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Tag Archives: Novel

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Image Credits: Amazon

I know I shouldn’t have expected much from this book and honestly being someone who is completely obsessed with J.D. Salinger’s classic, The Catcher and the Rye I shouldn’t have picked up this piece of trash (it does not deserve to be called a book) in the first place, but curiosity got the best of me. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The thing is I just really love Holden Caulfield and I’ve missed him and was excited about the possibility of seeing him brought back to life again, even if it was 60 years later, with a new story. However, this isn’t the aged version of Holden Caulfield that I thought it would be.

This piece of trash starts off with Holden Caulfield in a retirement home. He seems to be surprised by the fact that he’s old and I’m left wondering if he has dementia or Alzheimer’s or another degenerative disease. He is really confused which seems out of character for Holden. However, I tried to put that past me and give the book a chance. But the thing is California makes it hard to give this piece of trash a chance because the more you read, the worst it gets.

This piece of trash didn’t really have a plot or a point or a purpose or any kind of organized structure. I guess that explains why the book was self-published (I mean absolutely no offense to those who are actual credible writers that self-publish…I just mean for this guy clearly there were no other options – who would want to publish this garbage under than him?). Most of this piece of trash is just about Holden wandering around aimlessly. He escapes his retirement home and then just goes to New York and Boston and randomly comes across people from his childhood like Stradlater. Phoebe’s there too and Holden’s obsession with her is downright creepy and leaves the reader feeling uncomfortable. I can understand how Holden would still see his sister 60 years later, but Stradlater? Really? And I mean it’s 60 years later – there’s a chance he could’ve even been dead to be honest. The chances of Holden staying in touch are slim to none and the book even seems to acknowledge that in a way; Holden seems surprised to find Stradlater. It doesn’t make much sense; it just feels like the author’s lame attempt to re-write The Catcher in the Rye and you don’t mess with a classic.

There’s some new characters in this piece of trash, too and they come off as well, trashy. Charlie is one of the main characters and I’m totally confused on who she is and why she’s in this sad excuse of a book. I think she was one of Holden’s students? But when was he ever a teacher? Did he ever even go to or finish college? California never addresses those questions – he just randomly places her in the book and the next thing you know she’s having a threesome with her boyfriend and the elderly Holden Caulfield. It’s sick and there’s no reason why it needs to be in the story at all.

Another noteworthy character in this piece of trash is J.D. Salinger himself. Yes, because it’s totally normal to write a spinoff of a book and to throw the original author in their randomly. Sure. Salinger has no purpose in being in this book, but then again neither does anyone else. I have no idea what was even going on in this part of the book. I know Holden found a notebook and he went to return it to his son but his son was J.D. Salinger? Or did I misread it? Does California even know which is which? Sometimes I don’t think he even knows what he’s doing. It made no sense. If Salinger was his son then everything would be backwards. Salinger is older than Holden? I don’t even know…

But I haven’t even gotten to the best part of this trash. Have I told you about Holden’s bladder yet? Now I know it might sound weird for me to talk about Holden’s bladder and you might think it’s something you really don’t need to know about, but trust me when I say that John David California wants you to know about Holden Caulfield’s bladder. In fact, California went so far as to make sure he wrote about Holden’s bladder no less than every 2-3 pages throughout the entire novel. I don’t think this piece of trash has a point at all, but if it did I bet it would probably have something to do with Holden’s bladder.

What do I mean by “Holden’s bladder?” I mean just that. I know every single time Holden has a full bladder, when he think he might have a full bladder, when his bladder is so full it causes him pain, and when he doesn’t realize he has a full bladder until it’s too late. I already mentioned that most of the novel involves Holden aimlessly wandering around. I lied. He’s not “just” aimlessly walking around – he’s also urinating on everything in sight because his bladder is always overflowing and there’s never a bathroom around but if there is one Holden would rather not use it. Why does the reader need to know this? We really don’t, trust me, California. The only reason I can think of as to why the sad excuse of an author decided this was important was because it was a sad attempt to show that Holden is 60 years older and obviously developed urinary incontinence.

California’s portrayal of an elderly Holden is disgraceful at best. He seems to play on the stereotype that all elderly men live in retirement homes, can’t control their bladders, and are confused. This isn’t just stereotyping, it feels like blatant ageism. Holden deserves better than this.

After reading 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye I’m left feeling disgusted and ashamed to even admit I’ve read this. It also makes me want to go rushing back to the original classic The Catcher in the Rye. I bet I’ll love it and appreciate it now more than ever.

I’m also left with two words to say:

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry to Mr. Salinger who never wanted this book released and who went so far as to have it banned from the US (I had to order it online specially to obtain a copy). I’m sorry for not respecting his wishes. I’m sorry that the book was ever written. I’m sorry the book was published. I’m sorry the book is banned from all parts of the world and that more people are still reading this piece of trash.

Holden deserved better and so did Salinger.


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Image Credits: Amazon

Hey guys! I know you already know by now what I’m going to say; I SUCK at the 30 Day Writing Challenge. It’s May 14th and I’m only on Day 8. But in my defense, at least I’m writing on a regular basis, right? Also, some of my entries have been really long and detailed…one of them even had to be broken in 2 posts!

So anyway, Day 8 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge asks me to write about a book I love and one I don’t.

If you’ve been following my blog, it should come to no surprise that I LOVE The Catcher in the Rye. I mean, I did recently write about how I’m obsessed with J.D. Salinger and everything. If you’ve been following my blog for a longer time, you might even remember my rant on how awful I thought The Hunger Games to beit’s probably my #1 most hated book of all time.

These two novels are vastly different from one another. However, I can easily compare and contrast them to show why I loved one and hated the other. Here’s why I loved one and hated the other.

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Image Credits: Wikipedia

Expectations

I had very different expectations for these two novels. When I first read The Catcher in the Rye, I was a junior in high school. I never heard of the book before. I thought based on the title this book would be about baseball or something. I wasn’t really looking forward to reading it, but I had to for school. I never expected to love it as much as I did.

In contrast, my expectations for The Hunger Games were extremely high. I first read this book my senior year of college, when it was exploding with popularity and the first film was released. I was required to read this book for my Writing Children’s Stories class, but had every intention to read it on my own even if it wasn’t part of my required college reading. I heard so much buzz about this book that I had to see what the big deal was. I also loved the concept/idea around it. I knew it had to do with a dystopian society and it sounded fascinating. However, the book never came close to meeting my expectations. It was incredibly disappointing.

 

Dialogue

These two books vary greatly on their use of dialogue. Catcher in the Rye has a fair amount of dialogue. The reader gets to see how Holden interacts with several characters including his teachers, Phoebe, Sally, Jane, etc. The dialogue helps to keep the story moving and brings it to life. While the novel is told in first person by Holden and we primarily are exposed to Holden’s thoughts and views, we can still get up close to other characters from the dialogue.

On the other hand, The Hunger Games uses very little dialogue. Katniss tells us what is happening. We also get long chunks of text that describe the setting and scenery. After reading this book I still didn’t feel like I knew Peeta, even though he was one of the main characters. All of the characters were easy to forget and I didn’t connect or relate to any of them. It was a really boring, long-winded story.

