Happy Wednesday everyone. It was a happy one for me I’ll tell you that. Alisha (office elf) and I spent the entire day talking about the plot for the second book in the series formerly-known-as-Phoenix-Five and we were dying laughing. I mean duh-iiii-ing! I can’t believe I’m working on the second one and you haven’t even read the first. Catch up will ya! As promised, I am leaking another entry from the series. This is the fifth and final character. After this I must shut off the leaky faucet until the book is released (Sept. 2013). But that doesn’t mean I won’t be prone to occasional drips. I still have to announce the new name of the series, show you the cover art, and post a pic of the final Gracelet. All in the next few weeks– hang tight. It’s easy, see…
But first, say hello to Vanessa Charlot Riley.
The English assignment given by Ms. Silver on September 6, 2011, @ 1:47 PM is as follows: Each student must record his or her innermost thoughts and feelings during freshman year at Noble High. The goal is to have a safe place to connect with ourselves. The challenge will be finding our voices and the courage to embrace them. These journals will not be graded or read. Ms. Silver will inspect them at the end of the year to make sure we filled all 250 pages. That is it. We will also have to write an essay about self-discovery and what we learned. But we are not supposed to focus on that now.
At 1:49 PM I inquired as to whether we would benefit by filling additional journals. To which she responded, “Not in the form of grades.” To which I asked, “Will our GPAs benefit?” To which she replied, “No. Your soul will.” To which I thought, “Forget it, then.”
Thusly, my strategy moving forward is to pen one journal’s worth of “innermost thoughts and feelings” while focusing primarily on reward-based endeavors. I will, however, transcribe all feelings and thoughts associated with said “endeavors” here. Since that’s the whole point of this exercise.
I will commence with a brief character profile.
My name is Vanessa Charlot Riley. I am fourteen. My hair is light brown and as curly as an old-fashioned telephone cord. I have green eyes and caramel-colored skin. My mother hails from Haiti, my father Queens. I’m told I look like a much, much, much younger Vanessa Williams. Better than Venus Williams. Ha.
As columnist Gina Simmons from the Noble Independent put it, “Exotic and striking, even Vanessa’s features overachieve…” And my middle school principal signed my yearbook with, “Beauty and Brains, you are proof that girls can, and should, have both.”
I prefer using quotes to characterize myself for three reasons:
1) Quotes promote opinions to facts.
2) No one likes a gloater.
3) I must be liked.
My favorite hobby is winning. It’s euphoric. The endorphins fill my heart with sunshine and carbonate my blood. Sadly, said “hobby” has an ugly side too. One I oft compare to the ever-stale Bazooka bubble gum; tough work for a moment of sweetness. But, oh, how sweet that moment is. Hence, the reason I’m always chasing that next piece.
Well, it’s kind of the reason.
Veritas ? It goes deeper than sunshine and carbonated blood. I’m just not sure how to explain it, since “it” is more of a feeling than an actual thing.
Actually, it’s fragments of a feeling. Fleeting fragments like scattered dandelion fluff. Fuzzy bits drift by but I’ve never tried to grab them or piece them into thoughts. Maybe because thinking them in full would make them real. And I don’t want them to be real because they have to do with my parents. But you asked for innermost so I’m going to connect the fuzzy bits and tell you what I try not to think about. Ready?
It’s my parents. How much they fight. And why that affects my grades and wardrobe.
This morning began with a screaming match about my older brother A.J. Then it became about Dad and how he’d rather dissect computers than listen to stories about Mom’s evil boss at the hotel. Which transitioned into the things Mom flushes down the toilet. Nothing says “Good luck on your first day of high school” like an argument about clogged pipes.
I’m never involved in these squabbles but I am allergic to conflict so I suffer. Veritas? Fighting sounds make me itchy. I have red marks all over my arms and legs to prove it. You’d think I was jumped by the Real Housewives of New Jersey on Acrylic Day.
Peers assume I’m modest because I wear long sleeves to keep from scratching. Modesty on a girl with features that “overachieve” does make her more likable, so it’s not all bad. But it’s not all good, either. Obvious frump factor aside, running track in sweats leads to heatstroke. In 98 percent humidity it induces hallucinations. But it’s worth it. First place means my parents will stay together another day. And second means they might not. So I cover up and run like a nose in flu season.
You see, every time I get an A, or win something, or am elected, or crowned, or honored, or published, or profiled, we celebrate at Benihana’s. A.J. and I can order anything we want. Wear whatever we want. We’re even allowed to get double desserts. The only thing we can’t do at Beni’s is fight. It’s our family rule. And like chewed Bazooka it sticks.
In summation: Overachieving = Benihana’s = Peace = No divorce.
If you focus on success, you’ll have stress. But if you pursue excellence, success will be guaranteed. ―Deepak Chopra
For more on Vanessa check out her Pinterest boards. http://pinterest.com/lisiharrison/vanessa/
Have a great week!