Monday, December 15, 2014

The Christmas Spurs

This last book for the  year of 2014 is one that, although may be a seasonal "children's chapter book", it also speaks the TRUE MEANING of the Christmas spirit. While TODAY'S generation is all about the "GIMME", this story is one that SHOULD bring life down to REALITY. EVERYONE should have gratitude. It should shine more when a sibling sees an illness in their face. Shining through a holiday season, this book is one for all generations. For anyone who grows up w/ a sick sibling, this book is for you. Giving heart to the season, here is The Christmas Spurs.

With the younger brother, Jimmy, life was different. He was never yelled at and was always granted to do more. The older brother, Nick, asked why? It was due to expecting more out of him, Nick. A new mall was in construction that was coming to their Oklahoma town. A task that seemed really IMPORTANT to the townspeople. A mall similar to The Mall Of America in size. They seen the construction on the way to the Children's Memorial Hospital for Jimmy's appointment. Of course, with 2 boys, sick or not, there is always that tig for tat. One brother getting attention while the other sits in the waiting room. Jimmy was scared and didn't want to let go of Nick's hand. He was terrified and awaited his big brother. Nick was scared as well, but being the older, big brother, you can't show fear. You HAVE to be BRAVE! Nick had to pry his fingers loose from Jimmy. Jimmy went in w/ their mother while Nick waited w/ their daddy. Their dad KNEW this appointment would be awhile. He offered to take Nick to a movie, but Nick refused, wanting to wait on his mom & brother. Jimmy had a DAY of tests at the doctor's office. He often has to go for tests. Even though he got up to go w/ their dad, Nick didn't want to leave his brother. Their dad wanted to do something to occupy the wait time. You could sense that Nick didn't want to do anything without his brother. In a sense that it wasn't fair. If Jimmy can't, I shouldn't get to either. He thought he could tell Jimmy of his sightful findings when they go back after the appointment.

When the appointment finished, it was rush hour traffic again. It was an excruciating ride home. Jimmy was tired and HAD to lay in his brother's lap. He had Band-Aid's on his arms and went to sleep. It was more common for Jimmy to fidget around and more, Today was different. They thought to eat out, but grabbed drive thru instead. Even though she was nervous, their mom didn't eat her food, just played with it. When they got home, Nick could sense by his parents actions that something was going on that he didn't know. Jimmy & Nick went to play outside in the backyard. Nick was trying to get some kind of information out of his unknowing brother. While they were playing, Nick was given details of what happened at the appointment. Being a child, he didn't KNOW what it was he had. He had an MRI. Nick told Jimmy of the day he had w/ their dad. While Jimmy was prepping for them to watch John Wayne in The Cowboys, Nick looked out the window to see their father fussing with the lawnmower. He didn't expect to see what he would commonly see. Their dad sat down right in the middle of the yard and put his face in his hands. Seeing that really scared Nick. Now, he KNEW something TRULY wasn't right or okay. But being the big brother, you can't act on your emotions. Nick DEMANDED answers for what was going on. Since NOBODY would tell him, he sought to find out on his own.

Nick had an unrestful night ahead of him due to Jimmy's tossing/turning all night. It wasn't that, it was something else. He finally managed to settle down. When Nick was sure Jimmy was asleep, he used an old trick of his by creeping out of his bedroom door and right to the one in front of his parent's room. He listened outside the door to see if he could find out anything about Jimmy. Nothing. At the end of the next week, the family went to a different location to get a second opinion. When the appointment finished, their parents took them to food and a movie. After the day was over, their mom couldn't hold her emotions anymore and let them out. Jimmy didn't say much except that he was tired and didn't like being poked w/ needles. Both boys were scared but Nick didn't let his feelings show. At least Jimmy was tired enough to crash out while Nick tried sneaking out information again.

Even though Jimmy was awake when they got home, when it got to be bedtime, Nick tried to read to him. That was when Jimmy quietly confessed what he could hear in the doctor's office. All he knows is that he has to return for treatment. Jimmy didn't think it was fair that he wasn't privy to the information of his own illness. It was time. Both boys went to their parents together who were in the kitchen WANTING ANSWERS. They told their parents what clues lead to the pieces of the puzzle they had. Now, they just wanted that FINAL piece. They just didn't think it was fair if there was an illness, the patient had a RIGHT to KNOW! Family truth around the table. There is medicine involved, but not the kind they think. Having to get treatments for the disease he has. They informed him of what more there would be outside of a pill. Hearing it gave Nick a chill. He tried to hold it, but tears welled up on their dad. Their mom told them the truth. Jimmy has Leukemia.

