Reggie's Journal
Entry #1
I hate creative writing. I mean I really, really, really hate it. Like I hate it to the 18th
power. School just started, and I already hate it. The first week went well. I like all my
other classes. I’m a sophomore this year, so I took all the easy classes last year. I
was looking forward to being challenged, but a journal?

That’s right. Mr. Byrd is going to make us keep a stupid journal until Christmas
vacation! It’s the first week of September! That’s almost four months! God, I hate
creative writing to the 941st power.

It’s not the writing I hate. I love to write. I’ve even written a few short stories. One
appeared in our school newspaper when I was in the sixth grade. It was about a boy
who found an injured wolf and nursed it back to health. After tending to it for two
months, he finally released it back into the wild. Every day that wolf would come to
the edge of his yard and wait for the boy to appear at the door. After the boy waved
at him, he would disappear back into the forest. The teacher gave me an A+. My
parents were thrilled when she called and asked them if it could appear in the school
newspaper. I don’t know why she didn’t ask me. I would have told her yes.

But a journal? You should have heard the other students groan when he passed out
the handout and explained what he wanted us to do. Of course, everyone wanted to
know how much of our grade it would affect- 60%!!!! That means if I passed
everything else with a 100%, the best grade I could get out of the class is a D-!! So   
I’m pretty upset right now. I hate Mr. Byrd, and I especially hate creative writing to
the 1498th power.

Like everyone else in the class, I headed to the counselor’s office right after class.
There was a line of about twenty students. Mrs. McDonald, the sophomore counselor,
informed us that changing a class was not something that could be done easily. First,
we’d have to take a class change form home to have our parents sign it and agree to
the class change. Then, we had to give a reason for wanting the class change. I don’t
think putting I hate creative writing to the 3284th power would be a good reason. So
I spent the rest of the day thinking of a good reason. In sixth period, Jenny Stephens
told everyone she had a good one. She said she wrote that creative writing was not a
college prerequisite class. It was worth a try, but we all knew Mrs. McDonald wouldn’t
buy it. The class we were taking first period was an AP class.

I gave it a try, though. After dinner, I asked Dad if I could talk to him- in private. I
already knew what Mom’s answer would be. She’d be thrilled that I was taking the
class. She tried to talk me into taking journalism last year so she could read some of
my articles. I managed to convince her that I  didn’t have the time because I was a
freshman and I didn’t want an extracurricular activity to affect my grade. But since I
had all A’s last year, I doubt she’ll accept that excuse this year.

I knew that getting Dad to agree was a long shot. He’s a college professor. To make it
even worse, he teaches 19th Century British Literature. My excuse had to be good,
but it wasn’t. Actually, his exact words were, “That’s a bunch of bull.” All I told him
was that I wanted to devote more time to reading Shakespeare’s plays this year. I
hate Shakespeare almost as much as I do Mr. Byrd and creative writing. But if I had
to endure torturous hours of reading the most boring plays ever known to modern
man, then it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. When he got through laughing, he
asked me the real reason I didn’t want to take the class.

I thought about telling him that I didn’t think Mr. Byrd was a good teacher. But if I
told him that, he would go to school to meet him. Actually, Mr. Byrd is a cool teacher.  
He’s not too old. I guess he’s probably around 30. And even though I’ve only
attended a few classes, I can tell he really knows what he’s talking about. Yesterday,
he told us he wrote for the Wall Street Journal for four years before deciding he
wanted to teach. Dad would really be impressed with that. So no, I can’t use the bad
teacher excuse.

After sitting quietly for a couple minutes as my mind tried to come up with something  
he’d believe, nothing popped up. Even the college prerequisite excuse didn’t work
when he noticed it was an advanced class. I couldn’t do anything but get up and leave
when he tore the paper up and tossed it into the waste paper basket beside his desk.
He was telling me how much I’d benefit from the class as I left.

So right now I’m writing the journal. According to Mr. Byrd, no one would read what
we write. He said we were free to write whatever we wanted. The journal was to help
us grow and learn more about ourselves. So I’m going to test whether he’s reading
this.
                        I HATE WRITING THIS JOURNAL, MR. BYRD!!

