Saturday, January 30

The Evil Mrs. Carter

Please note, all names have been changed to protect the innocent. Well, technically they weren’t so much changed, as I simply couldn’t remember anymore. =)

Seventh grade was an epiphany for a lot of us. Just out of grade school, starting junior high, BOYS, and finally being a teen. We were so cool, man.

And then, we met the Evil Mrs. Carter.

Seventh grade English teacher. An overbite so big the Easter Bunny groaned in jealousy.  Cat framed glasses. Polyester suits. Sensible pumps.

The thought still makes me shiver.

Seventh grade meant finding your way to different classes, passing notes, trying to look cool enough to be a part of the “in” gang. It also meant English was a required course.

So on day one, I trooped into English class, clustered with my friends, scoping out the room and where we could all sit in a herd.

Within minutes, the Evil Mrs. Carter had us all separated and lined up via our last names.

Which meant I had to sit next to Jimmy Peterson. Again. Ugh. Why couldn’t I ever sit next to Nick the cute guy? Brother.

Boys aside, the class was a horror. We learned adverbs, subjects and predicates. She drew on the chalkboard and made little lines, the chalk screeching like brakes right before a horrendous crash.

And she called on us. Continually.

Carrie! What’s the predicate of this sentence?

I’m…uh…..I don’t know.

The subject?

I’m not sure.

*snickers and taunting by the rest of the class*

Can you even read the sentence?

No.

Turns out, I needed glasses. And the Evil Mrs. Carter called my parents and told them so.

Added to the indignity of seventh grade, not understanding what a predicate was, and having to sit next to Jimmy Peterson, was wearing glasses. Big honkin’ glasses. 1970’s aviator, navy blue, plastic framed glasses.

Ugh.

And it was all her fault.

The Evil Mrs. Carter.

I never forgave her for the glasses, and never did well in her class. Yes, I always figured there was a correlation between the two. =)

But now, I’m all grown up (and wearing contacts) and I’m not bitter, oh no I’m not. Ok, so maybe I am still. Just a little. But now, that I’m learning to write romance, I’m also having to learn English.

Subjects, predicates, dangling participles.

Frankly, I’m a huge fan of dangling participles, but editors supposedly aren’t. Bummer.

And, I have no more bonding to the subject now than I did 30+ years ago. I bought a book on line editing. It explains in horrifying detail every single part of a sentence, why it has to be written just so, and qualifiers and appendixes and even GRAPHICS for the love of Pete!

How badly do I want a writing career? Enough to learn all of this stuff?

Yup.

So bear with me, while I occasionally dangle something, add in some, commas, in the wrong, places….and use way too many ellipses…

I’m still learnin’

carrie

5 comments:

  1. LOL!
    Funny stuff, Carrie. I had to sit next to a kid named Leland, Ugh!
    But when I started writing, I got one of my worst crits ever from a pubbed author who told me I needed to go back to the 7th grade to learn grammar. I thought I'd die. But now, I consider grammar one of my storng suits. Except for the dreaded comma, that still kicks my butt now and then.
    Leland?
    Last I heard, he still needed to go back to the 7th grade!

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  2. Funny. My Ms. Carter had a huge afro and reminded me of pictures I had seen of Andgela Davis. She was radical, bold, and could teach her butt off. Beleive me, if you passed her English class, you earned it. That was such a long time ago. I've forgotten much of what I learned, and wouldn't know a dangling participle if it bit me.
    And commas? Hopeless.

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  3. I sat next to Jim...for six years! He wasn't one of the cool guys, but he was definitely one of the good ones. I helped him with English; he helped me with math. I doubt either of us knew about dangling whatevers!

    Great blog.

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  4. Carrie, I luurrvvee your stories...I had an EMP, too, her name was Miss Martin, but the subject was Math.

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  5. 7th grade! You are so lucky - I was saddled with the horror of glasses in the 3rd grade. Didn't get contacts until sophmore year. Talk about a relief.

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