peer response

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.