Saturday, January 2, 2010

Agh, the Looming Pressure of the Last Two Days of Vacation

I think every teacher goes through this. We work so hard, get practically burned out before break and feel positively desperate for vacation. Then, the break feels almost too long...but when it's just about over, that creeping, nagging lump in the chest wall comes back. Anxiety. Pressure. Unfinished business.

I am feeling that way right now.

On the one hand, I will be glad to get my children away from each other and end the "What will we do todays." On the other, I have to rewrite curricula for several courses (it's not that bad--it's really just busywork, typing up syllabi into a new format dictated by school admin) and get all my papers in order.

I am excited to be back at school, and yet I am also worried because my family has all (me included) just come down with Something. Perfect timing.

I have also pledged to blog every day this month. Hmmm.

Well, last night I said I would post the opening lines of my second novel, PRETTY FREAKY. So I will do that. Just to say that I did.


By Elizabeth Collins

Chapter One: The Vision

Give me my Romeo, and when he shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night,

And pay no worship to the garish sun.

--Juliet, in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

With an almost audible bang, I feel my life change the first moment I see him. His shine catches my eye from a distance. At first, I stop still in my tracks, utterly stunned. Then I run closer toward this vision to see exactly what it is.

What can I say? I am in many ways just a regular girl, or perhaps like a crow; sparkly things attract me. A golden-tan boy, just a bit older than me, standing in the late-summer sunset, shirtless—that’s an attention-getter. A boy clad in only jeans, there in his driveway hefting two cans of paint, two probably full cans that are maybe kind of heavy, making his arms taut with sinewy muscles, making him sweat a bit, making him glow and shimmer: well, I am sixteen and especially prone to attraction. But to anyone, of any age, I think, a guy like that is undeniably sexy.

I want to look long and hard at him, get my fill before this beauty dissipates, before he walks away. Yet I know that this vision will live in my memory, in the sweetness of my imagination. I know I can fall for that.

Fall, I do. On the ground. Hard. I spit some small pebbles from my mouth. My knee is scraped up and starting to bleed in thin red lines. The heels of my hands are burning, tiny white curls of skin peeling back. What a humiliating splat. Just standing here, basically still, lost in a daydream, I have tripped over absolutely nothing.

As always, feel free to comment or shoot me an e-mail. Please also officially follow my blog. I have many readers, apparently, but not that many public followers.

(Ah, the sweet sound of husband on the treadmill! I love it. Gives me hope for the new year!)


  1. Love the falling down! Perfect way to embarrass your MC!

    I used to teach, this is my first year out of the classroom. Coming back to work after the break was so... effortless, compared to being in the classroom. I love teaching, but I hate schooling, and that's why I had to get out. But hugs to you, still in the trenches, and I hope this week goes well!

  2. Thanks, Criss. And thanks for reading.