Book 12: Deenie by Judy Blume

Another one day read; or more like a half a day. I picked up this hardcover at the local library today about 12:30 and was home by 1pm to start reading. Finished this by 5:30pm. Judy Blume’s Deenie is a book that is recommended reading for the MasterClass I am taking. I didn’t even know it was a banned book when I checked it out at the library.

Ultimately, I was not a big fan of the story as a whole but I understand it it. Again, we lower ourselves to the level of the children and feel what they are feeling and can believe we are this child who is told she pretty over and over again. Just to find out that she has a scoliosis and has to wear a brace. I don’t know one child that would say this is cool or feel alright about it at first.

During the MasterClass, Judy doesn’t got into this book about the scoliosis aspect but from the aspect of the character and sex. Apparently the book was banned because the tween masturbates many times throughout the book like it was a natural part of growing up. Judy tells us to look at our own lives quite often in the MasterClass. In my world, curiosity about sex was rampant so maybe it is/was normal or maybe not. Deenie never really finds out if she is normal or even if she was the only one of her friends to do it.

What I learn from Stephen King is that if it doesn’t move the story or enhance it, it should be left out. I do believe that those scenes were unnecessary in the bigger picture of the book. Overall, the book was okay… I liked Blubber and Tiger Eyes much more than Deenie.

Book 11: Blubber by Judy Blume

Next up on my reading challenger and my homework for Judy Blume’s MasterClass is the book Blubber. Originally written in 1974, not much has changed in the world of kids. Bullying is just as problematic now than it was in the 70’s. Elisabeth told me that I would probably enjoy this book because of how I grew up.

I don’t know a kid growing up that wasn’t bullied in some way, or was the bully themselves. I don’t think it really hit me until junior high. I remember wearing the same neon green sweatshirt as a pretty girl in my class. Someone said to her, look you guys are twins. She replied something to the effect that the difference was that mine was the size of a tent.

Sometimes, I think bullying is caused by the things you do. Maybe if I had not stood up in front of the entire junior high and dance a one-man Menudo concert (not once, but twice), I might not have been that easy of a target.

The book Blubber talks completely about bullying and how even the one’s who stand up get the tables turned on them. It’s easy to see why kids don’t want to stand up for others and how easy it is to fall into peer pressure. Don’t know if this is recommended reading in schools today, but it should be.

Blume tells the tale without preaching and that was her main goal with writing this book. She let the tables turn even though it was wrong just so that kids realize that everything you do has consequences. The consequence of teasing Linda was the teasing turned to her.

A Letter From My Childhood Self

My first writing assignment on Judy Blume’s MasterClass is a Letter From My Childhood Self. The rules read as follows: Write a letter as your childhood self. It’s up to you who you want to write to—your adult self or someone else in your life. Let them know what you care about, what scares you, and what you yearn for.

Soooo… here I go.

Dear My Adult Self,

Oh my god. I have to tell you about something that has changed my life. Maybe in the future, this will be trivial because I don’t know when you will read this and what will have happened over the course of your life. I am sure that this moment will have an impact that will shape your entire life. I know it will.

It was Sunday and I’m watching that variety show on television with all the Mexican performers. I’m sitting with my fingers on the VHS’s record button waiting for the old man in glasses to yell out the words MENUDO. Again, he doesn’t say that. He said something else that I don’t know because I don’t speak Spanish. And that was when our life changed. I know it did because I felt it in the pit of my stomach when those four girls showed up on stage.

The first one sang, she had brown curly hair and sounded sweet. The next girl sang. She had a deeper voice; not as cute and sorta of ordinary. After those two verses, all four girls sang and danced the chorus. I pressed the record button. I need to save this on my VHS tape to watch over and over.

The music slowed down and the third girl sang. She had long blond hair with her tinted pink bangs hanging down. And then the fourth girl stepped forward. That was the moment my life changed. I can still remember everything about her. Her shoulder length dirty blond hair had strong highlights in it. She wore black leggings and a baggy black and white blouse that hung just over her hips. Her voice was angelical. I am in love. I think…no, I know I will love this girl forever.

After the commercial, the four girls on stage were joined by three teenage boys. I no longer care anything about Menudo because I have found myself. There he was. He was front and center with the biggest and widest smile I have every seen. He has curly hair and is everything I am not. I want to be him. I want to be everything he is but I can’t. He has a flat chest and while mine doesn’t have mountains, it has hills that might grow into mountains. His voice his deep. Mine is high. I am a soprano in choir.

The more I watch, the more I am in love with these seven teenagers but it is her I know is the perfect girl and it is him I want to inspire to be. I bet if I asked my mother to perm my straight hair, she will let me. That will make me feel closer to who I am meant to be. I’ll stop wearing dresses and ask to buy clothes like his. I’ll smile like he does too. Maybe I can change my name to something not so girlish. Maybe if I tell the world I am like him, they will believe me. Doesn’t it work like that?

How hard could it be to be a boy when the outside of my body tells everyone I’m a girl?

Parents always say you can be anything you want if you just try hard enough. I’m gonna try my hardest to be the guy I want to be and maybe one day, I will; and when I am that guy, I am going to find that girl and make her my girlfriend. I hope by the time you read this letter, you are a man with a wonderful and beautiful woman as your wife. Maybe she will look just like the love of your life. By the way, her name is Sasha and his name is Diego.

Love, Your 15-year-old self

I Signed Up For MasterClass

Yesterday, I signed up for my year long MasterClass program to help with writing. I started my first class with Judy Blume. Hell, why not. There are 19 different writing classes, so I have my work cut out for me.

Ultimately, I decided to take the plunge and spend the $180 for the year and beef up my writing skills. I debated this for a hard while because I didn’t want to fork out the money if this was just going to be one of those “hobbies” that I quit in 2 months just to insist that my passion lies somewhere else, and everyone agreeing with me. Which then again would change in 2 months stating that my REAL passion was something entirely different and everyone agreeing with me.

Even when I get bored and/or writer’s block, I come back to this: WRITING. So… here is another attempt at focusing on a hobby and I know everyone around me will either say YOU GOT THIS or ANOTHER HOBBY.

As I go forward with the classes, I know there will be assignments because I already go down to my first one with Judy Blume. I will use this blog as a place for my writing assignments and where I can discuss the program, the books they want us to read, and so on.

Part of the reason for the move to enhance my craft comes from where we are in life. Elisabeth has jumped into a creative career and is taking classes to better herself. I do believe that I write a good story, maybe the grammar and flow could be better. Why not take this time to better myself and my writing and after this time of study, I can go back to my works and bring this new author out in me. Go back to publishing real books and Kindles and tell myself that I am a writer.