 

Character Driven Vs. Plot Driven

The Catcher in the Rye is definitely a character driven story. There is no doubt about it. Without Holden Caulfield, you have no story. The story is about Holden’s state of mental health, his thoughts, his feelings, and his actions. It makes him easy to remember and connect with. I really love the character driven style.

In contrast, The Hunger Games was definitely plot driven. The story is about a society where food is scarce and there are too many people to feed. The characters really don’t matter that much in this story. You can get rid of Katniss (please do, she is so annoying) and/or Peeta, and still have your story. I felt that with the plot driven story, I could never really get to know the characters all that well. They weren’t memorable or easy to connect or relate to. They were just kind of there taking up space on the page.

 

Writing Style

I think that the writer’s histories and their own personalities and maybe even the time periods they grew up in had a lot to do with their writing style. It was very very different.

J. D. Salinger is a classic writer, and I have always loved classic novels. Classic writers took their writing VERY seriously, and it shows. Salinger was fanatical about his writing, even if he didn’t publish it all and often said he regretted ever writing Catcher in the Rye. He would lock himself up for hours on hours every single day to write. He didn’t want a life outside of his writing at all. He’d write, revise, edit, rewrite, rinse and repeat. The result? A well-planned, well researched, well-written novel.

Salinger also had one sole purpose for his writing: for his own personal use and enjoyment. I don’t think Salinger’s intention was ever to make a lot of money off of it. I know it probably influenced him (why else would he submit to The New Yorker?), but he hated the fame that came with it. Also, much of his writing is based on personal experience, especially in The Catcher in the Rye. I think his writing was in many ways his way to collect his thoughts and ideas for his own peace of mind/mental health.

Suzanne Collins is a very different kind of writer. She is much less experienced and was likely just writing for fame and money. I don’t see her novel as leaving a lasting impact on people the way Catcher in the Rye did. I also don’t think much of her life was influenced by this novel. The Hunger Games didn’t give me the impression that Collins spent a lot of time doing research or revising her work. Actually, it was just the opposite. The Hunger Games read like a first draft to me. It was very messy and sloppy and as a writer, I was very disappointed in the sloppy writing from this “famous” author.

 

These are just a few of the differences between The Catcher in the Rye and The Hunger Games that explain why I loved one and hated the other. Have you ever read either (or both) of these novels? What was your opinion of them?


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Image Credits: Pro Profs

Let’s face it, breakups suck. Sometimes they can come seemingly out of nowhere at the most surprising or inconvenient times. Sometimes we know they are coming. Maybe you’ve been arguing with your boyfriend or girlfriend for weeks and can’t seem to resolve your issues. Maybe one of you is moving far away from town and the other can’t or won’t join you.

Or maybe you never saw it coming. Maybe you loved that person with all of your heart and soul, but they drifted away from you because they didn’t feel the same. Maybe you even caught that person in the act of cheating…ouch!

Regardless of what the cause of the breakup was or whether or not you saw it coming, it doesn’t change the fact that breakups suck. However, with or without that person, life must go on. If you’re a writer, a breakup is no valid excuse to give up on your dreams and quit your job as a writer.

But what do you do if you find yourself needing to write about your ex? If you’re a songwriter like Taylor Swift then you might want to use your songwriting skills to help you cope with your breakup. This can be a great way to help you express yourself and deal with your emotions. However, it can also come at a risk. You don’t want to sound bitter or catty. If you’ve never dabbled in the art of songwriting before you may want to avoid it altogether at least until you start to really get over your breakup just so you don’t end up sounding too bitter and making a fool out of yourself in the process. Hey, we can’t all be Taylor Swift (although I wish I could be!)

However, one challenge you may face as a writer is dealing with how to write about your ex if you were in the process of writing a novel that they played a role in. If you’re working on a piece of fiction then it probably won’t be too hard for you to just further fictionalize the character or cut them off altogether, but what happens if you’re writing a memoir or a piece of nonfiction that your ex plays a bigger role in? Sometimes it is not practical to simply cut them out of the picture. Sometimes writing about your ex is completely unavoidable. Sure, it’s never easy to write about your ex especially during a recent breakup, but there is a way to do it without sounding bitter. Here’s how:

1. Only write what’s necessary. Let’s be real, writing about your ex may feel like torture. Did you have an amazing relationship and then have it all unexpectedly fall to pieces? Were you in love with someone that wasn’t in love with you? Did you have a horrific, messy breakup? Whatever the case may be, you can pretty much bet on the fact that your breakup has you feeling at least a little bit lousy and chances are you’d rather not think about it now, let alone write about it. This is why the first and most important step is to only write what is necessary. If you can cut your ex out of the story without jeopardizing your plot or story line, DO IT. If you can’t, such as the case for me and the memoir I am currently writing, then the trick is to only write what is necessary. Writing about your ex is hard, so why torture yourself with excessive, unnecessary details?

2. Tell the truth. Here’s another challenge you may face when writing about your ex: telling the truth. You’re going through a breakup and it sucks and you’re hurting. The only things you want to write now is probably about how horrible of a person your ex is and how you feel they deserve to be cast in a pit of fire. But really think about your relationship — was it always this horrible? What drew you to that person and what made you stay in the relationship for as long as you did? There’s a good chance that person had some good in them. Focus on the good and tell the positive side in the story.

Sometimes there really may not be a positive side to tell, and that’s okay, too. You could very well be writing a story about a nasty, abusive relationship and how you survived it (though I hope to God you aren’t because that’s just awful). Good or bad, you should always tell the truth and nothing but the truth about your ex when writing him into your novel. Don’t turn him or her into a criminal when everything wasn’t all that bad just because you’re hurting now and don’t make him or her out to be a saint if he wasn’t really all that great of a person.

3. Give yourself a break. Writing about your ex is going to be hard. You may have to write about all of the best parts of your relationship and this will remind you of the fact that it’s all gone now. Or, you may have to face the reality that you loved that person and their way of thanking you for your love was by cheating on you. You will be forced to relive, re-experience, and reevaluate your relationship, and quite honestly, watch your heart break all over again in the process. It will not only be painful, but emotionally draining as well. For this reason it is important to give yourself a break. Write down a couple of paragraphs and when things get too hard or too painful to continue, take a walk and get some fresh air. Chances are when you return you will feel refreshed, renenergized, rejuvenated, and prepared to write a better story anyway.

Writing about your ex will likely be the hardest part of your story, but that’s no reason to abandon your writing project. Remember, if you walk away and give up on your writing, your ex wins in the end. He or she already broke your heart, do you want him to ruin the writing project you’ve already worked so hard and invested so much time and energy on, too? I didn’t think so. When you follow these tips you’ll be able to continue on your story writing about your ex with grace without sounding bitter or angry in the process.


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Image Credits: Cristian Mihaid

I have just successfully completed the first week of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). How am I feeling? Tired doesn’t even begin to describe it…

I had planned to attend my first write-in at Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) this morning, but upon further consideration, opted out. It didn’t sound like many people were going to be attending and it just seemed more practical to stay home to write. I have a tentative date of surgery scheduled for December 14th to get my second cochlear implant. It’s coming up fast and it’s crucial that I stay healthy until then. Now with flu season being upon us and many college kids getting sick from restlessness and end-of-semester stress as finals approach, a college campus is probably the last place in the world I want to be.

