Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood (formerly published as The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud)

I first heard about Charlie St. Cloud's story through a movie preview. It looked good, so when I got the chance to borrow it from my friend, I was excited. The movie was amazing. It was beautifully done and I loved it. But at the end the credits announced, "based on the book The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud." It's a book?! I was so excited! I had loved the movie but the book is always better. So I posted on Facebook, "Charlie St. Cloud is a beautiful movie." I got multiple comments but one was from a girl in my ward who said, "my roommate owns the book." Well about five minutes later, those two girls show up at my door to let me borrow the book. How exciting!

The book was phenomenal. And, surprisingly, the movie did a pretty good job following the book. (Now remember, this is a book review, so I won't be discussing the movie anymore.) Charlie St. Cloud is a man who can see people after they've died. He can see them when they are in the in-between state between earth and what come after. The most important person to him is his brother, Sam, who died when he was 12. Every night at sunset, they meet in the forest to play catch together. Meeting Sam at sundown is a promise Charlie will never break. But then Charlie is put in a situation where he has to decide which is more important: Sam, or using his knowledge to save someone else's life.

Charlie St. Cloud was written beautifully, and I will easily put it on my favorite books list. The point of view switches back and forth a few times, which I enjoyed because it shares the story from new perspectives. The details were done perfectly; I was able to clearly create an image in my head. I felt connected with the characters. Sam's boyish outlook on life contrasted well with Charlie's somber personality. Charlie St. Cloud was fantastic and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Very Short Story #2 for Creative Writing

I stood there, at the base of the ferris wheel, waiting. He was late, if he was even coming at all, and now I wasn’t so sure. It wasn’t cold, but seeing all the other people having fun was making me feel lonely and chilly. Their grinning faces flashed past in a blur of delight that I wasn’t a part of. I yanked at my jacket, holding it closed.

I waited and waited. Was it even worth it?

I noticed a little boy licking his ice cream cone. A little girl sitting on a bench was watching him. A few moments later he marched over to her, sat down, and they both happily licked the dripping chocolate.

I scanned the crowds again and watched as two laughing, young teenagers climbed into a bumper car together. He put his arm around her as they sat down.

I heard a shout, and looked over at an old man throwing his hands in the air at one of the carnival games. Triumphantly, he took the large stuffed giraffe the carnival worker handed him. He passed the giraffe to his wife and she kissed him on the cheek.
I glanced at my watch. He was now an hour late. Why was I still even standing here? Angrily, I stomped into the ferris wheel line. I was hurt. I felt rejected, unwanted. I thrust my ticket at the carnival employee.

The ferris wheel groaned as I went up and up. My seat stopped at the top and I looked out over the carnival. The breeze felt refreshing to my frustrated body. I shouldn’t have bothered to wait that long. Obviously I wasn’t very important to him.

I clambered out of my seat when my ride was over. I was still irritated, but I resolved to have fun at the carnival by myself.

I was chucking darts at paint-filled balloons when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and came face to face with the guy who ran the ferris wheel. He smiled at me.

“Hi. I, um, well, you were standing by the ferris wheel for a long time…and I couldn’t help but notice you…” He shuffled his feet nervously. “And I was wondering if…well, I’m done with my shift for the night…and I have two tickets for the roller coaster. Would you like to go with me?” He brushed his sandy hair out of his eyes.

I felt myself smiling in return, my annoyance vanishing. “Sure,” I said, setting down my darts. He held out his hand, and I took it. I scanned the crowds again as we walked to the roller coaster. I didn’t see the boy I had been waiting for, but maybe this night would turn out better than expected.

I go to such lengths to get my Creative Writing done...

My Creative Writing professor sends us emails with something he wants us to read and respond to for each week. This week, it was a chapter from a book about Creative Writing. The only problem was, the text appeared sideways on my computer screen. I didn't want to print it out because it would use up lot of my ink and a bit more paper than I liked. So what did I do? I read my laptop like a book! haha!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

so plaid

Today I went shopping with my friend because she needed to find some new shoes. Well, we went into Down East Basics and Look at what I discovered!

So cute, right? YES! Unfortunately, it was too expensive for my student budget. But the plan is to go back in a few weeks and see if it went on sale. :) Cross your fingers for me!

Have some CUTE in your life

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Writing Sample for Creative Writing

So, I'm not 100% sure what this is exactly, the middle or beginning of a story? Not sure...anyways, we just have to turn in a page of whatever we want to write, so here we go:

Sarah proceeded to dive off the dock into the chilly water. Kicking her strong swimmer’s legs, she propelled herself back up to the surface. She pushed her hair back, laughing at the cold water and warm sun on her face.

“See? I told you I wasn’t afraid of the cold.” She shoved water at Jason, who threw his hands in front of his face.

“Well, at least it got you in.” He brushed water out of his eyes. “Race you to the other dock?”

“Sure!” Sarah was always up for a challenge.

Both of them swam as fast as they could. Sarah was pretty sure she would win; after all she had been on swim teams since she was seven. But when she reached the opposite dock, only slightly out of breath, she was perplexed to see Jason proudly hanging from the ladder. Sarah choked back her sound of surprise; she didn’t want him to think she was impressed, even if she was.

