2.21.2012

Why Would Anyone Want to Go Back to Middle School?

Yep, that's me. A proud Pilot Butte Giant.
So, I started working on this memoir, Overdue Apologies, five years ago as I finished up my mfa at Antioch. And even after reading those early pages, the workshop leader asked, "Why? Why would anyone want to read this?" Maybe it was a plot problem, or maybe it was because very few people want to read about middle school. There are tons of YA novels for this age, but very few memoirs, and I think I know why. Most people don't want to spend a whole lot of time revisiting that teenage angst, let alone several years writing about it. 

Besides, middle school is awkward. Our bodies are changing, our hormones are raging, and our brains are not yet fully-developed. It is an emotionally charged time of all or nothing. I teach middle school, so I'm reminded of this on a daily basis. And although I teach in LA, at a middle school very different than the one I attended, many of the issues students face are the same: She likes him? He's going to ask her out? She said what about me? Ugh! I hate her!

Looking back at the diary I kept at the time, I either LOVED my family because they were the best, or I HATED them and couldn't wait to get away. Same thing with friends and boys. Love or hate. Best day ever or worst day of all time. There wasn't a whole lot of middle ground. But despite all the intensely awful times I survived in middle school, I also have some intensely wonderful memories as well, intimate friendships, adventures with friends at malls and movies, and many significant firsts.

So even if you hated middle school, even if you really don't want to go back to that time, I dare you to anyway. That's right, I've been playing a little truth or dare for the past five years or so, trying to tease out the truth of my middle school days, and now it's almost done. So I dare you to go back there with me.

I dare you to remember middle school.

Overdue Apologies: March 10, 2012.

5 comments:

  1. So glad that I met you during High School... Unless that is book #3 in the series, then I'm probably in a world of hurt.

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  2. My student is a gem. She was performing at a span school in Detroit. 100% title one. One little 2nd grader had lost her jacket and Camryn walked around the school with her looking for it for about an hour. When she realized that we had to get on the road to make it to Chicago that night, and the girl still had no coat in the 20 degree weather, Camryn took off her jacket and put it on the girl. I was near tears.
    This same 7th grader battled with her manager to be able to come back to LA to attend her school and see her classmates for a couple days in the middle of her 4 month singing tour. I was told by other teachers,(I was at a training I had missed) that she was shunned and ostracized by the girls in the class (3 of them) and hit on by the boys. The total group is only 9 kids, so all the crap we see in MS is magnified. I felt so bad for her.

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    1. I just realized that the blog didn't identify me. - roxy

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  3. I think this is the last of the childhood memoirs for me, Holly, so you're in luck :) Middle school is crazy!!!

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