Entry #17: I can't believe it! 


My flu, or whatever it was that made me so sick last week, is over so I went back to school today. I wish I hadn't. I haven't been talking about it much, but I have been working on my play for our project, and of course I've been keeping up with the journal part of the assignment, but here's the thing, I've been wondering why Ms. Phipps hasn't exactly been telling us when any of this is due. I mean, I'm the kind of person who likes to know how much time I have to get something done. I don't like to leave things for the last minute, that justs creates stress, and besides, my parents have transmitted this heavy duty cultural ethic on me that "Education is what you put into it." I know it sounds completely dorky, but I can't help it. I've been brainwashed, or programmed or something. I just can't NOT care of school and grades and stuff like that.

Anyway, we have English right after lunch and I had made up my mind to tell Chaz about Elvin (I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to say. It's not like I'm in love with this guy in London or anything, but I was thinking that if the situation were reversed, I would definitely appreciate it if Chaz would tell me what was going on.) But Chaz wasn't in English. Someone said he had a dentist appointment and was gone for the day. Bummer! I was really wanting to get this thing out in the open. I've been feeling like a little sneak, or something, and while I don't mind keeping stuff from my parents... (That's not exactly true. It bothers me a little bit to hide stuff from them; it doesn't bother me a whole lot.) But it does bother me to keep things from my friends. Especially from Chaz, because he really is important to me and I've been feeling so guilty about Elvin.

But he wasn't in English, so I couldn't tell him anything. And Ms. Phipps wasn't there either. Instead, there was this sub named Mr. Unger. Actually, he says that he's not a sub, he's going to be our new English teacher for the rest of the year! Apparently Ms. Phipps is on "medical leave." (I heard from JoAnn that she heard that the truth is that Ms. Phipps is pregnant and that she had already had one miscarriage last summer so her doctor ordered her to stay in bed is she wanted to keep this one.

Anyway, Mr. Unger told us that his interest is in great literature. "How can you hope to know anything about writing if you don't read great writing first? So for the rest of the year we're going to be concentrating on great works of literature, like Dickens, Tolstoy, Dumas and Cervantes." That sounded fine with me. I love to read! And he started passing out paperback copies of "A Tale of Two Cities." (I read it during the summer between 7th and 8th grade, but it was so wonderful, I don't mind reading it again.

Just as people were writing their names inside the books, someone asked Mr. Unger when our journal projects and the plays we were writing were due. And that's when he said something so absolutely incredibly insensitive that I still can't believe it. He said," Since most of you probably haven't even started the projects that Ms. Phipps assigned several months ago, you are in luck. I am hereby cancelling that project. For tonight's homework, read the first chapter of Tale of Two Cities. Class dismissed."

Most of the kids cheered but not me. I was in shock! What about all the time I'd already put into writing that play? What about the fact that first it was Dee's idea we were going to do and if it hadn't been for Chaz admitting that he lied about liking her play he and I wouldn't even have become friends! And the play itself, it had a great story and a great message! I wanted the kids in the class to really understand what it's like to be an Outsider! And the characters, I feel like a mother who was just told she had to abandon her children.

And what about this journal? I didn't want to write in it at first, I didn't want to work with Dee and Miguel and Chaz, but I did, and now I just can't imagine dropping all of that. I mean, Tale of Two Cities is great and everything, but if you want to be a writer, like I do, you've gotta write. So I don't give a whatever if the project has been officially (or even unofficially) cancelled. The other kids may be thrilled not to have to do this anymore, but it's important to me. I don't give a damn about Mr. Unger! I'm going to keep on writing!




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