Chapter Nine – Revised


This is a revised version of the very last chapter that I published (a while ago)  from my book that is still in progress! In honor of those who have taken the time to read and even help with editing. I have tried to take all the suggestions and though I know there may be more to work on… I’d love anyone’s feedback who might take the time to read it. As always… I have mentioned before that if you have not read the first previous chapters (one through eight) you might not follow… but for those who have… Here is Chapter Nine revised. Thank you for your time!

Diane

open diary

Chapter Nine

In the weeks that followed, Keri learned to handle  her relationship with Jack on her own. It was a balancing act. She thought that she was doing  fine. But people began asking her if she was okay.  She caught herself snapping back. Keri trusted no one to talk  about Jack’s mood swings, Keri carried it all on her own shoulders. Then one day, Mrs. Walker came to her with tears in her eyes. She’d been worried about Keri and actually read her journal, “not all of it, but enough” she confessed. Keri was horrified. She’d always trusted the agreement they’d  shared, without so much of a second thought and through the years, she never suspected otherwise and became quite unconcerned and free about what she’d write. If truth be known, her teacher never breached that trust ever before, until she had she’d seen a change in Keri. Keri was coming  to class  upset more and more often.  One day Keri came to drop off an assignment and hadn’t waited to talk to Mrs. Walker who called after her. Keri did  not hear her. Or at least  acted as if she hadn’t.  Mrs. Walker was pretty sure she had.

Keri scrambled inside her head as her teacher stood in front of her with a pitiful look of concern. She tried to recall what she might have written recently.  When there’d been no other place to go but inside the pages of her journal. Mrs. Walker laid the leather-bound book in front of her. Tears of anger burned in Keri’s eyes. All this time, Keri had believed that Mrs. Walker was just initialing each new entry without reading a word. Now, she didn’t know what to believe. Keri snatched the book up and held it tightly against her chest. She wondered how far back that Mrs. Walker might have read.  Her teacher saw the look of betrayal on Keri’s face and rushed to explain. She’d just been concerned,  now, she couldn’t ignore what she’d read. Keri stiffened as Mrs. Walker tried to touch her arm. She pulled away and picked up her books and ran out of the library without a word.

woman crying

Keri agonized all night long. She couldn’t talk to Jack about this. He would be so angry with her. He did not know about the journals. She’d read poems to him from them, but her journals had been hers. They were not even for Jack to know about. She had not wanted him to ask to read them so she never mentioned them.  Her head swam. All of a sudden the room started spinning. Keri grabbed her mouth and ran to the bathroom and got sick. Keri kneeled by the basin coughing and crying.  She’d never felt so betrayed. And yet the hardest thing about her anger was that  she knew that her teacher really did just care. And yet she was just so ashamed that anyone  knew that she’d allowed Jack to treat her the way she’d described in those sacred pages.  Now, she felt naked and as if she wanted to run away, far away where no one knew her. That night she decided that she was going to finish High School even earlier than she’d planned. She did not want to have to deal with Mrs. Walker or anyone. She was so confused. During their conversation, Mrs. Walker told Keri she’d always be there for her if she needed her and  suggested that perhaps she’d really wanted her to read what she’d written. It just made no sense to Keri  and more angry at her teacher.

The next day Keri  went to her counselor to find out exactly what credits she still needed. She was happy to discover that she could complete them all  by taking the required exams through a few independent study classes that she could do on her own through the counseling office at the local community college. She was surprised how everyone seemed to support her plan. Keri  explained that she wanted to finish her Senior year early since her schedule was so minimal. She told everyone that she planned to start working at the Speech and Development School full-time, and have a little time  in-between before she had to start her college classes. She decided that rather than going away to school, she would take some of her general education classes at the  same community college where the counseling office was that she would be reporting to until she completed her High School credits. Surprisingly,  her counselor and her parents didn’t question her new change of plans even though she’d be forfeiting the scholarships she’d applied for. In fact, her mom and dad didn’t seem to discourage or encourage her to go to college. Jack was the only one who really encouraged her to go and yet the idea of  going away to school now,  seemed less and less appealing to both of them as they fell more deeply in love.

The weeks passed quickly and her own graduation was uneventful. There just wasn’t one. A few months later, after completing all of the requirements.  She’d gone to pick up her report card and diploma from the office, only to be told that her official diploma would not be available until after her graduating class had gone through the actual ceremony in June.  Suddenly the realization of what she’d done and was missing out on, hit her. Her choices impacted many things she’d been looking forward to. She’d known that she would miss her prom and other school activities the following year, but she’d also reasoned that Jack would not have wanted to go to any of it and she did not  want to go without him. And yet, Keri couldn’t help feel a tear slip down her cheek as she headed for the parking lot, with her report card in her hand.