I felt half dead for most of this week. I needed to sleep in today. Sleep felt like the most magical thing in the world. I can’t remember the last time my bed felt as comfortable as it did this morning. I don’t think I could’ve made it to the write-in this morning even if I wanted to.

I knew that NaNoWriMo wasn’t going to be easy, but I think I strongly underestimated just how intense it could be. 1,667 words a day is no big deal at all. Yesterday was the only day that I didn’t reach this goal. On most days I far surpassed it.

I think that one of the biggest problems I have been facing with NaNoWriMo is extreme exhaustion, most of which is caused by me pushing myself too hard. My daily goal is to get 1,667 words done so that come the end of the month I have 50K. But do I really need to write 50K words this month? I entered NaNoWriMo with 33,173 words. Adding 50K words on top of  that would bring me to 83,173 — that is a really long novel, especially for a memoir like the one that I am writing. Am I really interesting enough to have over 83,000 words written about me? Does anyone really want to read over 83,000 words about me? Probably not.

I hope I’m not pushing myself too far. For the first couple days of NaNoWriMo I wrote nearly 3,000 words when I really only needed 1,667 (possibly less due to my head start). I think this is why I’ve been so exhausted lately. Writing 3,000 words a day on top of my full 8+ hour work day, a trip to the gym, and all of my other daily activities is extremely draining. My body needed rest. I haven’t had a break or a time to rest in forever.

I wrote over 5,000 words today, but it didn’t feel too tiring or exhausting. It was exciting. I’m finally getting to the main point of my novel — the part where I begin to seriously consider getting a cochlear implant and taking the steps to make it happen. I was ableto pull a lot from my blog (www.confessionsofadefdeafgirl.wordpress.com) which certainly made for easier writing today. I should be able to do that much more moving forward which will definitely make my writing process much easier. I surpassed the magical 50K number today. I have a total word count of 50,171 words now, meaning my novel has reached official “novel length”. Even though I know I still have a long way to go with my novel before it’s really complete, that is still such an amazing feeling.

There are a few things that I’m wondering if I should have done differently as far as my writing process goes. The main thing is I’m beginning to think I should’ve organized or prepared better for NaNoWriMo. An outline that breaks my book into sections probably would have been very helpful — but would that have hurt my creative process? I’m thinking that once my first draft is complete, I’ll create an outline and put everything into a binder with subject dividers to help me to better organize my novel.

As for as the quality of my novel right now I feel like it can be summed up easily in one basic word: “crap”.

I have been just spilling out word after word after word. Some days this comes easier than other days. But I am aware of the fact that some of my analogies make no sense at all (I compared my hearing aid audiologist to a fisherman — what in the world?!?) and I’ve been using a ton of cliches and bouncing from idea to idea. In one section I started writing about meeting my surgeon for the first time and then went off topic and started writing about Sean Forbes for 10 pages or so.

My novel is very, very, very messy right now. It is nowhere near being ready for publication. But it’s over 50,000 words long with many more to go. It is a first draft. It is supposed to suck. It is supposed to not make sense. It is supposed to be blurry and confusing and a total disaster. That is why it is a first draft. The important thing at this stage in the game is getting the words down, the ideas out there. I can always make it pretty with originality, organized structure, and better analogies in the next draft, and the draft after that, and so forth.

NaNoWriMo has been a fun challenge and a great experience in the first week for me. I feel like I’m developing further into who I’ve always been: a writer. Not just any writer anymore, but a dedicated one that is determined to finish writing this book and publish it all in due time.

For many years I criticized NaNoWriMo because I figured, “Why do people go crazy every November trying to write a novel. What is stopping them from writing a novel any other month out of the year?”

But I get it now. It’s not about writing a novel in November. It’s not about the word count. It’s the fact that people are writing. They are becoming disciplined. They are making a habit out of writing and possibly really turning it into their career. Everyone does it in November, that is the official month for it. People feel pressure and have a support team around them encouraging them throughout the month of November to write.

It all starts in November with NaNoWriMo, but if you really truly win at NaNoWriMo, your word count doesn’t matter at all.

The true NaNoWriMo winners don’t have 50,000 words.

Some have 150,0000.

Some have 5.

The real, honest-to-God true winners of NaNoWriMo are the ones that don’t quit. They develop writing habits through NaNoWriMo and carry them on for the other 11 months out of the year, making an identity out of being a writer. NaNoWriMo is just the initial push they need to become who they always wanted to be and who they were always capable of being in the first place, they just may not have realized it.

I hope that at the end of November, I can declare myself a winner. And I’m talking about far more than the number of words I write for the remaining month of November.


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Image Credits: Amazon 

I first met Jason Cantrell almost exactly a year ago. We initially met on Twitter, which if you’re following him (if you’re not go ahead and do that ASAP…you’re really missing out on his witty tweets…) should come as no surprise. Jason is a pro at tweeting. I also had the fortune of meeting Jason in real life as we were both attending the same school, Rowan University, with the same major, Writing Arts, and taking separate classes with the same professor, Professor Wolff, at the time (I know that sentence was a mouthful…did you get all of that?). My favorite thing about my friendship with Jason is that it allowed me to take a step inside his writing process. I can watch him as he undergoes the process of constructing his stories from the early planning stages to the final, published product.

Jason’s short story, “Radiance” was especially special. He’s worked diligently on it for some time until he deemed it ready for publication. This was Jason’s first experience into the wondrous world of self-publishing. You can see more of his experience as he reflects on it in his blog. One of the most important aspects of publishing his short story was to have a nice, professional cover design. He even started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for it. His hard work most certainly paid off (no pun intended).

But lots of books have beautiful covers. It’s the first thing a person sees and what they ultimately judge a book by. While potential readers will certainly be drawn to the cover that Jason has chosen, they will be hooked once they begin reading the actual inside content. This is a very well written story that uses lots of beautiful, descriptive imagery to draw the reader in and keep them engaged.

The story starts off explaining how Maria’s mother is very ill and basically lying on her death bed in a hospital. The situation seems completely hopeless as doctors have already stated that there is nothing more they can do. This part of the story seems all too familiar to me, as I remember doctors saying that about my own grandmother as she battled an inoperable brain tumor two years ago. Maria seems to be full of regret and guilt for not being there enough for her mother. In the opening paragraph she reflects on how she cared for her own home more than her mother. Now she seems to think it is too late. Maria’s guilt and regret seems to be with her throughout the rest of the story.

One day when Maria visits her mother she seems to be overcome by a weird, supernatural form of radiance. I believe the radiance comes from outside initially, but it quickly becomes a part of Maria. Weird things start to happen to Maria. She seems to possess the ability to freeze things, which unfortunately includes a young girl that lives near by. Townspeople become furious with her over this. They believe her to be evil, possibly even murderous.

But the people are not dead, they are merely frozen. Maria is confident that they will soon thaw out and be restored to their normal conditions all in due time. One person that seems to be an exception is her own mother. The story explains that her mother will have to be preserved. This raises a number of questions within me…why do the people need to be frozen and why does her mother have to be preserved?