Of course, Nick has no sleep that night after hearing and processing what he heard. It wasn't what was said, it was the words in which were. That night, Jimmy & NIck left their door peered open to quietly find out more, until their mom made them close it. Nick checked on Jimmy, who frowned at what he heard. He wiped a tear from his eye onto his shoulder. He HAD to be the MOST POSITIVE in front of his brother as he's EVER been! The more Jimmy asked questions, the HARDER Nick had to keep from crying. Somewhere between tears and sniffling (quietly to themselves), they both managed to fall asleep. On days Jimmy would receive treatment, he would be w/ their mom while Nick was w/ their dad. A routine they would get used to! When they went to retrieve mother and son, they tried/had to go back into the treatment area. Only one problem: the ward was closed to everyone but parents. Nick HAD to wait in the waiting room. It began to upset his dad, but Nick ASSURED him it was OKAY! He was big enough to wait solo. It UPSET their dad enough to give the hospital staff a LOOK! Nick was NERVOUS being alone in a clean hospital waiting room. Their mom came out later to inform Nick and their dad they were going home. Jimmy and their mom would stay a bit due to Jimmy being REAL SICK after his treatment. Their dad was put in charge of "home chores". Mom informed Dad of the normalcy within this process. Their dad tried to make/keep life normal for Nick with NO luck. Nick KNEW life is/wouldn't be the same.

Their dad's voice made everything "okay", but his inner voice spoke the TRUTH! His words weren't REAL! Over a 3 month course, Jimmy NEVER got USED to the medicine. Every trip taken was a 3 day hospital stay or more. The medicine was hard on Jimmy. The stays were harder on their mom. After awhile, she took an overnight bag w/ her. When he DID get home, Jimmy WASN'T Jimmy. . . Sometimes, but NOT ALWAYS! He was having the side effects of the treatments. He wanted to be excited but was too tired. He stayed awake while Nick was telling him. It just saddened Jimmy. When he is IN the hospital, Jimmy misses the OUTDOORS. Hospital staff were able to rearrange for treatments to be done so their mom & Jimmy could do it on Sundays. Their dad wouldn't have to miss work. Jimmy was usually home on Saturdays. He could watch cartoons, but hardly felt like it. Since Jimmy's illness, they have AVIDLY attended church every Sunday. While in church, upfront hoping his prayers for his brother to get better were HEARD. When their dad was working and their mom was w/ Jimmy, Nick stayed w/ a friend from school for the duration. He may have been w/ nice people. But NOTHING replaces your family. The week before Christmas break, Nick's teacher asked the class to write a letter to Santa. Some were to be published in  their local paper. Nick wanted a real pair of cowboy spurs and other items. The teacher advised the class to not make a LONG list. After seeing his own list, Nick KNEW what he REALLY wanted. Just one sentence said it all: "I Want My Brother and Mama Back." - Nick Tipton

This was the first time since 2ND grade that Nick TRULY believed in Santa Claus. This Sunday that letters appeared in the paper, Jimmy was taken back to the doctor. It was different this time. Jimmy's leukemia was in remission. It was a CELEBRATORY day. On Christmas Day, the house was FULL of cheer. Of course, there was the onset of kids on Christmas invading their parents. It was an early 7:30A. After a bit, the boys went to check on their parents. When they went to sneak downstairs for a peek, there weren't any presents under the tree. NO PRESENTS, NO VIDEO CAMERA & NO PARENTS! After Nick backed up a few, he instructed Jimmy to get in the same position as he was. Doing the same motions as Nick. Going around w/ NO SIGN of their parents. Their dad was outside, standing at the corner of the house w/ the video camera on his shoulder.

When their dad first caught Nick, he began shooting w/ the camera. Their mom waited until they were all inside before shooting w/ her own camera while their dad shot the video. Standing between the shots was this beautiful pinto horse. The BEST gift they could have gotten.

KNOWING what they would want, their mom was ready for them once they seen the gifts. Their dad set Jimmy up to be rode around the horse first. Nick was so excited he couldn't stop shaking. Then it was a back & forth of taking turns. As kids do, they didn't care how cold/freezing it was. Then it came time to come in and warm up. Their mom let the family dog in after keeping her in the garage away from the horse. As well as gifts left from Santa. Ripping into them as kids do. Aside from clothes, Nick got a real cowboy hat and a double-holster set of six shooters. The cowboy hat was a REAL STETSON. For Jimmy, aside from clothes, he received video games, a pair of spurs, a repeater rifle and a six shooter. All of it was plastic, but fun just the same.