He kicked water at her. “Hey, slow poke. What took you so long?”

She hastily climbed the ladder and stood on the dock. “Whatever.” She turned abruptly and headed down the dock. She squeezed water out of her soaked yellow t-shirt and tried to push it out of her cut-off shorts. Sarah knew she was being a sore loser, but it had been years since someone had beat her in a swimming race and now she was just flat out annoyed. She was soaking wet, and had to go back to the canoe rental for the rest of the afternoon. How frustrating to lose at something she was known to be good at, and then have to stand around and work all day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Peter Pan

BYU put on the Broadway production of Peter Pan and I was lucky enough to be able to go last night. That's me with my ticket. :) It was fabulous. They stuck to tradition; Peter Pan was played by a girl, Mr. Darling and Hook were played by the same actor, and Tinkerbell was a light flitting across the stage. I was very impressed with the entire cast's talent - since it was Broadway they sang and danced. Michael was played by a 5th grade boy and he was adorable! He knew his lines so well and sang and danced just like everyone else (I caught him watching Peter's feet once during a dance). The stage set up was in a really neat way. There was a half-circle raised above the floor with steps on either end. Then there were three large boards that stuck out for the beds in the nursery and were later lowered to ramps for Neverland and the pirate's ship. I think my favorite part was the flying. It was so cool to see them soar across the stage. Peter Pan was doing flips and everything. It was a magical evening and if you are any where close to BYU, I encourage you to see Peter Pan.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Short Personal Memoir (for Creative Writing)

Getting ten stitches in my head didn’t faze me at all. In fact, the BYU EMTs and the doctors all commented on how calm I was being. I didn’t freak out at the blood or the tightness I felt in my head as they stitched me up. It was the announcement I received weeks later that seemed to change my life.

I have been in and out of eye doctors for as long as I can remember. I got glasses in kindergarten and I had an issue with eye pressure in second grade, which still has me seeing specialists. I was used to reading the letters with one eye covered and taking peripheral vision tests. But the question I was asked in April of 2010 was a question no eye doctor had ever asked me before. The doctor had dilated my eyes (another routine to me), then he sat back and asked, “Have you received a blow to the head recently?”

As a matter of fact, I had. The ten stitches were the result of being hit in the head with a metal dish washer door as I was working for BYU Catering. The door opened like a garage door above my head, and it had come off of its track. When I tried to pull it back down, it came down very quickly and struck me in the head. That’s how I ended up in the ER. But I didn’t understand what that had to do with my eyes.

“You have a cataract.” I sat there and felt disbelief. Cataracts were something that much, much older people got. Not college students. The eye doctor proceeded to tell me that it was very small, in my right eye, and down so low that I wouldn’t even know it was there. He had only been able to see it when he dilated my eyes. He explained that sometimes cataracts are caused by getting a blow to the head; the impact of the dish washer door killed some of the cells in my eye. “UV rays will cause it to grow, and down the road you could end up needing surgery. But if you’re careful and wear sunglasses and hats so the sun can’t get into your eyes, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Now I carry my sunglasses all over the place. I own multiple sun hats. I will even resort to squinting my right eye when it’s extremely sunny outside and I somehow forgot my sunglasses or hat. My mom thinks I’m over-reacting, but I’d rather be paranoid than in an operating room. It feels like I’m waiting. I’m waiting for the cataract to grow. I’m waiting for my vision to start to go away. But will I realize in time? Or will my left eye compensate and I won’t notice how the problem expanded until its too late?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Review: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

I started this book at 1:30 Sunday afternoon and finished by midnight (with a few breaks in between). The Healer's Apprentice follows the story of Rose, the Healer's apprentice. Rose's mother just wants her to marry some old rich man so that her family will be better off, but Rose has no desire to marry just anyone. She wants to marry someone she truly loves, even though true love is rare. So instead she is learning to be a healer because healer's don't have to marry and they have a home by the castle. Lord Hamlin and his brother, Lord Rupert return home from being at school abroad. Lord Hamlin is the future duke. When Lord Hamlin injures his leg, Rose is the only one around who has any experience on how to heal it. So she stitches up his leg and ends up making a good friend. But unfortunately, Lord Hamlin is too busy tracking the evil man who has declared revenge on Lord Hamlin's betrothed to be friends with Rose.
I thought this book was fantastic. It was written beautifully and I couldn't stop smiling when I finished. I even googled Emily Dickerson to see if she has anymore books out (she doesn't - at least not yet). I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fairy tale.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

6 Word...Something

In Creative Writing we talked about the original six word whatever (I've hear it called a six word memoir and a six word novel): "Baby shoes for sale, never worn." Then we were challenged to come up with our own.
One kid said: "Knock, walk, knock, walk. Two years." I liked that one.
I wrote a couple but this is the one my professor liked the best:
"Sister graduated; Prove is now lonely."
I love you Allie.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review: A Smile as Big as the Moon by Mike Kersjes