I feel like there are many religious undertones hidden throughout this story that only a deep, close reading can reveal. Maria’s mother is dying. Maria is suddenly RADIATING with weird, supernatural powers that allows her to freeze things. When we think of snow and ice we think of winter. Things die in the winter…Maria’s mom seems to be that thing that is dying.

I feel like the radiance surrounding Maria may be something from a higher being. Is Maria the chosen one — an angel or a prophet from God? The story does state  that the radiance or “feeling the light made her believe”. It also stated that the “radiance was holy and good”. I am drawing all kinds of parallels between “Radiance” and bible stories and prophecies.

The world was also facing strange, unexplainable supernatural events and disasters before Maria’s radiance came into play. These kinds of things happened throughout the bible, too. God and his chosen people helped to save cities from disaster and destruction. Is Maria’s radiance and her accidental freezing of people her way of saving them? Maria is said to be in dire need of change in her life, but perhaps she is not alone. In freezing people maybe Maria hopes to freeze them in their moments of time. They will thaw out when she is ready for them. Maybe she needs to change before she can be one with them, or maybe society and the world as a whole will need to change before they are ready to be thawed.

And what’s with Maria’s mom needing to be preserved? It sounds as though she is dead now, or will be within days. She doesn’t need to be frozen because she is already headed to the afterlife. She is described as being in an “eternal sleep where the plague cannot get to her”…this sounds very peaceful and well, heavenly. But if she is not yet dead maybe Maria is going off and freezing people in hopes that she can freeze time so as to have more time with her mother to make things right before her death.

Radiance is a short story that raises many questions and offers few, if any, answers. I kind of really like the way the story works in this manner. Jason trusts his readers enough to give them the freedom to reach their own conclusions and to interpret the story however they choose. This I think shows true strength in the writer.

I believe that Jason’s debut into the world of self-publishing with “Radiance” was highly successful. He has managed to take a giant leap from student writer to professional. I look forward to reading his next published work and his full-length novel, Manifestation, when it is released.

You can purchase a copy of Jason Cantrell’s E-book, “Radiance” through Amazon for only 99 cents. Trust me — it’s worth all of those 99 cents and many more.


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Image credits: Tulip Driven Life

Let’s face the facts: if you’re a writer you’re going to write about your own personal real-life experiences, even if what you are writing is fiction. It’s only natural and something that all good writers must do. Sometimes things in our life can be defined as tragedies. Tragedies are events in which have the ability to leave many permanent emotional scars on us. They change us, for better or for worse and are not things that easy to just simply “get over” or even come to terms with or make peace with. This is part of what makes tragedies great for writing inspiration. When we write about our experiences dealing with tragedies we are allowing ourselves to free our souls of things that may have been buried deep within us for some time. In a way it can be like searching for our own sense of inner peace, understanding, or acceptance of the situation. It can also be a way to solicit advice to others that may be dealing with a similar tragedy in their life, or even just a message that they are not alone.

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Image Credits: izquotes.com 

Unfortunately, in order to get to that point of inner peace or soliciting of advice, we must recall and un-bury the tragedies we have dealt with. This can be a very emotional and difficult task, as I saw for myself as I was working on my young adult novel dealing with themes such as teenage depression and suicide. Writing the first draft of my novel hasn’t been very difficult, until I got to chapter 9. Chapter 9 is the novel’s climax and most emotional chapter. In this chapter one of the character commits suicide.

My young adult novel is fiction, but it is largely based on real life experiences. A close friend and former classmate of mine committed suicide when I was 12 years old. Even though it happened about 9 and half year ago, it is a tragedy that has forever changed me. My goal with writing my novel is to inspire others to get help, speak up about mental illnesses, and prevent them from having to experience the same tragedy I myself have experienced.

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Image Credits: Pichu318 ‘s DeviantArt

In writing chapter 9 I was forced to recall the suicide of my friend. Every little detail from what happened before his suicide, when I found out about it, and the aftermath.I procrastinated a lot while working on this chapter because at times it was just too painful to deal with. I try to block out the pain I felt when he first committed suicide, but for my novel I needed to remember it all.

One thing I did to help free me of my procrastination and to help me get chapter 9 done was I live-tweeted the events to the best of my knowledge. I recalled what my day was like at school on the day of my friend’s suicide. I tweeted about what happened after school, how I found out about his suicide,his viewing, what went on after that. I tried to write down every single detail I could remember. It took me three hours and over 100 tweets. I did it consecutively without stopping. I felt that it was the only way for me to “get it all out”. I was afraid that if I took a break I’d never finish it.

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Image Credits: Press Index

I understand that some tragedies may be too deeply personal for an author to live-tweet about or post on any form of social media, but social media isn’t the important thing to worry about. The important thing is that you’re writing. Even if it’s just in a personal diary…WRITE! Write everything you remember about the tragedy. What happened before? What happened as the tragedy took place? What happened afterwards? What were you thinking? What were you feeling? Do you remember who you were with? What was said?

When you write about the tragedy try to recall every single detail as accurately as possible. This will help you to reflect on the tragedy and how you handled it along with how others handled it. You don’t have to include it all in your novel. Feel free to use bits and pieces and fictionalize it as much as your heart desires. Once you have the tragedy written out scene by scene, fictionalizing it will be easy. The hard, emotionally challenging party of writing it all out is already done with.

Don’t be afraid to write about tragedies. Many of the greatest works of literature are tragedies (Shakespeare, anyone?). If you’re writing fiction there’s no need to worry about the truth, either. Tragedies help people connect and relate not only to your story, but to each other. By writing about tragedies you will be doing someone a favor, someone who may feel alone in their situation will read your work and say, “No, I’m not alone. This person went through the exact same thing.”

you-are-not-alone

Image Credits: Chasing Death: Losing A Child To Suicide

In sum, my advice to you in dealing with tragedies as a writer is this: cry. write. cry. and write some more and don’t stop until you’re finished.


writing-on-paper-with-pen

Image Credits: AACC

I have been in the process of writing the first draft of my novel. I originally planned to call it “Escape”, but I have been debating on changing the title to “Secret Keeper” or something else entirely. The novel is young adult and focuses on teen depression and suicide.

depressed-suicidal-teenage-girl

Image Credits: Healthcare Times

I have been writing religiously. I aim to write a minimum of 1,000 words every night. I often go way over my goal. At the moment I am just over 10,000 total words. I have been writing for a little less than a week now.

As I write I realize that the more I write the more in control I feel. The first two chapters of my novel I felt were extremely shaky and I’m considering cutting them completely. I feel as though chapters 3 and 4 are where the novel really begins to take shape.

lower-your-standards-and-keep-writing

Image Credits: Urban Writers Retreat

I have posted a completely UNEDITED excerpt of my novel below featuring chapters 3 and 4. Please feel free to post any feedback you may have but do keep in mind that this is an unedited first draft and will probably undergo many changes before it is considered complete or finished.