After lunch, the boys were permitted to ride the horse again. They named him Buck. When they had to return inside, they wanted to enjoy their gifts. Jimmy wanted to borrow his brother's spurs to play cowboys by himself. Nick was somewhat fearful that Jimmy would tear up a new gift. After he'd been outside awhile, Jimmy had, but didn't want to come inside. Instead of taking over and arguing w/ his brother over video games, NOT only did he go RIGHT to his room, but was upset. He had broken the spurs being outside. Nick, in a brotherly manner, assured Jimmy it was okay. They went outside to the site to look for the piece that had broken from the spur. Nick TRULY didn't care; but put up a stink to amuse Jimmy. He TRULY felt bad. When it was dark, right before they went to bed, to make up for breaking the spurs, Jimmy gave Nick his STETSON cowboy hat. Nick refused to take it. He threatened to pick and mess at Jimmy if he didn't go away and get some sleep. Then it was time for bed.

Not only was it a moot point for Nick to keep the hat, it came in handy the next April when ALL of Jimmy's hair fell out. His leukemia had "started up again". Jimmy and their parents returned back to appointments twice a month. Just as before, a visit became a stay. Jimmy hated to go. He felt he HAD to put a face on in front of their parents. Sometimes at night, Jimmy would sneak into Nick's room and deeply tell his brother how he FELT! Even though they were both scared, Nick tried not to let on. Jimmy KEPT his STETSON hat on ALL THE TIME to KEEP his head covered in bed. The Monday after Easter, their mom called after Jimmy's appointment. The medicine DIDN'T make Jimmy sick this time. Nick and their dad jumped to go get them. They got word from their mom that Jimmy didn't have to come back for awhile. To celebrate, the family went to a nice restaurant. During coffee, their dad snuck off to make a call. When he returned, he had exciting news to share.


After they hurriedly finished and left, they parked in the lot next to the Cowboy Hall Of Fame. They were ALL given the opportunity to EXPLORE. Their dad spoke to the director of the Hall Of Fame. Their mom was in shock. The family was given a private tour. They were so excited! The tour was guided by someone the boys seen as a hero. It was some day. They were treated like V.V.I.P. (Very Very Important People). It was an UNFORGETTABLE experience they'll ALWAYS REMEMBER! Dubbed as "the neatest/greatest day ever." They had a REAL BUSY day. Jimmy kept taking his hat off/on. He would frown at it, wiggle the brim, turn it around & again, then put it back on. NO ONE KNEW why until that night.

John Wayne
After a day like that, Nick needed a good night's sleep. Jimmy was sitting on the edge of his own bed w/ his hat in his hands. The glow from the night-light shone on Jimmy's baldhead. The next morning, Jimmy awoke early before his brother. His awareness woke-up Nick. He sat down next to his brother. Jimmy flipped through 3 John Wayne taped movies. Nick was getting upset at not seeing the movie. Usually, Jimmy would argue back. This time was different. Jimmy was upset because he felt his hat wasn't any good. It wasn't a REAL hat. It didn't look like the one they seen at the Hall Of Fame. It wasn't all dirty and bent up. The problem was that the ones Jimmy seen were old & worn, his was BRAND-NEW. He had to give it time. Nick took his brother out to GET THE JOB DONE!

Both of the boys did EVERYTHING they could to that hat. Playing w/ it EVERY WHICH WAY possible. After a few weeks with it, the boys managed to get it dirty & smelly. EVERYONE in public KNEW Jimmy used the hat as a cover. Their mom promised that hat was going to be washed. He put up a Hell of an argument. He was CLINGING ON to that hat. Nick sought to explain why Jimmy's attachment to the hat. He forgot what to say. Jimmy was DETERMINED to clean it. Nick seen it was BEST to STAY OUT OF IT! Their mom CHASED AFTER Jimmy until she got the hat. By the time their dad got home, all the action was over.

Jimmy was in his room bowling. Nick was quietly reading his book. Their dad was HAPPY to be home. When he seen their mom, he was informed of what happened. Taking a HAPPY smile off his face. He then went into Jimmy's room. Jimmy was crying under his bed. He came back to the living room w/ a look of What? on his face. Their dad conveyed a meeting in the backyard. Once they were outside, Nick explained the ENTIRE situation. Their dad took the heat and said he would fix the hat. Jimmy was still under his bed. He wouldn't come out for their dad. Their dad pulled him out w/ one leg. With Jimmy under their dad's arm, he pronounced he would go get dinner from KFC. They would return later. While waiting in-line at the drive thru, their dad informed them of their misunderstandings of information. He said he would fix the situation when they got home.