The students that nobody wanted. The students that were picked on the most. The students that everyone labeled as "losers." I am describing a Special Education class in Michigan. Mike Kersjes was the teacher for these students. A Smile as Big as the Moon follows this class of unwanted misfits as they go against all odds to make it to Space Camp. They battle the authorities that stand in their way. They battle their community and peers' skepticism. But after a year of training, fundraising events, and even more skepticism, this group of teenagers made it to Space Camp and proved that anyone can be a winner. They work extremely hard to prepare for Space Camp; they learn to swim, they learn countless acronyms, they learn the names of different parts of a space shuttle, they learn to build model rockets, and they learn to be a team. Mike Kersjes tells their story in a compelling way that made me understand each character and hope that they would come up on top. I was excited with their successes and disappointed right along with the students when something went wrong. This book was amazing and I recommend it to everyone. It proves that anyone can do anything. Please read this book!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Short Story

This is my very short story #1 for Creative Writing.

Sitting on Grandma’s couch, flipping through her old photo album was probably one of the hardest things Becka had ever done. The pictures reminded her of the terrible feeling of loss. There would be no more tea parties with all the granddaughters, no more trips to the ice cream parlor for milkshakes. There would never be another chance to make sugar cookies in Grandma’s bright kitchen with one of her too-big aprons around Becka’s waist. A tear dropped onto the plastic photo protector.
“Don’t be sad, Becka,” Uncle George sat next to Becka and put his arm around her. “Things will be alright.”
Becka’s shoulders shook and her fingers wiped at her eyes.
“Look,” Uncle George pointed at a picture of Grandma in a bright blue dress. She was holding Becka’s hand, and Becka was holding a pinwheel. “Remember this? We all went to the fair and Grandma helped you win that pinwheel.”
Becka’s tears slowed at the memory. It had been a hot day but there had been a constant light breeze, perfect weather for a pinwheel. Grandma had helped Becka aim the ball just right so it would easily fall into the cup. Then later, they had gone on the ferris wheel together. The pinwheel spun like crazy way up there. Becka’s lips lifted just a bit.
“And this one,” continued Uncle George. “Remember how Grandma bought those sunflower seeds just for you two to plant?”
Becka brushed her fingers against the smooth photo. She and Grandma were covered in dirt, but behind them their sunflowers were in full bloom. They had weeded every week and watered twice a day. It had been tiring, but spending time with Grandma had been worth it.
Uncle George flipped a few pages and laughed. Becka looked down at the photo and couldn’t keep herself from giggling. Grandma was wearing her clown costume; she wore it every Halloween when she took the grandkids trick-or-treating. There was a bright blue wig and the bulbous red nosed squeaked when you squeezed it. Becka had loved to hear Grandma squeak that nose.
“Becka, I think I know where that nose is. Would you like to help me find it?” Uncle George took Becka by the hand and led her up to the attic. It was full of old books and dusty boxes. They found the nose pretty quickly. Uncle George put it on Becka’s nose and then reached back into the box and plopped the wig on her head. “There. Now you look just like Grandma.”
Becka looked in the mirror and laughed. She squeaked the nose and smiled. It was just like when Grandma did it.
“How about you keep that nose, Becka? And I don’t think anyone would mind if that photo album was yours too.”
Becka smiled at herself in the mirror. She knew what she was going to be next Halloween. Just like Grandma.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This is my first writing sample for my Creative Writing class. I love the song "Long Live" by Taylor Swift and I have been wanting to write about the things she describes for a while now. This was the perfect opportunity.

You said, “We’ll be remembered.” And I knew it was true. I looked down at my filthy, torn jeans and smiled. The mud was from climbing the mountains and the rips were from fighting the dragons. I knew I would always remember this moment.
The crowd below us cheered as we stepped out onto the wide balcony. You took my hand and raised our joined fists up into the air. I felt like dancing. I tried to take in all the sounds, sights, and feelings that I felt. I needed to remember this moment. The sun was drifting into the far-off mountains, sending a warm glow throughout the city. I could hear the blue and gold flags snapping in the refreshing breeze on the torrents above us.
I looked at you and saw the pride in your eyes. Your smile was a mirror of mine. I thought back to my other images of you. I squeezed your hand when I recalled the way you courageously held your head up as you brandished your sword at the fire-crazy dragons. I was so proud of you. That was the scariest moment of my life but you only let your bravery show.
I remembered when we were just kids sitting on the sidelines of life. We were the ones looking up at the balcony full of heroes. We admired the trophies they were given and wished it was us up there. They wore their crowns so majestically. And now it was us on that magical balcony.
I lifted my chin as they placed our crowns on our heads. The throng of spectators shouted “long live!” and confetti fell like snow in January. Our dreams were a reality now. I knew without looking at you that both of our faces were shinning.
We raised our trophies above our heads and I thought I would explode with pride and happiness. Those people were cheering for us. I had the time of my life in that moment and I knew it was a moment I would never forget.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Glitter and Deer

Yesterday I walked all around campus in a glitter-fall. The sun was sparkling off the tiny snowflakes and it looked like glitter was flying around everywhere. It was one of the prettiest things ever.
Last night, Allie and I were driving up to Todd's for dinner. As we came around a corner we saw deer! Five big deer with huge ears. It was so cool.