Closely read, critique, and offer revision and editing suggestions for at least 4 of your classmates’ original creative nonfiction pieces. Offer line-by-line suggestions in parentheses, specific areas that require revision, and a 100-word balanced summations with your assessment of the strong components for each of the submissions you review. Your 4 peer responses must not devolve to generic praise (e.g.: “great job, Jimmy”). The purpose of this workshop is for you and your classmates to offer detailed feedback regarding what works/does not work in the original pieces of writing. Story is below
Almost 13 and Over 40
I met Missy the fall of 1987. She was the new girl in 7th grade with long brown hair that swayed amid the long leather strands fringing her jean jacket. I had liked her immediately, I mean nothing was cooler than that jacket- and the strawberry kissing potion she kept tucked in the pocket and applied about 15 times every hour. I had the same roll-on lip gloss, but my plain jean jacket lacked the leather fringe. Missy was magical like Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. I emulated their style, but Missy had the confidence and smile that no amount of acid wash or Electric Youth can manufacture.
Her jacket had the edge, but we had a lot of things in common. Important things like carefully sculpted aqua-net encrusted bangs teased into a tower similar in shape to a stalk of cauliflower. We had the same golden boho earrings grazing our shoulders. Best of all, we had the same sense of humor. I made her laugh the first time I talked to her, something about Mr. Pratt’s big nose. I had been self-consciously shy, but Missy really got me. Freed by the laughter of this impressive fashionista the jokes kept coming. We laughed until the bell rang that morning.
We laughed all the way through those wonder days of awkward transitions. We snuck make-up to school in our backpacks to apply in the school bathroom – who cared what our parents thought about mascara, after all we were almost 13. Old enough for make-up but we still played Barbies a few times after school. Youth was fragile in the 7th grade, especially when scars had left me an old soul. Missy was strong and innocent, and she made me feel the same way.
Missy made everything easier and definitely more fun. Pocket folded notes were passed breaking up the drudgery of class, “I think I saw Rob looking at you during recess…”. The conversations continued at home on corded phones stretched down the hall and wedged under barricaded bedroom doors…for hours, “I heard that Becky had Rob over to her family beach house”. Crushes came and went but there was always more to say and more to laugh about.
Missy and I are over forty now and we still haven’t stopped laughing. Our hair is calmer – no longer supported by aqua-net. I don’t think we could squeeze into our jean jackets if we still had them. And they no longer sell strawberry flavor kissing potion roll-on lip gloss (oh how I wish they did!). Long corded lines have been replaced by smart phones. There have been teenage heartaches and the sting of tears that come from real trauma on the road from almost 13 to over 40, but the laughter that first bound us is shone on the laugh lines which now grace our eyes. Those lines are bridges which show the connection from where we were then to where we are now. My children have never heard of Tiffany or Debbie Gibson. But they know that Missy is still my best friend. And I know just how magical that is.