Now I’ll see if he reads that. If he says something to me, then I know I’ll have to be
careful what I say in this stupid thing. I’m going to write down what we’re supposed
to do just in case I lose the assignment sheet. We have to have 16 entries, one a
week until  Christmas break. We don’t have to bring the journal to class except on
Fridays. He said he’ll walk around the room, and we have to show him that we’ve
written something for the week. He expects us to write five or six pages, single
spaced if we type it. If we write it long hand, then it has to be 10 to 12 pages long.
                       
YOUR MOMMA IS SO SKINNY SHE WIPES HER BUTT
                                         WITH DENTAL FLOSS.

In the journal we are supposed to write down our feelings.
                         I
’M FIFTEEN, MR BYRD. I DON’T HAVE FEELINGS!

We’re also supposed to write down how we feel about things that happen in our life.
                      
I FEEL I HATE THIS CLASS TO THE 6739TH POWER.

He tried to get us excited about this stupid project by explaining how much it will help
us discover who we are, and that we will better understand ourselves.
                                       I DON’T CARE, MR BYRD!
After we return back from Christmas break in January, he wants us to write a paper
about what we learned about ourselves by keeping this journal. Again, he says no one
will read it, but how can he give us a grade on something he doesn’t read?
                                          
YOU'RE FULL OF IT, MR BYRD!

However, it’s going to count as 60% of our grade! They don’t even give out a failing
grade in an AP class. If I don’t do it, then Mr. Byrd will call my parents and schedule a
conference. So I’m screwed. I can’t get out of creative writing. I guess I’m going to
have to do it whether I want to or not. This journal is going to have so much manure
in it, a farmer could fertilize his crops for a year.
          If YOUR BRAIN WAS CHOCOLATE IT WOULDN’T FILL AN M&M.

If you read this, Mr. Byrd, I’m just kidding. Hehe. Another thing that he is going to do
is give us a prompt each week to help us write in the journal. When he told us about
them, they sounded like they could be personal. We don’t have to answer them, but
he says they will help us better understand ourselves if we do.
                         I’M JUST FINE THE WAY I AM MR BYRD.

This week’s prompt is easy. He wants us to tell something about ourselves. Then he
wants us to pick one word that would best describe us. That may be hard, but I’ll give
it a try. No one is going to be reading this stupid journal anyway.
                YOU BETTER NOT BE READING THIS STUPID THING!

Okay. I guess I’ll get started. Tonight I’m going to write something about myself. I
guess I’ll get the easy stuff out of the way first. My name is Reginald Kaylor Faulkner,
but everyone calls me Reggie. I hate Reginald. It makes me sound like I’m from
England or something. I think it was   Dad’s idea to name me that. It was probably
the name of some British writer. I’ve never really asked. I know that Kaylor was my
grandmother’s maiden name. That was my mother’s contribution.

I’m fifteen and a sophomore at Fairhaven High School. I’ll be 16 next month, October
30. I can’t wait to turn 16 so I can get my learner’s permit to drive. That’s one of the
reasons I’m writing this stupid journal.  I know if I argue too much with Dad over this
creative writing class, he might remember it when I ask him to let me sign up for a  
driver’s ed class after school. I can hear him now lecturing me about facing
responsibility. I don’t know how a creative writing class can even compare to driver’s
ed. But he’s smart enough to figure out a way of doing it and then tell me
I can’t drive.

I’ve already talked about my dad. Let me see, he’s forty-two and tall. I am only about
5’9” the last time I measured myself a year ago. I may have grown an inch since then.
I had to buy some new pants because the kids at school began asking me when I was
going to start building an ark. Dad is pretty cool. He’s really smart, probably one of
the smartest people I know, but I’d never tell him that. Maybe when I get older I will.
He stays pretty busy. If he’s not at the university, then he’s in his office working on
the next day’s lecture or grading papers. He’s also writing a book about Shakespeare.
He’s written two other books. One was on John Keats, and the other was about
Alfred Tennyson. I tried reading one of them once, but I fell asleep in bed.

Mom is also a teacher. She teaches third graders. Sometimes she gets on my nerves
because she talks to me like I’m one of her students. I’m 15 going on 16, not 8.
Other than that, we get along pretty well. She’s also a great cook. She makes some
of the best spaghetti. I should be fat, but I’m not. I’m slender. Some people call me
skinny, but slender sounds better. On a good day, I may weigh 135 pounds. Mom is
always trying to fatten me up, but I don’t want to look like some of the guys in my
class. I get all grossed out when I see them change in gym. Some of them need to
exercise more often.