The year before meeting Jack, she’d been invited to a boy’s Grad night who she’d met at church and been dating casually for a few months. He was valedictorian of his class and Keri was honored to be his date.  They’d gone to Disneyland after she’d watched him speak to his graduating class and the entire night had been magical.  She was glad that she had that memory, and decided it was going to have to be enough. She was just relieved that school was  behind her and that  Mrs. Walker  had not said anything to anyone else about what she’d read in Keri’s journals. Keri was sure she would have called her parents but for some reason she hadn’t, and Keri was grateful.

When Keri ripped open her report card and saw the A+  in English, a melancholy feeling came over her. She walked toward her car as she scanned the paper. Memories flooded her thoughts as she remembered  all the things she’d learned about writing from Mrs. Walker. She remembered the first time her teacher approached her with tears in her eyes after reading something that she’d written and telling Keri that she had a gift. Tears blurred Keri’s eyes,  just as she was about to  bump into Mrs. Walker herself, who looked equally surprised. She’d not seen Keri for several weeks though signed off on her class after  learning of her plans to not pursue her current scholarship she’d been disappointed but decided not to interfere. In fact, she decided to do nothing.

Keri had seen the familiar signature and had felt uncomfortable. She hadn’t seen her teacher since that day in the library. Only she and Mrs. Walker knew the truth of why she was really graduating early.  “Thanks for the A” Keri said uncomfortably. “You earned it as always, Keri”. Mrs. Walker smiled “Good luck to you honey, you are very talented, I hope you do something great with your writing.” Keri knew that graduating early had ruined her chances for several of the scholarships she was up for,  ones that they worked on together.  Suddenly they just hugged. Though it wasn’t clear who reached out first. The embrace was long and genuine. “Thanks for everything Mrs Walker” Keri whispered hoarsely and Mrs. Walker hugged her a little tighter and then slowly let go. At that moment, she knew Keri better than any adult in her life. The years of mentoring and long talks about her dreams to write, and then watching her progress and win awards, had been her teacher’s own reward. She wanted to say so many things to Keri at that moment and yet she knew that they were all things she would have to learn on her own.

hug

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coastalmom
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 21:13:45

    Yaaay! I got 30 people to actually read a chapter! I think that is a record on the chapters part of my blog!
    Keeping in mind that this is a very rough draft! I am so grateful! And judging the time on the posts, I can tell that most actually did at least look at it rather than just “LIKE” it so a thousand thank yous for those who have taken your valuable time here!
    And Steve… my sweet editor friend… I am working on the rest! Thank you for kicking my butt into gear! ;) Just got in from mowing the lawn and have to go back out to put stuff away but I am inspired!

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Oct 27, 2013 @ 20:44:04

      Sooo I am so grateful for you guys taking the time to read one of my chapters. I’ve realized that reading a poem and reading anything over 500 words is a big difference and asking anyone to do more and them actually doing it is a “gift” all of it’s own! So thank you.
      I have almost hit 40 when I thought 30 was good!
      Now, I am not sure that everyone who actually clicks LIKE has read it and really likes it. But I am hoping! That encourages me to keep working on my book. It gives a work in progress a whole different meaning! Thank you!

      Reply

  2. Planting Potatoes
    Oct 15, 2013 @ 14:52:50

    well written…! I enjoyed the story so much that I’m afraid I didn’t really “look” for anything to give you feedback on….and I hope you would put me on the list to read your book when it is finished! :)

    Reply

  3. coastalmom
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 13:43:27

    I REEEEALLY APPRECIATE EVERYONE’S TIME IN READING THIS! AND VALUE ALL OF YOUR OPINIONS!
    The problem in asking for input is…
    If someone hasn’t really taken the time to read the previous chapters and then says that it doesn’t make sense some where, where it actually might if they’d read it, is hard to ask of someone in the middle of a book! Also… I’ve said over and over again…I know I am
    “Punctuation challenged!!” I may use an exclamation point in or outside of quotes. I may use the …. too much, along with commas and even ~ <<< whatever that little thingie means instead of a comma or …. ;) I also will not break up paragraphs correctly sometimes. In the end, after everything is written, I will hire someone to come in and clean up my messes so that my story will be the best it can be!
    What I am asking here is for feedback regarding story flow, what is confusing etc… Not just from a writer's perspective but from a reader's.
    Thank YOU ALL!

    Reply

  4. Geraldine
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 11:11:27

    Do we EVER really stop editing our stories? I can so relate to this. :) congrats!!!

