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Honorable Mention Daniel Levers Schoharie High School

Electric Guitar

My feelings are often prisoner to my mind. As such, they cannot be freed by friends, family, or even me. Nothing can release them from their incarceration— nothing but my electric guitar, that is. When my feelings transcend the description of words, I turn to this crimson-red, 6 stringed, 24 fretted instrument as a means of expressing them. True to Maya Angelou’s words, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness,” my guitar serves as my haven of solace and serenity.

“Looks like I’ll be seeing you again next year,” says Mrs. Hausman in a tone about as enthusiastic as I am about to take her class for a 3rd time. I look down at my old, beat up white Nikes and walk away in disbelief and shame. Utterly conflicted, I think to myself, “I really blew it this time; I might as well drop out of school now. There’s no way I can graduate next year while I’m still stuck in English 10.” My teacher’s sympathies no longer sufficed. She had given me every possible chance to pass her class and I neglected to take even a single one. Continuing to go about my day while contemplating my next move, I vow to graduate from high school, no matter what it takes, as I am well aware of the repercussions of dropping out. Although I have now come to terms with my scholastic shortcomings, the same cannot be said for my feelings; I am consumed by disappointment in myself. My failure is inexcusable. I know I am more than capable of satisfactorily completing the school’s curriculum and that my negligence and apathy are the only things standing in my way. Although I think nothing could be poorer than my grades, when I board the bus home, my worsening feelings prove me wrong.

I enter my bedroom after a long day of school, my axe’s magnetizing flamed maple top nevertheless the first thing to catch my eye. I am left in awe of its beauty, but only for a moment. Not withstanding temptation, I then turn my amplifier’s switch to the “on” position, down my guitar from its majestic perch in the farthest corner of my room, and play. I arpeggiate a progression of minor chords and then transition to a series of weeping leads. My sore feelings permeating my guitar’s porous rosewood fret-board with each note, I leave my instrument drenched in emotion every bit as raw as my passion for playing itself. It is then, and only then, that I feel relieved, relieved of my otherwise inexpressible feelings. When I feel as if all the weight of the world is upon my shoulders, I do not wilt, but rather plant my feet and let my electric guitar give me the strength I need.