READ CHAPTERS 3 AND 4 OF MY NOVEL HERE:

Chapter 4

Monday. Ugh. Mondays are never any good. They signify the start of another new week that will probably be even worse than the previous one if that’s even possible. No one likes Mondays, but if you’re like me you hate every day before and after Monday, too.

Today was a particularly bad Monday. It started with a big dispute with Isabella the whore before school. I wanted to wear one of my favorite outfits: a black fishnet sweater, red plaid pants, anarchy converse, a ton of chains, a spiked collar and my new favorite accessory: a red and black plaid tie that I just bought from the local Spencers in the mall.

I knew that Isabella wouldn’t approve of my clothing choices today. Goth, punk, emo, skater, or whatever it is you would call this “style” is something Isabella wants no parts in. She just likes to wear skin tight clothes that you can see her microscopic thong through or every curve of her size DD (most likely fake) boobs in. Short skirts and low-cut or cropped tops are also her favorite. But it’s not like she doesn’t have the body for it. But even so if *I* had Isabella’s body I don’t think I’d dress like that. I’d be more modest so as not to make anyone feel jealous or insecure. Plus, I wouldn’t want to look like a complete whore unlike Isabella.

I tried to get ready quickly today so as to leave early before Isabella had the chance to wake up and yell at me for my clothes. Plan = big time FAIL!!!!  Isabella was up bright and early chipper as anything. Fuck she even made breakfast. She must have had some great sex last night or even early this morning to put her in that great of a mood. Sex…yes that is it. Her Jair’s a greasy, knotted mess and she’s wearing little more than Dad’s oversized dress shirt. If that doesn’t scream sex than I don’t know what does…not that I’d really know. I never even came close to having sex.

Isabella’s chipper mood was quickly killed when she saw me. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised though. No one is ever to thrilled by my presence. I’m rarely more than a nuisance to people.

“What the heck are you wearing?” Isabella asked.

“Fishnets, plaid, spikes, chains, anarchy symbols…you know the usual” I shrugged.

“It looks like you’re wearing a funeral party. Go up to your room and get changed into something more…pleasant” she said.

“This is pleasant to me”, I pleaded, but I knew in the back of my mind I’d never win that argument.

“Well tough luck kiddo. You’re outnumbered by the world’s population today. You’re not going to school until you change into something half decent.”

“No school’s fine with me” I uttered.
“Rachel Elizabeth Mcgovern! You get changed this instant!” she demanded. I wanted to fight her words. I wanted to tell her she wasn’t my real mom and I therefore didn’t have to listen to her, but I knew it was pointless. When even your whore of a stepmother uses your middle name you know you’re fucked. Dad wasn’t awake yet, but I knew he’d agree with Isabella the whore, not me. Pretty easy thing to do when you’re getting blowjobs from a hot brazillian model on demand.

I went in my room and changed into a yellow t-shirt and blue jeans. Simple, but I thought she would approve. Everyone thinks of yellow as being a pretty happy and cheerful color. My secret? Every time I see the color yellow I’m reminded of insane asylums. I mean, don’t they keep yellow padded walls for their inmates in those things? Who knows? I guess people that are in insane asylums know, but I don’t know anyone in one of those places…yet. Another secret of mine: sometimes I think I’ll be the first person I know of to end up there. At least I’ll have a t-shirt (approved by a Brazilian whore) to match the walls, right?

Regardless of whether yellow is viewed as being the color of happiness or the color of craziness one thing I know is true: I despise it. I’m not even sure why I own a this stupid yellow t-shirt. I pretty much never wear it. It’s so ugly. There is no way I was going to wear that all day.

I packed my original outfit…plaid pants, fishnet sweater, chains, spikes, and all in my backpack. The stupid yellow shirt might have helped me out of the house, but that didn’t mean I needed it once I was at school…or so I thought.

Despite my morning showdown with Isabella I somehow managed to get to school about 10 minutes early. “Perfect”, I thought, “Now I can change into my original outfit before anyone can see me with this stupid yellow shirt.”

I went in the locker room to get changed. I thought I would be alone, but I quickly forgot that the mornings in the locker room were plagued with sporty girls organizing their equiptment and first period gym girls getting ready for gym. I didn’t understand why so many girls had to get changed for first period gym. If I had gym first period I was just wear my gym clothes to school and get changed to my regular clothes afterwards, but whatever. I guess some of them don’t want to miss the opportunity to show off their perfect half-naked bodies.

The purpose of a locker room is to get changed from or for a workout or sports event or gym class or whatever, right? At least that’s what I’m assuming the guy who created the first locker room had in mind. That’s not really how it works though.

In reality, the girls stare at their bodies in front of the floor mirror for what seems like eternity. They swivel around so they can examine their thighs, butts, and backs. They spend a great deal of time going over their front reflection too, sometimes cradling their breasts in their hands, as if to test them for size. You can always catch at least one girl staring at another’s body, comparing it to their own.

Today it was my own body on display, but definitely not by choice. As I started to get changed Carley and her posse came in. I was confused at first, wondering why they could possibly be spending time in the locker room at this hour but then quickly remembered that she was cheer captain and probably wanted to store her pom-poms and megaphone in her gym locker.

At first Carley glared at me and snarled, “Ugh what is SHE doing in here? She’s not cool enough to play any sports and she doesn’t even have gym this marking period.”

One member of her posse, Erica, whispered not-so-subtly, “Looks like she is unleashing her inner freak” as she watched me throw on my plaid pants, fishnets, chains, spikes, and anarchy converse.

“Someone needs to tell her plaid does not work in her favor. I mean, look at her thunder thighs. I can practically hear them clapping together. Doesn’t she realize that plaid just makes them look even wider?” Phoebe, posse member number 3, said.

“She looks like a baby hippo. Maybe that’s what she’s doing here…searching for food like the hippos in that game…what was it called? Hungry, Hungry Hippo?” they all laughed.

I finished tying my anarchy shoes and got up off the bench in the locker room and headed towards Carley, Erica, and Phoebe. I couldn’t take their insults anymore…enough was enough!

“Hey, got something you’d like to say?” I asked Carley, the leader of the posse.

“No, I was just wondering if you realized this is a locker room and our school doesn’t have a pool, so I’m not sure why you insist on wearing clothes that make you look like a whale.” Carley said.
“Hippo. I thought we agreed she looks like a baby hippo,” Phoebe stated.

“I like what I’m wearing. It makes me feel unique,” I said.

“Pft. All hippos must feel unique,” Erica whispered.

“I don’t have a problem with your decision to dress like marine or land animals…the school administration on the other hand may have a different opinion, though”, Carley stated matter-of-factly.

“What do you mean by that? I questioned.

“Mrs. Kingley! Mrs. Kingley! Mrs. Kingley!” Carley screamed out as she stormed into Mrs. Kingley, the high school gym teacher’s office.

“Carley, what’s wrong?” she asked.

“It’s Rachel McGovern. She just came in here wearing chains and spikes and fishnets…I’m not sure her wardrobe is entirely safe today or that it meets the school’s dress code. I’m just really worried about her safety, that’s all.” She said as I stood a few rows back in front of my gym locker.