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 11:26:55

      No. I think that even after this one is bound and printed, I will see changes I wish I would have seen. So I appreciate anyone’s input.
      Thanks for reading Geraldine!

      Reply

  5. dgkaye
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 03:06:19

    Arg, just me again, I noticed that wordpress keeps attaching itself to me when I post, so if you want to reply, reply to this post with my correct website. :)

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 13:22:53

      WordPress keeps attaching it’s self? You are getting way ahead of me with all your new website tech knowledge! lol.

      Reply

      • dgkaye
        Oct 15, 2013 @ 00:37:10

        Lol, sorry I don’t mean to confuse you. I meant since I got my new site and I’m not here on wordpress, when I leave comments, it automatically comes up with my wordpress address attached for reply and I have to change it manually. Also I am noticing that many of my comments have gone missing on some people’s blog. Hmm it seems even though I have moved, I can’t seem to escape the clutches of wordpress! xo

        Reply

  6. dgkaye
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 03:05:17

    Di, it’s looking really good…..and juicy! “It was a little like a balancing act” 1st paragraph, should be more like….. “it was a quite a balancing act”. It really reads nice! When you are all done and think you are done, send it to an editor for perfection and if you need a referral, I’ve got two fabulous editors I use at very reasonable rates. xo

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 13:32:07

      “it was a quite a balancing act”.
      ??
      Instead of it was a little like a balancing act…. It was quite a balancing act?
      I will have to look at that to see if it works. Thanks for the suggestion!
      I just read a story by someone who has a Masters. The content was great… but “I” feel that I could rewrite it by tweaking it just a little to make it flow better. Her writing style is totally telling rather than showing… but it may just be my own writing style opinion…
      I think what I am asking here… is if this flows okay… if it keeps your interest… if you get lost… (assuming that you’ve read the first chapters.) etc..
      Thank you for your time and commenting. And thank you for not commenting on the punctuation! I think you know me by now… that even if I took a class, I am going to have to depend on a service to fix that part for me! ;)
      xoxo

      Reply

      • dgkaye
        Oct 15, 2013 @ 00:35:02

        Yes, oops, my bad, I meant…’It was quite a balancing act”. I think the flow is beautiful and yes I had read prior chapters! :)

        Reply

  7. PapaBear
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 03:03:41

    “Keri weathered the weight of it all on her own shoulders(, until ) one day, Mrs. Walker came to her with tears in her eyes.” (make this a compound sentence)

    “She’d always trusted the agreement they’d shared(, move)without so much of a second thought (insert ,) and through the years,(delete this coma) she never suspected otherwise and became quite unconcerned and free about what she’d write.” (move the coma to -before “and” and it reads better)

    “And if truth be known, her teacher never breached that trust ever before, until she had she’d seen a change in Keri, who’d come to class obviously upset one day to drop off her assignments and hadn’t waited to talk to Mrs. Walker who’d called after her but Keri had not heard her or at least acted as if she hadn’t. Though, Mrs. Walker was pretty sure she had.” (much too long. Break up into about 3-4 sentences and insure subject/verb/predicate in each – no run-on’s)

    “Keri scrambled inside her head as her teacher stood in front of her with a pitiful look of concern, she tried to recall what she might have recently written.” (make into 2 separate sentences).

    “There’d been some pretty bad times lately(. Times- delete this) when there’d been no other place to go but inside the pages of her journal.

    “She pulled away as she picked up her books ” (replace as with and)
    *****************************
    OK, that’s enough for now. Di, you are trending to using the coma a bit too mutch.
    The story is great and the ideas flow nicely. This is just my personal critique on it and you have to write your own story, in your style. Hope I haven’t offended you.
    >>>
    Paul

    Reply

    • coastalmom
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 04:17:35

      Paul,
      I printed both yours and Steven’s changes and I will incorporate them both in my chapter tomorrow. Thank you so much.
      As I shared with Steve, I plan to hire an editor to edit the punctuation and whatever else they want to tweek when I get ready to submit it to either an editor or publisher. In college, I kind of floated through with my teachers liking my content and pretty much, overlooking my errors.
      I guess I thought if someone liked the story, they’d hire an editor to clean up the structure. But I know… gone are the stories where they go home and read your manuscript on a Friday night and by Monday you get a call! ;)
      Thank you my friend!~ You are the greatest! I don’t take your time for granted!
      xoxo

      Reply

  8. Steven Sawyer
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 01:41:29

    Just got this. Look forward to reading it.

    In Jesus’ precious name Steven Sawyer stevesaw@gmail.com http://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/

    Reply

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