After the KFC dinner, the ENTIRE family pitched in to help make Jimmy's hat look like a REAL cowboy hat. A "from-this-to-that" transformation. A family pitch-in craft project. During the finalization process, their dad had Jimmy put the hat holder contraption they built on the ledge. Giving Jimmy instructions to form its SHAPE. Before long, it would look like a REAL cowboy hat. It took around a month for it to look natural. You never seen such PRIDE as Jimmy did having that hat on. In late May, the family learned Jimmy would have to go back to the doctor's for more treatments. Nick didn't want Jimmy and their mom going back to that schedule of appointments. When Nick went to Sunday school, the class was asked of their favorite Bible lessons. All of the kids gave their opinions. When it was Nick's turn, he couldn't answer. His attention was focused on Jimmy. He was in a different mindset. Nick thought/listened to the miracles the class pointed out. Mentally, he was thinking of the one his own family could TRULY use RIGHT NOW.

Jimmy and their mom couldn't come home for 3 days. He was tired, pale and weak. He asked Nick to put his cowboy hat away for him. Later that night, Nick heard Jimmy in his room. Jimmy's voice was real soft as to not awaken their parents. He stated that if something were to happen to him, he declared that Nick have his cowboy hat. Nick choked on the knot in his throat. He spent the ENTIRE night around his bed. Even though Jimmy slept fine, Nick didn't get ANY! Jimmy's condition had him sleeping ALOT! He couldn't do much more than that. They went to church for counseling. Sometimes for family counseling, sometimes one-on-one. If you have faith, EVERYTHING will be alright. Nick went exploring throughout the church. He sat on the top of the balcony by way of the stairs at the back of the sanctuary. The balcony was at the HIGHEST place of the WHOLE ENTIRE church. By the end of June, Jimmy quit coming into Nick's room at night to talk. He just went to bed. His doctor visits were shorter. He wasn't as scared as he used to be. It was like he didn't care as much anymore. He lost a bunch of weight. It didn't occur to anyone until after a 4TH of July celebration. To everyone's surprise, Jimmy began to feel better.

Jimmy was in a fast-paced mood to play Cowboys. After they changed into their attire, they ran and played outside. What started out fun soon became SERIOUS! One minute Jimmy looked at Nick, the next his arms went limp and he plopped to the ground. His hat fell off when he went down. All of a sudden, Nick's heart jumped into his throat. Jimmy was still & stiff. At first, Nick thought Jimmy was still playing, until he seen his brother. He was so small & fragile. Nick felt real heavy and his heart stopped. Jimmy was NOT moving. Next thing you know, Jimmy was faking out his brother in playing. That got Nick not wanting to play anymore. It TRULY scared him. It brought Nick to a NEW REALITY.

Jimmy got to feeling worse. By the end of July, he was readmitted in the hospital. This time was a stay. The day was August 12. A day Nick will NEVER FORGET. Jimmy was sick and SLEEPING around the clock. Throughout the week, the family, aside from school, was there 24/7. He had a private room where the family stayed w/ him. They slept in shifts so someone was w/ Jimmy all the time. The only time Jimmy was alone was during trips to the cafeteria. When they were alone, Nick was talking to Jimmy who was out of it asleep. Nick would go upclose to Jimmy to see if he was breathing or had a heartbeat. If he DID, Nick smiled and sighed w/ relief and continue. After eating that afternoon and returning to Jimmy's room, a doctor and 2 nurses were JUST exiting from his room. At the doorway to his room, the doctor stopped their mom. He/the doctor tightly hugged her. Nick and their dad raced up because they KNEW it was a HAVE TO GET THERE moment. The doctor sadly told them Jimmy was gone. He had passed away about 10 minutes ago prior.

Their mom was in HORRIBLE grief. She had just lost her son who died alone in his room. She COMPLETELY Fell Apart! Nick tried to comfort his mom. He couldn't continue to see her hurt. After she calmed down, the parents consoled each other. When no one noticed, Nick snuck over to Jimmy and laid his hand on his brother's chest. NOTHING but Silence. Nick clung to him until their dad had to pry him off of Jimmy. Then the family cried together. Jimmy's funeral was 3 days later. During the service, Nick whispered that he loved his brother. Nick KNEW that Jimmy didn't want to be buried without his hat. NONE of the other adults understood, but Nick did.