Mrs. Kingley glanced down the hall at me. She and I have never been on the best of terms. I’m not particularly athletic. I did try soccer once…WORST TWO WEEKS OF MY LIFE! I’m not much of an athlete in gym class, either. I usually don’t bother to get changed or participate. I’d rather not take part in the judgmental locker room fashion show. I prefer to skip episodes like today at all costs. On the rare occasions that I do get changed and participate (trust me it’s rare…I only do it enough to get a D- so I don’t get held back a year…) I make sure to show zero enthusiasm and I barely move at all. It is quite understandable if Mrs. Kingley hates me…

Carley on the other hand is practically Mrs. Kingley’s BFF. In addition to being a gym teacher, Mrs. Kingley is also the coach of the varsity cheerleading squad, which Carley is the captain of. Carley has Mrs. Kingley on the back of her pretty little hand. Whenever Carley needs or wants something Mrs. Kingley can’t get to it fast enough. In a showdown between Carley and I Carley is ALWAYS going to win. That is exactly what happened on this particular lousy Monday morning.

After glancing at me from the hall, Mrs. Kingley shouted, “Rachel McGovern…can you please see me in my office real quick?”

I nodded and headed down, already knowing what this was going to be about.

When I entered her office she shut her door and told me to take a seat. Then she said, “Rachel a fellow student just raised a concern about your outfit. She is worried about your safety and I think she’s right. I believe that your outfit is in violation of Stone Ridge High’s dress code policy.

What do you mean? What’s wrong with my outfit? I asked.

Mrs. Kingley pulled out her trusty copy of the Stone Ridge High student handbook from the top right drawer of her desk. She always kept a copy in her desk, usually to remind her students of the school’s gym class dress code and to warn students that refuse to participate in gym (I am becoming quite familiar with that stupid handbook…). But today Mrs. Kingley flipped right past the section about the gym dress code. She was more focused on the general school dress code.

“Page 32, second paragraph, numbers  and 7. Read,” she demanded.

“Any article of clothing with a printed message, word, phrase, or image may not contain profanity, obscenity, or the promotion of any illegal activity or violence.  Any article of clothing that is deemed inappropriate, offensive or a distraction to the educational environment by a staff member will be required to be changed.”

I looked up at Mrs. Kingley. I felt my jaw drop a little bit. I knew my clothes were a little…edgy…but I really didn’t think they came across as being offensive.

“Go on,” Mrs. Kingley said, “read the rest of them.”

“Students are not permitted to wear chains, excessively heavy jewelry, or jewelry that constitutes a health or safety hazard or if it is harmful to the building or equipment.  Students found in violation of this policy may be asked to remove their jewelry.”

I paused to give Mrs. Kingsley a chance to speak. I wait 10 seconds, but the silence is so awkward that it feels like an eternity. To break the silence I ask, “So you want me to take off my jewelry?”

“That would certainly be a start…” she said.

“What’s wrong with the rest of my clothes?” I ask. As far as I’m aware, the only dress code violation I committed is the one about no chains.

“They are highly distracting and disruptive and you know it. Ms. Francesca just came in my office worried about your outfit. If she found your clothes to be a distraction I’m sure others would, too. Plus your anarchy sneakers promote rebellion against the government. These forms of political rebellion often cause riots and all sorts of violence. I’m not comfortable with you wearing clothes that promotes that kind of violence in an educational setting.

“There are students that wear t-shirts with our president on them and no one says anything to them,” I argued.

“Our president has always been a peaceful man,” she insisted.

I wanted to tell Mrs. Kinsley otherwise. I wanted to remind her of how our president refuses to send troops home from Afghanistan and how we are enemies with North Korea and how he can never seem to leave other countries like Libya and Syria or even Iran alone these days. But I knew that Mrs. Kinsley was a proud democrat with a poster of our current president hanging in her office, so I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut about that. Instead I simply asked, “What about Carley?”

“What do you mean ‘What about Carley?” Mrs. Kingsley questioned.

“Did you see what Carley’s wearing today?” I asked.

“Yeah, Carley is dressed appropriately as always,” she said.

“But what about her shirt? It’s skin tight and super low cut. You can look

right down it!” I screamed before backing my voice down to a whisper and repeating, “and I’m not sure she’s even wearing a bra today.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with Carley’s shirt today Ms. McGovern. I think I would know if Carley chose not wear undergarments being that this is a lockerroom and I’m sure someone would’ve informed me of that case by now.

“But what about her skirt? It doesn’t come to her knee…it’s way shorter”, I argued.

“Ms. Francesca is wearing the skirt that goes to her cheerleading uniform. It is the longest one the school has. I don’t see a problem with it. You’re the only one that seems bothered by Ms. Francesca’s clothes today.

“But don’t you see her clothes as causing a distraction?” I asked.

“No. When I look at Carley I see a normal teen girl wearing normal teen clothes. Maybe it’s your own feelings towards Carley that are causing a distraction for you. You know from my health class that if you ever need to talk about those kinds of feelings you’re having or if you’re even questioning your sexuality you can come talk to me or another trusted adult. But right now I really need you to get changed.”

I was mortified! Ms. Kingsley just accused me of being a lesbian and having feelings for Carley! That couldn’t be further from the truth. All I was doing was stating a fact! Carley’s clothes do cause distractions to EVERYONE, not just me! There were even rumors of a few boys in our class getting erections and “blue balls” in class after seeing down Carley’s shirts or up her skirts in class! If that’s not a distraction I don’t know what is.

I knew I couldn’t win the case against Carley with Mrs. Kingsley especially not when part of her outfit  contained her prized cheerleading uniform. I didn’t have anything left to say so I did the only thing I knew how to do; I cried.

Mrs. Kingsley tried to comfort me the best that she could, but she’s never really been good at that kind of thing. Plus, I couldn’t really tell her what was wrong because I really didn’t know. I guess I was just so frustrated by watching Carley go off and live her perfect little life and never get in any trouble whatsoever while everything I touch, everything I do, every little part of my life constantly turns to shit.

“Rachel, there’s really no need to cry. You’re not really in trouble. This is just a warning. All I need from you is to change…do you have clothes you can change into?” Mrs. Kingsley asked.

I shook my head no in between sobs. It wasn’t entirely a lie. Sure I had that ugly yellow shirt and my blue jeans that I originally came to school wearing, but I forgot all about my anarchy shoes…I didn’t have any other shoes with me to change into and that seemed to be one of the things Mrs. Kingsley was the most concerned about.

“Ok, normally I would have to call your parents to come and pick you up so you can get changed. I’m still going to have to do that, but you seem pretty upset by all of this. Why don’t you just take the day off. Go and take some time to pull yourself together and maybe show up tomorrow in an appropriate outfit.

I nodded, but secretly I dreaded the idea of her calling home. I knew dad was at work and Isabella would be the one that would have to come and get me. Man, being 16 really sucks. If I were 18 I would be able to sign myself out and there would be no need to call Isabella the whore about all of this nonsense. Actually, if I were 18 Isabella really could be dead to me…I’d be a legal adult able to care for myself. I mean, at 16 I think I can handle caring for myself without an adult, but the government seems to think otherwise. Man, fuck the government. And people wonder why I wear anarchy sneakers…

The conversation between Mrs. Kingsley and Isabella didn’t seem to go too bad. First Mrs. Kingsley said, “Hi Mrs. McGovern I’m calling because Rachel’s outfit was found to be in violation of Stone Ridge High’s dress code policy.

