A Story of Procrastination This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 6, 2008
Eleven thirty-one. It’s eleven ­thirty-one, and I’ve got nothing. Two weeks’ preparation, and it all comes down to this. Gnats swoop around my neck as my pen furiously dances on the paper.

Two hours. Two hours. Two fleeting hours counting down to judgment day. I had two weeks, two weeks, for five hundred words that tell a story, my story, a story of procrastination. People crowd around me, not knowing they are distracting me. My mind is a moth, they are the flame. I fly hopelessly toward them.

A gust of sudden wind rustles my paper, and I look down. Eleven forty-four. I’ve lost precious time! How can I overcome these distractions? Voices endlessly clamor in my mind. The worst thing is, they keep coming … the people, they’re everywhere.

The doors fling open and they rush out of the cafeteria, a sudden storm flooding my workspace like bugs, like caterpillars. They are caterpillars that eat and eat, devouring my blossoming ideas. My ideas are disappearing, leaving me! All ­because of the caterpillars, the people.

The bell. My veins ­con­tract. My heart stops beating for only a second, but it stops. My hands begin to shake uncontrollably. I stand and start walking to fourth period. Fifty-two minutes! I have 52 minutes to write a story, my story, a story of ­procrastination.

My walk quickens to a sprint. I’m running through the halls and I don’t care what they think because they don’t know me. They don’t know my situation. They never could … could they? Have these stressful feelings of frustration and shame ever filled their veins? Has aggravation and disappointment ever pumped through their hearts? Have I been a caterpillar?

Ouch. Wrist cramp! Is this karma for all the years that I’ve been the distraction? Well, the tables have turned all right! Has the distraction become the distracted?

In this sudden epiphany, I arrive at class. Students shuffle around their desks, but the room quickly falls silent. My ideas begin to return and recirculate, safely lodging the wretched caterpillars in their cocoons. My ideas are sprouting. They are growing and I love it.

I love it, but wait … These ideas have been tainted by ­stories filled with laughing, gossip, food, and reality. The characters have changed from knights, queens, and dragons to Benjamin, Angelique, Bianca, Tanner, and Mitchell. Worst of all, the antagonist has become Ernie, fat Ernie! How can I write about someone I hate? My ideas are ruined. They’re tainted and useless to me.

The bell rings. The cocoons are hatching and turning the caterpillars into butterflies. Butterflies that want to stay and live in my stomach, swirling and twirling around inside me. They fill me up. They make me want to vomit, vomit out all of these worthless ideas, and my feelings of shame and frustration.

As I approach the door, I can’t hold them in any longer. I feel the butterflies escaping through every orifice of my body. My pores pour sweat. My veins throb. My mouth spits out words, trying to explain everything I’ve gone through. My dead cat. My participation in extracurricular ideas. My extreme load of classes.

I want to speak, to say anything, but nothing comes. Something. Anything. They’re all excuses anyway, ­excuses that don’t help but delay the inevitability that at the end of this 52-minute class I have a paper due, a paper with metaphors, similes, ­alliteration, brushstrokes, and most importantly with my voice. My voice tells my story, a story of procrastination. All I have left are my poisoned ideas strung together into a story, my story, a story of procrastination.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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CaitieCullen said...
Apr. 9, 2010 at 9:06 pm
Story of my life :)
sunsetclimber said...
Apr. 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm
i loved it!! everything had so much detail and expression!  I could really visualize what was happening.  loved it.  absolutly :)
thatclarinetgirl said...
Apr. 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm
I personally believe everyone felt that way in life and not all of them can say how well you can put it to words. Thank you for sharing with us how you feel and I hope you keep writting!
jack2beanie said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 8:47 pm
wow this is amazing and it tells a story that everyone can relate to. I always leave things off to the last minute and I am up late into the night on the eve my project or paper or whatever it is I'm procrastinating on is due and the stress grips your brain, turning everything you could possibly write into mush and temporarily shutting down your creative juices.
imawriter? said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 7:38 pm
It's amazing. I love the way its written, and how it flows. Keep writing, or else I'll fall into a deep sadness! You are good, and I love this piece!
magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm
This is written amazingly, and I love your metaphors. But I've learned that people are inspiration. I feel the same way, though- I don't have enough free time to write! Of course, whenever I get free time, I waste it on the Internet. I should be editing my book right now!
Seriously... Here, help me. Don't write anymore! Then I won't be procrastinating by reading other people's GOOD work while my BAD novel sits there unedited.
Kimalima said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm
omg i love this! i luvvv ur use of metaphors and i know sometimes i also feel locked in this world. I absolutely love the ending also.
Shawna L. said...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm
This is really fantastic! it seems like you know what you're doing with this whole story thing so I suspect that you did really good! so how did you do? did your story turn out well?! I sure hope it did, if not then maybe you should've handed this in! :D
Dandelion said...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm
Oh, how blissfully I was distracted on teenink .com as I read this wonderful story! Alas, it's time for me to end my reverie and begin my science report.
Lawsonwrites said...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 8:31 am
This story is very good and it is the story of my life. I like the imagry used to show how nervous this person was in paragraph ten. The use of cocoons and butterflies was amazing. I also love the ending, how the ideas are poisoned and just simply strung together to make a big story of precrastination.
Allegria-Starling said...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 7:10 am
Stressful. In a positive way. Nice imagery with the insects...
Rage97 said...
Dec. 28, 2009 at 11:05 am
Hey, this is a really good piece of work, and you call my work good no I think you have us confused!!! Love Rage 97
SilverMoon said...
Dec. 20, 2009 at 11:41 am
I like this piece alot, you create great imagery with your clever metaphors. I can relate to this entire piece! Awesome job!
daydreamer149 said...
Dec. 20, 2009 at 7:32 am
This is one of the best pieces of I've read on TeenInk. The Story of Procrastination is also, coincidentally, the Story of My Life
Inkspired said...
Nov. 6, 2009 at 9:26 pm
Great! I love the whole story, the repetition, the similes, all the word usage, etc. Very, very very good imagery!
awesomeaugust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Wowzer. That was really good (poetic word choice, huh?). I liked all of the metaphrs and similies- they made the article thouroughly enjoyable. I also thought the use of repitition was very effective- i captured the feeling of urgency you feel when you've procrastinated- having only a few words running through your head. Anyway, speaking of procrastination I really should be working on my essay, but really, really good work!
brezec said...
Oct. 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm
This article was full of many amazing metaphors. My favorite one was, “The doors fling open and they rush out of the cafeteria, a sudden storm flooding my workspace like bugs, like caterpillars. They are caterpillars that eat and eat, devouring my blossoming ideas. My ideas are disappearing, leaving me! All ¬because of the caterpillars, the people.” This metaphor paints an accurate picture in my mind. This happens to my all the time. When my brain finally starts churning out some... (more »)
kennedy_rowzz said...
Sept. 29, 2009 at 4:01 pm
I loved reading this, it was exellent it really reminded me of myself because i am such a procrastinator its not even funny it always seems like i have more time to do something then i really do.
practicerandomkindness said...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 2:14 pm
i know how u feel, i once put off a major project. didnt go well. good story!
Kylie M. said...
May 21, 2009 at 3:30 am
I absolutely love this!! I actually did a paper on procrastination for English once as well, although mine wasn't nearly as suspenseful. I loved how you appealed to all of the senses but didn't have to use flowery language to do so.
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