Katlynn - Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Entered on February 5, 2009

When I was younger my Etch-A-Sketch was my life, quite literally. I’d think of a pattern, but in making it, things would get added unintentionally. Each finished masterpiece lying in the grey screen never seemed to come out as planned. I would struggle to bring a design back to life from days or weeks before, but I failed miserably every time. Artwork from days passed could not be brought back. No matter how much I tried to recreate patterns, they never looked the same. Instead, they got better (at least most of the time). The select few that did end badly reminded me to not make a box so small or drag that line out too far. If I made a mistake, all I needed was a little shake to brush it off to start fresh.

When I think back to my Etch-A-Sketch days, I realize more and more that they relate to my daily life. Some days are good, others are great, and I have my share of bad days, too. Things that make my day go wrong are like the techniques that result in a messy doodle; I learn what not to do from them. I can sleep away a bad day then wake up with a clean slate. On a bad day I wake up late, forget my homework, or history class is longer than ever. Stuff that adds to my bad day is forgotten as soon as I hit the hay.

I may make my own decisions, but there is still a limit to how much I can do, or even how far I can go. An Etch-A-Sketch is only so big, and those grey lines can only reach so far. Even within their boundary, they aren’t physically allowed to go wherever they please. Every morning I decide which way to go to school, but traffic lights and other cars interrupt me on the way. On weekends time is on my side. The knobs on an Etch-A-Sketch move in two simple directions: up and down or left and right. I want to travel the world, but money, time, and my parent’s permission are holding me back like the borders on an Etch-A-Sketch. Rules and regulations, suggestions and advice surround me everywhere I go. However, there are no rules governing how far I can go in life. I work hard within the constraints set, but I know that I can push those limits to some extent. I imagine what I want my life to be like in the future, no obstacles come between my expectations. Reaching my goals is easier because nothing stops me from believing in myself.

A good doodle is jam packed with straight lines and clean-cut corners. A great doodle has rounded lines, or even those nearly impossible circles. If I take the right paths, they will help me to learn how to become more advanced, and unlike an ordinary pattern from someone with mediocre talent, my own design will have elite zigzags which others admire. For this, I believe that an Etch-A-Sketch represents my life.