So my Dad is a professor, and my Mom is a teacher. That combination made me
smart. They said I was reading before I started walking. English and history are my
favorite subjects because they involve more reading and writing. I do all right in math
and science, but I’m not an analytical thinker. I’d rather write an essay than work a
geometry problem. I took a test in my psychology class last year, and it said I was a
right brain person.

Let me write down my schedule-
1st period- Creative Writing   Mr. Byrd
2nd period- AP Geometry   Mrs. Reynolds
3rd period- AP Chemistry   Mr. Archer
4th period-  AP U.S. History   Mrs. Carter
5th period-   AP American Literature  Mrs. Griffin
6th period-  French II   Ms. Neuman

So I have a pretty hard schedule. Since most are advanced placement classes, I have
to work harder than most students. I don’t mind because I like learning. Besides, I
don’t have anything else to do when I’m not at school.

I guess it says something about me when the prompt word I’ve decided that best
describes me is lonely. I’m not lonely because I’m ugly or anything like that.  Wait a
minute. Let me test first to see if Mr. Byrd is reading this.
                             
YOUR NOT STUPID YOUR JUST POSSESSED
                                      BY A RETARDED GHOST.

I also know that I’m misspelling you’re, but I want to see if Mr. Byrd corrects it. Now
though, if he is reading this, he won’t. Dad just stuck his head in the door and told
me it’s time to go to bed. It’s  11:15. So I’ll try and write more tomorrow. It’s
Wednesday and the first entry isn’t due until next Friday.

Okay, I’m back. I brought this stupid thing to school today. I’ve got it hidden inside
my book bag because if anyone finds it I’ll be in some deep doo doo. I’m in 2nd period
geometry. I’ve finished Mr. Archer’s assignment in twenty minutes so I don’t have
anything to do.

In Mr. Byrd’s class, Abe Foreman had a really good idea. If he doesn’t get caught, I
may try it. He said he’s going to write something for the first page and last page of
his journal. He said most teachers only read that anyway on most of our papers. He
says they want to make sure we introduced the paper correctly and then have a good
conclusion. They often don’t bother to read the rest of it. He says he learned that
from his brother in college. Anyways, he’s going to write a first page and last page.
Then he’s going to fill in the rest by copying something like a fairy tale or few pages
from our literature book. He’s going to try it next Friday and see if Mr. Byrd notices.
He borrowed his little brother’s book about Rapunzel. Everyone is now going to be
watching to see if Mr. Byrd notices. If he doesn’t, I’m going to copy a few pages from
Wuthering Heights next week. Okay, gotta go. The bell is getting ready to ring.

Okay, I’m back. I just reread what I wrote last night. I just hope Mr. Byrd was telling
the truth when he said he wouldn’t read why we write.
               
WHEN YOU FELL OUT OF THE UGLY TREE YOU MUST HAVE
                     HIT EVERY BRANCH ON THE WAY DOWN.

I am in some deep doo doo if he does read this. I don’t know why I said that the best
word to describe me would be lonely. That sounds kind of sad or something. I’m not
really sure what I mean by that. I’m not really good at expressing how I feel.
Everyone expects me to be this intellectual kid since my Dad’s a college professor and
my Mom’s a teacher. All we talk about is books and news. We don’t like watching
television except the nightly news when we’re eating dinner. The kids at school talk
about shows they watched the previous night but I have no idea what they are talking
about. I’ve tried to watch a few, but most of them seem to insult my intelligence. I’m
not sure who they think their audience is, but judging by some of the stuff I’ve seen,
they must think we are morons with an IQ of 60.

I guess that sounded somewhat condescending, didn’t it? I mean I’m smart, but I  
don’t go showing off to people. Actually, I’m rather introverted. I wish I could be more
extroverted, but it’s not my nature.  I’m not shy, though. I have a lot of friends at
school. I just don’t say much to them. Most of us have attended the same classes
since elementary school. We tested higher than the other students, so they placed us
together so we could advance faster than the rest. We were doing algebraic equations
in the fourth grade and dissecting frogs in science.

It also ostracized us from other students. How many fifteen year olds know the
meaning of ostracized? There are twenty-two of us, and we’ve been called a lot of
names since elementary school. It’s gotten worse since we arrived in high school.
Other students avoid us like we have leprosy or something. I guess that’s why I don’t
like the words geek or nerd. I’ve heard those names a few thousand times. And I
honestly don’t have a pocket protector filled with pens. In the seventh grade
someone asked me where mine was. I came home that night and asked Dad. When he
got through laughing, he explained what it meant. I didn’t think it was very funny.

