Homework

I have an assignment in my English class that’s driving me nuts.  When it was first handed out, I thought that it would be simple–that the paper would be fun to write and pretty much write itself.

Yeah, not so much.

The paper is a personal narrative.  It’s supposed to encompass a single point in time, and have a point beyond “one time, I got bit by a shark.” type of deal.  My professor warned against doing anything too emotional, because people tend to get upset when they’re graded on the quality of their writing rather than the emotion that the story encompasses.

This paper is supposed to be descriptive–which is what I’m really stressing about.  I’m not one who’s prone to using purple prose (light lilac alliteration, on the other hand…)

So the story I want to tell is basically this:  When I was seven, we were at a family reunion on  Cedar Mountain.  My extended family is huge, to the point where amongst the first cousins alone, there are about 13 girls all born within about 5 years of each other, with my sister and I smack-dab in the middle of it

Photographic proof, even if this is taken several years after this story…

I’m on the right with the pink shirt, big glasses and even bigger hair.  Sis is on the left with the pink pants and white tee-shirt.  Ahhh, that awkward age.   Which has somehow followed me to the brink of my 30s.

Anyway, when I was seven, Something happened with this big group of girls, and I got irritated and offended, and decided I had had enough.  I wanted to be alone, and needed to find a place to hide.  I was smart/well-trained enough to know better than to go wandering off in the woods by myself.  I could go to our camp trailer, but Mom would be in and out, and that would probably be the first place anybody would look for me.  While I loved (and still do) my extended family, I didn’t feel comfortable hiding in someone else’s tent or vehicle.  And so, the only logical place was the back of Dad’s pick-up truck.

This has nothing to do with my story, except to show that I’ve always been a little off.

The truck had a camper-shell on the back, so it wasn’t obvious to the casual observer that there was a little girl hiding in there.  I had a book, and a few toys, and the truck had a mattress in the bed, along with lots of blankets, where my sister and I could sleep.  I contented myself with reading and playing.

I don’t know how long I was there before I realized that people were starting to call me.  I ignored them, because my feelings were hurt because of what my cousins had done, or hadn’t done, and I thought they wanted to tease me some more.

Eventually, I fell asleep.  I woke up slightly when the truck started moving, but I was still smarting from whatever slight may or may not have happened, so I didn’t let the driver, my dad know I was there, and fell back asleep.

yeah, just… yeah

The next thing I knew, Dad was waking me up, and pulling me out of the back of the truck.  Night had fallen–and it was mid-afternoon when I went to hide.   All the aunts and uncles and cousins were standing around, and I was informed that everybody had thought I was lost (I was incensed by that.  I didn’t get lost, I knew exactly where I was the whole time.) that’s why they were calling me.  Dad had taken the truck out to look for me, and they were on their way to the ranger station to report a missing child when my cousin Seth (just older than the gaggle of girls) noticed my hair in the back of the truck.

I just can’t quite seem to get things right…

Simple enough, right?  Except I can’t stretch it to make it the length of the paper required, and I’m having a hard time tying in the “moral” of the story.

I know a lot of this has to do with the fact that I didn’t do as well as I expected on my last paper, I’m stupidly upset because I only got a B+, not to mention the fact that I had a panic attack before class last week, and ended up having to run out of the classroom in tears.  And a big part of the problem is that I feel like I shouldn’t be having a problem writing this paper.

Anyway…

I’ve been so stressed out by this, that I’ve been losing sleep.  This morning at 3am, after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I decided to start cleaning my bathroom.  After de-cluttering and washing the counter-top and sink, I went back to bed and fell asleep.  Today, when the stress got to be too much, I cleaned the bathroom floor.  At that point, I figured I might as well do everything else–so I scrubbed the toilet and tub as best I could (I need a pumice stone to really get things clean, but I don’t want to go shopping just for that) got the bath mats washed, and even washed the walls (gasp!).

I’m still stressing about my paper, but I feel really good about getting the bathroom cleaned–if not spotlessly, then at least to the point where I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have my grandmother see it.   Instead of the mystery smells that tend to come with dogs, neighbors and two roommates who both like to cook, my house smells like Mr. Clean.  It’s really rather soothing.

Now, if only I can get this stupid paper written…

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