The bell rang just as she started singing, so my friend and I hustled to the Chorus Room, and turned on the TV. We stood around the piano until Mr. Lerew entered the room, switched the channel to a station without any static and told us we could watch it for the whole period as long as he could have five minutes at the end.

Biden became Vice President (when they said “would everyone please rise,” we rose and when Mr. Lerew came along and motioned for us to sit down, we simply told him that they told us to stand), and then came the short performance with the lovely violin and Yo Yo Ma on cello. My jaw dropped, and at 12:01 it was announced that though Obama had not been sworn in yet, he was now our new president.

His speech was beautiful. I hung onto his every word and was thanking God that it wasn’t Hilary I was listening to at that moment. The way he talks makes me believe that he is an extremely smart man – there were and are never any stutters or silences. I had tears in my eyes as he spoke, and was so relieved that he is our president. I feel so much better about our country now that he is in charge.

I will never forget that historical moment for as long as I live. I sat in a choir room filled with friends and watched the TV with such interest as the subtitles (which we attempted to take away, but to no avail) echoed everything he said. When I am older and my kids are learning about this moment from their history textbooks, I can smile and tell them that I witnessed it as it happened. I will always remember what happened today.

It all started with a record player

A few weeks ago, I bought myself a record player. I was ecstatic to find it at such a good price, and was beaming as I walked out of the store with the box in my arms.

When we got home, I immediately took it into the Living Room and set it up. My parents taught me how to use it and to be careful not to jump around whilst listening to it. My mother and I ventured into the cave (our basement) to retrieve some of their old records to bring back some of the past. We carried armload after armload upstairs to the Living Room and left them in stacks all around the room. I left the ones I bought earlier that day (Coheed & Cambria and a Fueled By Ramen package that were extremely cheap) on the couch and my dad and I had a look-see to pick out what I should listen to first.

I thought my brothers would think it cool for me to have purchased a record player, but they avoided me like I had the plague. They seemed pretty pissed off and jealous that I got to one first and because my parents’ old one needs a new needle thing. Trevor especially because I bought Coheed & Cambria. Because he likes them, I’m not allowed to. Oh well.

My dad sat on the couch as I rifled through stack after stack, holding record after record up seeking his approval. All of the ones with his name written on them were the ones approved – all of the ones with Barbra Streisand on the cover were kept in a pile that I would not listen to. Sorry, mom.

I have discovered a whole new music taste thanks to my record player (though it does have a CD player, radio and iPod hookup included, I tend to listen to records on it more). I found out that I love the bands Sweet, REO Speedwagon (You Can Tune A Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish), Joan Jett & The Black Hearts, The Knack, Boomtown Rats, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Pink Floyd, London Town and some Pat Benatar. I still love Escape the Fate, Paramore, Tilly and the Wall, and all of the other bands I have always loved, but I am now broadening my music taste. It’s cool to think that my parents played these records once at the same age I am now. I wish I could go back and meet the teenage versions of them. My mom and I would be identical, and I bet my dad and I would have fun listening to music together – just like we do now.