Now where was I? I tend to get distracted because my mind works that way. The
good thing is, it may help me fill in the pages of this stupid journal. I still can’t believe
I have to do this for the next four months. Okay. I was trying to discuss the prompt.  
I’m not really lonely, but I can’t think of a better word right now. I’ve got plenty of
friends at school. Well, 22 to be exact. But when I come home, I’ve got nothing to
do. I guess it’s in my room where I feel really lonely. I’m an only child, so I don’t have
any siblings to fight with. I don’t know why my parents never had any more children.
Sometimes it makes me wonder if I was a mistake. My mom was raised a catholic, so
she doesn’t believe in abortion. I don’t know what I’d do if I ever found out my
parents never planned me, and I was here because they couldn’t just get rid of me. I
guess it really doesn’t matter, though. They are great and no one could have better
parents.

Okay, I’m back. Mom called me down for dinner. I read that last line, and I thought
about dinner. Dad talked about a research project he’s working on. Mom was fretting
about one of her students who she suspects may be abused at home. Not once did
they look over and ask me how my day was going. So I’m reevaluating the word
great. Maybe they are just good parents. We get along really well on a simple level.
But if I dig deeper, then I realize that a lot is missing. My parents are there, but    
they’re not really involved. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all.

God, I just realized something. Maybe this is what Mr. Byrd meant by the journal
helping us understand ourselves better. If this is what it’s going to do, then I don’t
know if I want to continue writing in it. Maybe Little Red Riding Hood might be better.  
I’m going to stop for now.
                         IF IGNORANCE IS BLISS, YOU MUST BE
                       THE HAPPIEST PERSON ON THE PLANET.

Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl, the prettiest
creature who was ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her
grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman had a little red riding hood
made for her. It suited the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red
Riding Hood.
One day her mother, having made some cakes, said to her, "Go, my dear, and see
how your grandmother is doing, for I hear she has been very ill. Take her a cake, and
this little pot of butter." Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to go to her
grandmother, who lived in another village.

Okay, I’m back. I chickened out. I was going to do what Abe said, but I was afraid Mr.
Byrd would notice and I don’t want to fail the class. Dad and Mom would really be
disappointed and they would never let me get my learner’s permit if I did get caught.
So I guess I’ll continue writing in this stupid thing.

I guess I need to clarify something. I love my parents. I really do. But sometimes I
just miss doing things with them like other kids do with their parents. Joey Winter's
dad takes him fishing every weekend. It sounds like they have a really fun time. His
dad has his own boat and they go out on the lake almost every Saturday. I keep
hoping he’ll ask me to go, but he never has. I’ve tried to hang around in the kitchen
when Mom cooks so I can learn how to prepare my own meals when I get older. It
would be fun just to spend some time with her. But she always runs me out and tells
me I’m in the way. So I end up in my room- alone. Sometimes I just sit by the
window and stare out of it. Sometimes I sit there for hours. We live in a really big
house in a subdivision outside the city. It’s isolated with a small forest behind the
house. I like to watch out the window to see if any deer will wander onto our yard. I
like watching deer. They seem so free and independent. They walk around nibbling on
the grass. When something distracts them, they lift their heads, listen to see if they
are in danger and then run away. Sometimes I would like to be able to do that, just
run away.
 IN THE DICTIONARY UNDER THE WORD STUPID, IT SAYS SEE MR BYRD

Okay, I’m back. I really don’t like doing this. I went yesterday to see Mrs. McDonald to
discuss having my schedule changed. I was even honest with her. I told her I didn’t
think I could write Mr. Byrd’s journal. I even tried to cry, but I’ve never really had a lot
of experience doing that. I gave her every argument that would come to mind. Of
course, she was prepared with a response. I guess she’d already heard it many times
before. I felt I almost had her convinced when I told her that the journal was 60% of
my grade, and that if I didn’t do it, I’d fail. But then she suggested that she’d be
willing to work with me after school to formulate ideas. Formulate ideas? I’ve already
formulated an idea, Mrs. McDonald- I don’t want to do this!
                I’LL TRY BEING NICER IF YOU’LL TRY BEING SMARTER.