I’m guessing then Isabella must have said something about that stupid yellow t-shirt and my blue jeans I left the house wearing because then Mrs. Kingsley said, “No…she’s not wearing those. She is wearing plaid pants, a fishnet sweater, chains, and a spiked collar. We find her choice of clothing to be a distraction and possibly hazardous.

Isabella must have told Mrs. Kingsley she’d pick me up to change and then send me back to school afterwards because then Mrs. Kingsley notified her that I could take the rest of the day off. “She seemed to get really upset when I asked her to change. I think a mental health day would do her good,” Mrs. Kingsley said, followed by an “Okay, good. I’ll have her wait in the locker room until you can come and pick her up”.  I take it as Isabella agreed to pick me up. Not that she had much of a choice.

After Mrs. Kingsley hung up the phone she said, “Your stepmom told me this isn’t what you had on when you left for school today. Care to explain why you decided to change? I’d be curious to know since I can’t even seem to get you to change for gym class when you’re required to.”

“I didn’t like the shirt I had on originally.”

“I see. Well that shirt is appropriate. The one you have on now isn’t. You can change back to the clothes you started off wearing today.”

“Does this mean my stepmom doesn’t have to come?” I asked.

“No, she’s still coming. You’ve successfully cried your way out of school today. Plus your shoes are still inappropriate and I don’t believe you have any others to change into, am I right?”

“Yes, you are right. These are my only shoes right now.”

“Okay, well then get changed. You’re stepmom will be picking you up soon.”

I nodded and went to get changed yet again to the ugly yellow shirt. I wondered what Carley and her posse would say if they saw this outfit. It’s pretty plain, but I’m sure they’d have some smart comment. Nothing I wear will ever be good enough for them. I could wear skin tight clothes and have my boobs and ass hanging out of them like Carley does but all they’d say is something about my boobs being too small and my ass being too big. I think they’d say that even if it were all the same size as theirs. I’ll never be good enough for them no matter what.

Isabella was friendly as fuck when she walked in Stone Ridge High. They must think she’s the nicest person in the world. She talked with a soothing voice and acted like she was my bff. She said “Oh look at you. I guess I should’ve helped you pick out your outfit today. Well lets get you home and maybe take a nap and we’ll try again tomorrow” with the phoniest fucking smile. She thanked Mrs. Kingsley for calling her and promised I’d be back tomorrow.

All that quickly went to hell when we got home. She unlocked the door, slammed it behind us, and immediately screamed, “RACHEL ELIZABETH MCGOVERN WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?” I shouted back. Wrong answer, I know, but I hate being yelled at…especially by Isabella.

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER DECIDED TO GO TO SCHOOL DRESSED LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF A GOD DAMN FUNERAL PALOUR SO I JUST HAD TO CANCEL MY HAIR APPOINTMENT TO PICK HER ASS UP FROM SCHOOL. I MADE THAT APPOINTMENT TWO MONTHS AGO AND GOD KNOWS WHEN THEY WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ME TO BOOK ANOTHER APPOINTMENT. YOU KNEW YOUR CLOTHES WERE INAPPROPRIATE THIS MORNING BUT YOU CHOSE TO BE SNEAKY AND CHANGE THEM BEHIND MY BACK ANYWAY. SERIOUSLY, RACHEL I HAVE HAD IT WITH YOU AND YOUR ANTICS!”

“FUCK YOU. YOU’RE NOT MY FUCKING MOM AND I’M NOT YOUR DAUGHTER. I WILL WEAR WHATEVER I FUCKING WANT. I HATE YOU YOU BITCH,” I shouted back before bursting into tears. Okay, that admittedly wasn’t my best comeback. I’m not sure that was a comeback at all, more of a vent of frustration.

“Oh there you go with your fucking crying horseshit again. You’re being such a baby about this. Baby needs to cry to get out of school all because no one likes her freak show outfit. Boo-hoo-hoo. Grow the fuck up.

I didn’t respond to her last comment. It was worthless, I already lost the argument as far I was concerned anyway. I lost the ones to Carley, I lot to Mrs. Kingsley, and now I lost to Isabella. I’m living in a world where I just can’t fucking win. I’m just not good enough for this world. This world would be much better off without  me.

I ran up to my room, slammed the door and locked it and proceeded to cry into my pillow. I cried myself to sleep. A nice sound, sleep of sorrow. That is my escape. It’s too bad there always comes a time when I have to wake. But maybe one day that will all change and I’ll really be able to escape forever.

Chapter 4

            I was awaken by an angry whore…erm Isabella…at around 6. She demanded I come down to eat my dinner, but I refused.

“Rachel, come down to dinner,” she said, pleasant as fuck.

“I’m not hungry. I’m just going to hang out in my room and try to see what I missed in school today so I can catch up,” I replied. It was a lie, but I thought it sounded better than the truth.  Truth was I wanted to see if my crush, James, was online by any chance, and if not, I wanted to continue crying into my pillow until I fell back asleep.

“Rachel your father works his ass of all day to provide this meal for you. The least you can do is come down, eat it, and thank him for his hard work!” she yelled.

“Thank you but I’m not hungry! You can’t force me to eat!” I yelled back.

“Fine, but we’ll remember that the next time you want to go to the mall with your little friends! Maybe we’ll be tired and we won’t feel like driving you there!” she yelled.

I slammed my door shut and cried. Mall? Friends? Helloooo….when was the last time I asked to go to the mall with my friends? Like never? The only “friend” I have is Elsie and she doesn’t like the mall. She says the mall is for sell-outs (whatever that means) and she only shops at thrift stores. I don’t need Isabella or dad to drive us there. The thrift shop is right down the street so we can just walk there.

I decided to go back to my initial plan and checked Facebook to see if James was online by any chance. I was in luck! He was online and he’s already left a message for me! So did Elsie. And Sarah, a random girl from my math class. They all wanted to know why I wasn’t in school today.             I answered Sarah’s message first because I figured it would be the shortest conversation.

“I tried to go in but got sick and had to go home.”

“Oh, really? Was that it? Carley said you got sent home because of your clothes.”

“Great”, I thought, “Apparently Carley and her posse have already told the whole school everything. I should’ve figured that would happen.” I wrote back to Sarah, “Yeah they were concerned about my clothes but I was also sick so I didn’t come back.” I figured I could at least attempt to go along with my made up story, right? I mean, didn’t that sound better than the truth? Besides, Carley had no way of knowing how I actually FELT and whether or not I was actually sick, right?

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear…are you feeling any better???” she asked.

“Yeah, I think I’ll be back tomorrow. What did I miss?” I asked.

“We actually had a sub today so it was basically study hall. We need to do page 45 #3-45 odd for homework.”

“Odd? Are you sure? It’s always the even ones if not all of them because everyone knows that the answers for the odd ones are always in the back of the book…” I said.

“No, she definitely said odd. Consider yourself lucky. J” she said.

“Thanks” I replied and then closed off the message window. As far as I knew the conversation was over.

