Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Day At the New School; Querying; There will be no funeral

First Day At The New School

When I was in first grade, we moved halfway through the year. I left behind my best friend Christopher and my boyfriend, Ian. He gave me a Barbie doll the last time we saw each other, which was in his basement, putting magnetic letters up on the side of his family's extra freezer. I took it and left.

Ian's house was also where I had Pop Rocks for the first time. I think my eyes bugged out of my head. Everyone laughed. I opened my mouth and shot someone in the face. Those things are dangerous, but very fun.

I knew everybody at my old school. Christopher and Ian and I had put our three desks together, like a little island. We shared crayons and stuff. At the new school, the desks were all in rows, none touching and you couldn't move them, apparently. They gave me a box of crayons that was missing blue, and they told us to draw a picture of the lawn and sky outside the window. I didn't have blue. I couldn't ask these strangers, none of whom even looked at me. I tried to draw the sky green and put black over it, hoping they would mistake it for blue, but no. The teacher came around and said, "Becky, the sky is blue. Use your blue crayon." She walked on and I tried to put other colors together to make blue, but by the time she came back, my whole sky was a black-brown scribble with bits of red and yellow showing through like some kind of apocalypse was about to descend on the peaceful green grass and little daisies below, and she acted like I didn't know what the color blue was and maybe I was retarded, or maybe I was deliberately disobeying her, and I had to stand in the hall for punishment. Retarded or misbehaving, you got punished either way in those days.

Then later, as if my humiliation wasn't enough, we had to sit in a circle. I thought it was Duck, Duck, Goose. Okay. Cool. I knew Duck, Duck, Goose. Everyone started clapping. WTF? There's no clapping in Duck, Duck, Goose! And they started singing about fireflies and frogs. I started opening and shutting my mouth like a fish, pretending I knew the words, and then I realized that every person had to sing a line of the song. They were coming around. They were getting closer to me. I was so panicked, I couldn't learn the words fast enough.

So when they got to me, I just puked. Right into the middle of the circle. I mean, PUKED. It splattered kids' shoes and the knees of their pants across from me, because everyone was sitting cross-legged. The whole place went silent. And then everyone started saying, "Ew!" and I got hauled up by the armpits and made to stand in the hall again, and a surly janitor came along with his sawdust and mops and glared at me, and the wall was really cold but I couldn't move an inch because I was terrified.

Then my mom came and got me and I stayed on the couch for the rest of the afternoon, watching soaps with her and eating saltines and drinking ginger ale, and I played sick for another day -- actual puke counted for something, as opposed to just saying you "didn't feel so good" -- and when I went back to school, I surreptitiously took a blue crayon from home and put it in the crayon box in my desk at school, and wouldn't you know, that day we were supposed to be drawing what we thought SPACE looked like, and everyone used their black crayons, which I had already scribbled down to a nub when I had tried to make a blue sky. I ended up using my new blue crayon in some spots. The teacher didn't say anything. I think I'd already been labelled.


Over at BookEnds, Jessica has a short, informative post on querying. Did you know that if you've sent out twenty queries and not received any requests, that something is wrong with your query? I've never written a query, but now I know.


The official word is in: cue the dramatic, impending-doom music, because my USB is dead. It shorted out, and because everything inside is very tiny, a simple short destroys it all. It was "burnt," they said. Here is a list of some things that were on it that are irrecoverable (some things, very nice people who beta'd for me were able to send me):

The first seven chapters of a steampunk novel involving a brave girl and a bizarre circus and ROBOTS.

The rest of Kai's story, the android from my flash fic, "Organic."

Two creative non-fiction pieces I'd been working on for a year, one on my sadly ignored clit and another on the adventures of my inverted nipples.

A horror story involving a flooded world and strained relationships and red tears.

A short story about a werewolf who's pretty pathetic at being a werewolf and who gets involved in the Detroit werewolf Mafia, much against his will.

Numerous stories that started out with a single paragraph and then I went, "Meh. Kinda sucks," and then I didn't delete it because I can never bear to delete anything, no matter how terrible. (so the universe came along and did it for me)

A bunch of other stuff. I'd been preparing myself for this, and quietly writing a new novel -- YA fantasy, which surprises even me -- to comfort myself, and so, life goes on. Duck, Duck, Goose.


  1. Oh, the Steampunk novel was on there? Man, that sucks!

    Personally, I PREFER your post-apocalyptic sky. Any asshole can draw a BLUE one. Sounds like a dreadful school, and I went to catholic school for 8 years, so I know dreadful!

  2. Yes, but I believe that someone has my chapters, so I just need to ask. Hopefully, they've got them.

    Catholic school! Horrible! In high school, we had a girl who got kicked out of Catholic school and had to transfer over to our school. She instantly became the coolest girl ever.

  3. Love your school days. Like Mimi said, anyone can draw a blue sky.

    Poor USB stick. I feel for you, Rebecca. Hope you, your clit and your inverted nipples get over it real quick!!

    Ha! Have a great weekend and see you at Lily's. I snook it at the last minute and got a lame effort in last night. Busy as usual.

  4. Horrid!!! I love your stories!!!
    You seem to be handling this with panache, I have to say. My hair would be still drifting to the floor in tufts. And I was genuinely believing with all the technology of today, your words would be shored up and plopped on a computer drive somewhere, gasping but relieved.

    And honestly, I was that way uncool kid myself. I did however heartily defend myself one day by throwing worms at the mean pretty girls. Victory lived that day, and the screams were loud indeed. (But usually I just had a lowered book under my desk while the teacher was talking.)

  5. Hey Jenny, I take it you were throwing worms at the mirror then??

  6. Me o my.
    Pressures of school suck. I hope I can change that when I start teaching... ha...

    So upset about the USB thing for you. I hope you can ask that person who has your chapters and they will kindly send them back to you. that would be helpful.

    Am loving that you are writing a YA. I've had the bug up my ass the past few days and have been kicking ass on my own YA. So. YA for us both! hehehehehh get it? YA, as in YAAA!!!! okay, it's after midnight... my normal pills have worn off.

  7. This was so horrific in reminding me of my schooldays - especially the miming until it got to be your turn to say the words - not sure 'thanks' is the appropriate response

  8. I like the new blog look. I love how well the crayon captures the sense of abandonment and estrangement of being in a new culture.

    I suppose if I send out 20 queries for dark fantasy to romance markets that would count as something wrong with my query, but probably more of a market thing. Sorry, it's hard for me to believe hard-rule numbers. I believe in exceptions ;) Although, this isn't one where it pays to be in the exception.

    Sorry to hear about the USB. These sound like fun projects and I hope you get enough of them captured through betas/etc.