It’s Wednesday and Friday I’ve got to let Mr. Byrd see that I’m doing it. It’s supposed
to be 5000 words and I still need to write about 1000 more. I  don’t know what to
write. I’ve already answered the prompt question. Well, I read back through this and I
guess I didn’t really answer it, but I answered it enough. I’m not very good at talking
about myself.

I guess I could talk about the rest of my family, but there isn’t much to say. My dad’s
parents live on the other side of the country. They moved to Florida when I was a
little boy. I’ve seen them a total of three times. Once was when I was ten and they
came to stay for a week. The only thing I remember is I had to give up my room while
they were here and sleep on a cot in the living room. We didn’t live in this big house
then. We were living in a small two bedroom house. We have visited them twice in
Florida. Once when I was eight, and the other time was two years ago during the
summer. They live by the Gulf, and I spent the first day swimming in the ocean. The
other five days I spent inside with my mother rubbing my badly sun burnt body with
lotion.

My dad has an older brother, and my two cousins are at least ten years older than
me. I’ve only met them a couple of times. They said hello to me and then pretended
that I didn’t exist.

My other grandfather is dead, but I don't feel like talking about that right now. Maybe
I will later. My grandmother is probably the neatest person in our family. She lives
nearby and comes over at least once a week. She plays bingo at least three times a
week. She’s about the only person who can make me laugh. Last year she took me
with her when she went to bingo at her church. About halfway through, she pulled
out a flask and drank some gin from it. My grandmother was drinking inside a church!
She told me she’d disinherit me if I told Mom about it. I love my grandma.

My mother also has two sisters and a brother. I have six cousins on my mother’s
side. And I hate all six of them. The oldest is 19 and the youngest is 8. They think I’m
some kind of a dork just because I make good grades in school. The oldest cousin,
Kyle, has been suspended from school three times for fighting. He’s big, fat and ugly.
I hate it when they visit because he comes up to my room and looks around. He then
spends the rest of the time ridiculing me because I have so many books. He probably
hasn’t read a book since the first grade.
            
CALLING YOU STUPID WOULD BE AN INSULT TO STUPID PEOPLE.
I’m going to bed now. Only about 400 more words to go.

We’re in big doo doo. Mr. Byrd told us first period that we had to count the number
of words we write each week and put them at the end of our journal entry. So six of
us are sitting her writing at the lunch table to fill up our paper. I think I’ve got more
than the rest. However, Lauren looked over and noticed my big letters and told me I
was cheating and that I shouldn’t count those. I’m also going to include the words to
Little Red Riding Hood, even though I exed them out. Mr. Byrd won’t know. Fingers
crossed.

So we’re sitting her basically BSing our way through this journal. BSing isn't a bad
word if I just say BS and don't spell out the words, right? Amy is writing about the
time she cut her finger with a knife and had to have eight stitches in it. I counted and
it took me 21 words to tell that. Add that 11 more for the last sentence. Hey wait! I
could keep doing this until I get enough words. Hehe.

Richard asked me if I wrote about my interests. He would. He only participates in
about every extracurricular activity not involving sports that the school offers. He
tried to talk me into joining the Chess Club last year.Chess Club! All I would need is a
pocket protector to completely certify that I am a 100% loser.

Besides, all my interests are for losers. I like to read and write. That is I like to write
except writing in this stupid journal. I like to read the classics because that is what my
parents had me start reading at a young age. I prefer American literature to British. I
guess that was one gene I didn’t inherit from my father. Occasionally, I like to read
fantasy books. I’ve read all the Harry Potter series. The past year I’ve started reading
vampire novels. Many of them are corny, but if the writer is good, he or she can
usually hold my interest. I like some of the earlier Ann Rice books. There’s a few really
good writers on the internet who have written some good material too.

I spend a lot of time on the computer. Many of my classes require extensive research.
Our class never cuts and pastes like they do in some of the other classes. It is
completely taboo to do so. Plagiarism is a certain failing grade. If we do cite a source,
it has to be footnoted. I’m glad I don’t have to do that with this journal. It is the only
redeeming quality about it.

Yippee! I’ve got over 5000 words. Now I have to cross my fingers and hope that Mr.
Byrd keeps his word and doesn’t read this. If he doesn’t, then maybe next week I can
write more about things. I guess it will depend on the prompt.
I still hate writing this stupid
thing.
(I made it little in case Mr. Byrd does read the final page.)


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