Would you keep reading?

August 31, 2009
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I went to my nearly bald Seventh Grade English teacher, Mr. Daniels, after class, cause, well, I’d rather not get sent to the principal’s office the first day for ignoring a teacher’s instructions.

“You wanted to see me.” I said, preparing myself for The Conversation. The one I had with my English teacher every year on the second day of school since the first grade. What is it, you ask? Well, Mr. “Open-minded” here, is about to explain it without realizing.

“Oh. Yes. Monica Fisher. I would like to talk to you about something. Your English teacher from last year told me you haven’t read a single book in your entire life. I laughed because I could never believe such a thing. Everyone has read at least one chapter book in his or her life, and much more than that to make it into this class. Why do you think she said that?” He was open to any answer, which explains my earlier hint about his open-mindedness, like all my other teachers, except, “Because it’s true.”

Of course, he didn’t believe me, at first. Mr. Daniels investigated me for another minute or so until he seemed convinced that I hadn’t read a book in my life and still managed to get into the Honors English class. He thought that, whether it was true or not, I’d fail this class if this “habit” continued. Then, he told me to go to my next class like a drill sergeant.

I decided I liked him because he was the first teacher who understood, before the end of my next class, that I could read but wouldn’t do so over my dead body. All the other English teachers asked me stupid questions like, “Do you have dyslexia?” “Are you afraid of paper cuts?” and “Are there monsters in your bookshelves?” (The last one was from the 1st grade, but even then it was ridiculous).

Did I care whether or not they understood me? No, but it got annoying when I came late to the class after English on the second day of school every year because of the conversation. Just FYI: you know you’re late when you open the door and tada! Everyone’s sitting at their desk with a notebook and pencil except the peach-colored raisin who’s supposed to be your Spanish teacher. Most of the time, based on my experiences, teachers let you off the hook and act like you were there the whole time, like my first through sixth grade teachers. But the other times the teacher will glare at you with her beady black eyes until you sit at the bad empty desk in the front row, like Seniora Paris my new Spanish teacher.

She’d glared at the boy who came late to class the day before, so this was expected. It was not expected for her to keep it up for another two minutes. It was so awkward that I had to break eye-contact first which never happens to me. I always out-eye-contact teachers, so, I had no idea what to do when I lost. I looked at her shoes which happened to be a really ugly brown so I moved up to her skirt which also happened to be a really ugly brown. I, then, noticed her matching really ugly red sweater. I was back on her face and noticed she was still glaring at me. After another minute she walked over to her desk, picked up a workbook, handed it to me, and continued glaring. Instead of getting into a staring contest, again, I looked at the workbook to see if it was really only made up of short stories and a Spanish-English glossary, like she’d explained the day before in her unbelievably squeaky voice.

When Seniora Paris was finally done glaring at me, she continued reading from the book “we be learning this year”. Once Seniora Paris uttered the first syllable I was asleep.

Okay, confession, these are the reasons I hated books. One) books are completely useless. The only reason for reading is to learn grammar and vocabulary, and I learned that by talking. Two) whenever I heard someone reading a book out loud I fell asleep. Words from a book just did that to me. I guessed it was because they were boring but I didn’t really care what the reason was.

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This article has 19 comments. Post your own now!

thepreechyteenager said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm
Ba-da-ba-BA-BA I'm lovin' it!  Great so far, it sort of sound a little like an Andrwe Clements if you ask me.  Please post the other 87 and 4/5 pages shortly!
tor10jax replied...
Jul. 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm
Thank you so much! This is the best compliment I've ever gotten on my writing!
tor10jax said...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 4:05 pm
What do you guys think of the first line? I've gotten mixed reviews on it.
WriterA.M. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 10:33 am
“Are you afraid of paper cuts?” I love that line.
tor10jax replied...
Dec. 29, 2009 at 4:05 pm
Oh, haha. Thanks!
tor10jax said...
Sept. 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm
Thanks for commenting!
Joanna said...
Sept. 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm
I do like it. The first page grabs the attention fairly well. I would like to continue reading it. I don't have much to say editing-wise. I'm still getting over the blasphmey in it. Books are useless?! Good heavens!! :P
tor10jax replied...
Sept. 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm
I know, right. My naarator is insane. :D
tor10jax replied...
Sept. 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm
Thanks for the comment!
Joanna replied...
Sept. 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm
No problem. It was my pleasure! :)
Passion03 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm
I agreethat this is a great beginning. Not completely sure where it's headed, but it's only the first page. :D It makes me want to read on. :D Keep going with this, it's awesome.
tor10jax replied...
Sept. 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm
Thanks for the comment!
TheRightToDream This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 19, 2009 at 11:58 am
I agree. Kinda. To me, more or less, it feels like it's moving too fast. But it's a good idea.
And, when you're listing things, don't put a bracket after the number, only a comma. 4/5. :)
tor10jax replied...
Sept. 24, 2009 at 3:58 pm
When you say "it's moving too fast" do you mean that Monica (the naarator) is going from thought to thought too quickly?
Thanks for commenting!
TheRightToDream This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 27, 2009 at 2:28 pm
Yeah. It just seems like she's eager to get to the action, or whatever...don't be afraid to stretch it out :)
Thanks for the comment on "Can I Help You", by the way. :D
tor10jax replied...
Sept. 27, 2009 at 2:33 pm
No problem. I hope the comments help :)
Kitten111 said...
Sept. 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm
Its a cool idea but I'm not seeing where it's going .... I'd probably need to read on to tell that but the good thing is you've got me wanting more which is good :) just eatch you dont waffel on the same idea for too long and keep it moving :) Apart from that I though it was a cool idea and you could do some really cool stuff with it :) Good luck
tor10jax replied...
Sept. 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm
Thanks for commenting!
xoxbabygirl123 replied...
Oct. 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm
I like it, but since Monica is so young, it's kinda hard for me to relate to her. I think that w/e age group your trying to reach , that should be Monica's age. Because then that can open more doors. If she's 12-13 (7th grader) whats the odds of her getting into a relationship? And in my opinion, every book needs a little of everything. Humor, Romance, conflicts, and then the main mural/topic. You know what I mean? 7th grade is kidna young, but then again, I really have no clue wh... (more »)
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