The Here. The Now. And the Books!: Back to Books Post 5! (Contest! Linger! Signed!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to Books Post 5! (Contest! Linger! Signed!)

I present to you the one, the only, SHELBY! 😀

Hi everyone! 🙂 I think Lauren is going to mention this anyway, but I’m Shelby (@sbarwood, This is my first real guest blog, so I’m pretty excited. I’ve decided to tell you a True High School Story. (Wow, MTV should totally get the rights to that. Just sayin.)

My high school experience was…incredibly bizarre, really. I live in a town of approximately 15,000 people. Sounds small, right? It is. My graduating class only had about one hundred people. If I didn’t know all of their names, I at least knew all of their faces. As you can imagine, this made it incredibly hard to just stick to myself and read, the way I like to do. I didn’t fit into any cliques, and let me tell you, in a rural Alabama school, if you’re not in a clique you might as well be dog shit. (Wait, can I say that? Whatever. Let’s PG-13 it up.) Sure, I had friends, but let’s face it: I was an outcast. And not the cool one with a k who can drop beats.

Enter Mr. Jameson. Mr. Jameson was fresh out of college when they hired him to be our Geometry teacher, and…well…sometimes I felt sorry for him. Mr. Jameson was very good at Geometry, but he had no idea how to teach Geometry to his students. He could work the problems in just a few minutes, but showing us how to do the problems put so much stress on him you would have thought he was trying to teach a bunch of Portugese-speaking Rottweilers. About a week into the school year, he decided that from then on, every day, we would come into Geometry, and he’d hand us a Connect-the-Dot and if we did it, we’d get an A.

You can’t make this up. To this day I have no spatial sense whatsoever.

Well, Mr. Jameson’s class was in the middle of the long hallway that comprised the 300 building. Apparently, way back in the sixties when our high school was built, one set of workers had started building on one side of the building, and another set of workers had started building on the opposite side of the building, and when they met in the middle, they didn’t have enough room left for a complete classroom. So the Geometry classroom was inanely small. We had so many desks in our classroom that there were no aisles; you literally had to climb across the desks to reach your seat. As you can imagine, the fire safety people conveniently overlooked it.

Into the middle of this cruel and unusual torture-chamber I was thrust. I usually got the Connect-the-Dot done in the first five or seven minutes of class and read a book the rest of the block. Mostly everyone else, of course, behaved like monkeys, which only further disturbed our on-edge Geometry teacher. Well, for some reason that September day, this nightmarish girl LaShonne who always had something to say about anyone decided that it was time to start firing her mouth off about me.

Now, I wasn’t having the greatest day. I had just found out that the boy I had been crushing on for weeks had started dating one of my band frienemies. On top of that, I had forgotten my lunch money and had only been able to get a Rice Krispy Treat for lunch, even though our school had promised our parents that they were instituting “Healthy Lunches.” (Oh, please! Since when is fried chicken and pizza a part of a healthy lunch?!) So I was very ready to snap at someone, if they gave me the chance.

LaShonne was as dumb as she was mean-hearted (she actually graduated a year late) so she didn’t notice the Look of Doom glaring out of my eye sockets. She started loudly telling me how ugly my outfit was and how fat it made me look. When I fixed her with the Death Glare, she demanded, “What the hell are you looking at?”

“Shut up, LaShonne,” I warned.

“Bitch, don’t tell me to shut up! I’ll say whatever the hell I want! You can’t tell me to do nothing, you fatass.”

“Shut. Your mouth, LaShonne.”

“You need to take your fat horse away from me before I knock you out!”

I’m still not sure why, but something inside me kind of…snapped. I slammed my book down on my desk, flung myself out of my seat, and shouted, “I’m not putting up with this anymore!” I spun around to storm away, but was trapped by the blockade of aisle-less desks. In a fury, I climbed on top of them, walking and leaping over several people’s (thankfully) empty desks, and stomped to the door, slamming it painfully behind myself.

Of course, I couldn’t make quite the exit Anger had planned for me. Anger wanted me to triumphantly storm home. (I was just a freshman, too young to have a car yet.) As I walked down toward the band room, though, I realized that Anger had grossly miscalculated, as it is wont to do.

I had left my purse in the Geometry class. Keys, money, learner’s permit, all there in that bag. I stopped, feeling hot, humid Alabama air on my face. I didn’t want to go back, but I didn’t want to leave anything valuable in there alone, either. Sighing, I turned back.

As I walked, anxiety crept into my throat. I had just broken at least twenty school rules and slammed the door in my teacher’s face. My feet got heavier. I was in so much trouble. I wondered how many weeks of detention I would get for this. Detention in a rural Alabama school isn’t like detention in a normal school. In a rural Alabama school, you’re shoved in a room with no air conditioning and no fans even though it’s a hundred plus degrees out. Talk about hell. On top of that, they would probably call my parents, and who knew what they would do to me. I’d never really been in trouble in my life, or been grounded. I was just a “good kid,” y’know?

I hesitated outside the peeling door of my Geometry class before steeling myself for the onslaught that waited for me and shoving open the door. It was silent as the grave inside—fitting, since I figured I’d soon be in one. Mr. Jameson looked up at me as I came in. “All right, people,” he barked. “We’ve had about enough for today, so just finish your work.” And we did, sitting with our heads down, not speaking at all. I sent furtive glances in Mr. Jameson’s direction, certain that at any moment he would tell me how much trouble I was in.

As I dreaded, when the bell rang Mr. Jameson called me to the front. I didn’t have any excuses on hand. I’d never acted like that before. I considered pretending to cry. I considered crying for real. Mr. Jameson leaned over his stool, staring into my face. I stared back, trying to remember how to make my chin quiver.

His face burst into a smile. “Great job, Barwood. I’ve been waiting to tell that girl off for weeks. She really needs to learn when to keep her mouth shut.”

I gaped. Was he serious? “Ummm…”

He flashed me the thumbs-up sign before turning away, effectively dismissing me. I stood there numbly for a few seconds before I remembered how to operate my legs. As if that weren’t disconcerting enough, a girl from band smiled at me and said, “That was seriously awesome. She’s awful, isn’t she?” I just nodded, realizing that I had apparently done something cool.

And you know what? LaShonne didn’t say another word to me the whole year. 🙂

Hope you guys enjoyed! A gigantic shout-out to Lauren and Kim for hosting this thing and being completely awesome about my procrastination addiction!

And now, just for fun, I have a shameless promotional GIVEAWAY of Maggie Stiefvater’s SIGNED SHIVER and LINGER! 😀 Get excited.

…Not that excited. Pull it back, pull it back.

Here are The Rules:

1. Open to anyone on the continent of North America. (If you don’t live on the continent of North America, follow me on Twitter to learn about my upcoming inter-continental contest! :D)

2. The Giveaway will be open until September 5th, 2010 at 7:00 CST. The winner will be announced and notified the next day, September 6th, 2010 (Labor Day) between 10:00 and 12:00 CST.

3. Fill out the Entry Form. All fields marked with an asterisk MUST be filled out! If they are not filled out, your entry will not be counted.

4. Extra entries will be factored in accordingly, and each individual entry will receive a number. A winner will be randomly selected using

Before you attempt extra entries, please be aware that I WILL be checking to make sure no one is attempting to cheat. Also, please don’t create blogs/Twitter accounts merely for the purpose of entering this contest. (It’s just dishonest!)

If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments and ask them! Have fun, and good luck! 🙂

Thanks SO much, Shelby!!!
P.S. Signed Rules of Attraction and Perfect Chemistry Contest ends TOMORROW at midnight. 🙂


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