Next I opened James’s message. I was most excited to see what he had to say. I figured Elsie’s message could wait.

“Hey Rachel. Missed you in health today, are you ok?” he asked.

“Yeah…I’m fine. I got sent home for my stupid clothes,” I said. I may have lied a bit to Sarah, but I couldn’t bring myself to lie to James. There’s just something about him that makes it so easy to talk to. I swear James is the only one that cares about me sometimes. It’s a shame he has to hang out with Carley and her possee so much because he’s so much better than they are. But he’s beautiful. So beautiful. Everyone wants to be around him…including Carley and her posse. And well, Carley’s beautiful too (as much as I hate to admit that). Beauty attracts beauty, right? I guess I should be thankful that he is nice to me since I am so far from being beautiful like him and Carley are…

“Yeah, I heard about it from Carley,” he said.

“FUCKING CARLEY”, I screamed in my mind. I typed back, “Yeah, sounds like she told the whole school or something.”

“Lol”was all he typed back.

I waited for  what seemed like an eternity for a response. Suddenly Elsie’s chat box started blowing up. I figured I’d better take a minute to open it and see what she wanted.

“Hey!”

“Where were u today?”

“Are u okay?”

“U there?”

“Answer meeeee”

“Jesus Christ”, I muttered to myself, “Doesn’t she have a life or something?” I typed back to Elsie “yeah, I’m fine. Mrs. Kingsley sent me home for clothes.” I typed.

I noticed James’s text box started flashing again. “FINALLY!” I screamed out loud, then looked around my room to make sure no one heard me. I forgot Gizmo was in my room. He looked up from my bed with startled eyes. I walked over to him and pat him on the head. “Sorry, Giz. I guess I got a little too excited…” I said before walking back to my desk and logging back onto Facebook.

James’s message said, “Yeah that’s Carley. She can be really nice but she tends to talk a bit too much sometimes…” he said.

I wrote back “Carley???? Nice??? On what planet?!?” I knew my comment was a bit bold, but somehow with James it all seemed perfectly okay.

“Ha…you make me laugh. J”

I make James laugh?? Was that a good thing? There was a smiley at the end of it…it had to be good!

I smiled, for the first time all day and I immediately felt my face get hot. Damn it. That’s James. He can ALWAYS make me smile even when I feel like death.

Elsie’s chat box was flashing again. Uh-oh. Better see what she wants.

“Yeah, I heard your clothes were not appropriate? I thought that was Carley’s trick?

“Psh.Carley. That bitch is the reason I got sent home. She didn’t like my chains and anarchy shoes.”

“0. Y not?”

“Because she’s Carley and she doesn’t like anything about me?”

“0 I see. But how did Carley get you sent home?”

I stopped to switch back to James.  Elsie was already beginning to annoy me. James was only making me happy. He was my only source of happiness all day.

“Well I’m glad I can make you laugh!” I said, “I just hope it’s a good thing? Carley laughs at me too…but It’s never a good thing….” I said.

“Oh yeah. You’re funny but in a good way. You’re a good person. Carley’s just insecure.”

I laughed. Carley? Insecure? Yeah, right. That’s like saying Beyonce has no self-confidence.

I messaged Elsie back. “She told Mrs. Kingsley she was concerned about my clothes. You know how Mrs. Kingsley is with Carley…”

“Yeah. That’s like her  bff lol”

“Exactly”

“Well, I g2g for dinner now. Will I see u tomorrow?”

“Oh yeah, I’ll be back. Hopefully my clothes will be okay…”

“Lol. K. Bye.” She said. I closed off of her chat box. Finally got rid of her! Now I could focus all of my attention on James.

“I don’t understand how Carley could possibly be insecure?” I wrote.

“You’d be surprised. Not everyone is as happy as you think…” he said.

“Yeah…I guess…”

“Trust me. Some people are just good actors.”

“True.”

“Well, I got to go. See you tomorrow?”

“Yes…but wait, before you go, what did I miss in health class?”

“Oh. Free condoms, a BS speech about how abstinence is the only real “safe sex” method but that we should take the condoms “just incase”

“So, nothing, right?”

“Pretty much.”

“Any homework?”

“Only for you…”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked, assuming he just meant makeup work.

“Mrs. Kingsley wants you to dress appropriately for tomorrow’s class…no chains. That yellow shirt you hate so much is okay though… :-p”

“HAHAHAHA. I’ll try to wear something she’ll approve…but I think I’m going to set fire to that yellow shirt…”

“Be careful. I wouldn’t want you to end up burning yourself and have to miss another day of school…”he said.  Woah, wait? Did he just say he missed me? I mean, he didn’t, but he kind of did? Like if you read in between the lines he totally said that, right?

I wrote back, “Lol! Don’t worry I’ll be back tomorrow burnt-free.” Burnt-free? What does that even mean? That was a really weird thing to say…Why doesn’t Facebook have an un-send option yet????

“K. See you tomorrow.”

“Bye”.

I closed off of James’s chat box and turned off my laptop. I walked over to my bed. Gizmo left to sleep on a pile of clothes I had in the middle of my floor. He’s so weird. He’d much rather lay in a mess of dirty clothes than on my comfortable bed. But whatever. His loss. I’m glad to have my bed to myself…but if someone like James came along I sure as hell wouldn’t hesitate to share it…

I laid in bed retracing my conversation with James. What did he mean when he said not everyone is as happy as they seem? I’m not a very happy person, yeah, but I don’t think I ooze happiness or shit butterflies or anything. No, instead I try to wear chains and spikes and dark colors an anarchy shoes to school only to get sent home to change and then get told to stay home because I cried. Not exactly the portrait of the world’s happiest 16 year old, is it?

But Carley is different. She’s so beautiful and she always get everything she wants or needs handed to her on a silver Gold, diamond-encrusted platter. She clearly doesn’t know what it’s like to struggle or feel depressed or anything but happy, right?

And what did James mean when he said he wouldn’t want me to miss another day? Did he really miss me that bad? Or was he just being nice? What is “nice” anyway? I mean, James claims that Carley is “nice” so he must have a really fucked up, distorted version of what it means to be nice, right? Sigh.

I called Gizmo back up to my bed. I wanted someone to cuddle with. I really wanted James, but since he obviously wasn’t around or even mine to cuddle I figured Gizmo was the next best thing. That’s pretty sad. I’m comparing cuddling with my cat to cuddling with an actual guy that I think I may be in love with. Not that I have a chance with him…James I mean. I have a much better chance of growing up and becoming a crazy Cat lady that cuddles with Gizmo and hoards cats and stores them on multiple shelves in her room instead…

I don’t really want to grow up to be a crazy cat lady. Then again,  who does? I’m sure all of those crazy cat ladies never said in their younger days, “I’d really love to grow old and collect cats and become a crazy cat lady.” It just kind of happens. But I do secretly wish I could be a cat. I mean, he doesn’t feel anything but happiness and it’s obvious that it’s real. I don’t think they fake their happiness the way that James said some people do. And they don’t lay in their bed overanalyzing everything that the love of their life just messaged them either. They just sleep  and puke all over everything and wonder when they’re going to get fed again. It must be nice to be a cat.



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