Nick just felt empty. No hurt, not happy. Just EMPTY! He confessed this to his parents 2 days after the funeral. Time heals ALL wounds. Not feeling better after 2 months. School began on August 22ND. Being busy helps forget your sorrow. Going home was another story. Life is NOT the same. He wasn't so interested in Buck anymore. Their  mom and dad gave him a good home in the country. He did love Buck, but it just brought Nick to feelings of missing Jimmy. In early November, Jimmy's belongings were donated to The Salvation Army. It was a good & hard thing to do. Nick didn't want anything. He did stick Jimmy's hat onto the TOP of the chimney in a safe place and position.

School in the 5TH Grade was harder, but a GREAT distraction. Certain friends were gone and moved. Now Nick's brother and friends were gone. School itself wasn't bad. Nick never got in trouble or anything. The noise from music class reminded Nick of Jimmy's laugh. Due to not participating, Nick was sent to the principal and the counselor. He didn't feel like divulging how he felt, it HIT at the reason why the disruption at home. Nick did homework, played games on Nintendo, except for Jimmy's games. At night, he would think about Jimmy. Certain aspects would bring back memories. Using books from the library were an escape. When he wasn't reading, he tried to think of the Christmas Tree at church. When the minister brought it up, Nick's ears perked. A tree to be decorated w/ handmade stuff. Bringing stuff from home that was homemade. Something very special to share with others. Nick tried to think of something special to share. The Saturday before Christmas Sunday, Nick still didn't have anything for the tree, so he finally gave up.

Since Jimmy's passing, their dad has used work as a vitality to keep him busy. It was work in many locations. Nick being a kid just thinks Daddy works ALOT. Their mom was the same way to keep busy. She went back to teaching. At home, she stayed busy cleaning. Nick realized that NO MATTER how old/young you are; when you lose someone you love, HURT HURTS.  The family was hurting and each coping the best way they KNEW how. After Nick was instructed to give the dog a bath, he got himself prepped and ready. Then of course, comes the dog chase. In the midst of chasing after the dog outside and having to reach in and retrieve him from the doghouse, something gold caught the corner of his eye. It was so close to him yet so far enough away to REACH. In the crack of the doorway and after getting positioned enough to see what it was, it was the little gold star Jimmy had broken off of his brother's spur from last Christmas.

Their dad had been working at the Church. It was for Christmas, but also keeping busy essence. That was main topic of conversation. Nick's parents didn't really talk that much anymore. After he was sure his parents were asleep, Nick carefully snuck out to the backyard. He put his foot upon the stepladder and climbed up. Jimmy's hat, along w/ the Styrofoam hat intact, where Jimmy said it was. It was wedged in the crack of the doorway of the dog's house. He was so happy he found it. Conversing w/ Jimmy's spirit, Nick spoke of things and moments they have had and shared. He gave an update on what changed from them. He found and fixed the broken spur. It was good as new. He stood on-top of the ladder for a long time. He looked at the hat w/ different eyes. Nick placed the fixed spur in a safe place and position next to Jimmy's hat. The way light rays caught the tip of the little gold star on the spurs shined. It was all quiet. Just Nick, Jimmy's hat and, the Spurs. For some reason, Nick didn't feel so alone & empty. The spurs were going to be a SECRET between brothers. Just between them.

In Church the next day, Sunday, their dad and other volunteers helped work on the new Sunday school rooms. That was why Nick's dad was out/gone so late the other night. It was an HONORABLE mention for the ENTIRE church. He mentioned projects that will happen in the future. After noticing the accurately discussed remodels, it brought Nick back to that emptiness he felt when Jimmy died. The changes in the church made Nick miss what used to be. Due to the changes, Nick felt that God had left him now. First - his best friend's move, Second - Jimmy died and "left". Now, God has left him. Nick was left w/ an EMPTY SADNESS that made him shiver. He felt like he had NOTHING left. For the FIRST time, Nick FELT ALONE!

Nick couldn't help but bury his face in his hands and cry. He had to stop due to commentary from others. When it came time to sing, he took a deep breath and let the music out. Then it happened. The bass note of the organ stuck and created a worse scene with the conductor. Trying to fix it, she made it worse! The entire room/atmosphere was hearing this LOUD noise. Next thing, a cold wind blew in. Things were in disarray as everyone tried to block it. As the deacons tried to close the window site, the LOUD noise grew LOUDER. Windows and walls were shaking. The conductor had to finally unplug the organ. A hush fell over the ENTIRE congregation. The LOUD noises STOPPED. Everything did. Everyone was at a stand still due to being scared it would happen again. There was NOTHING but STILLNESS. Finally, the Reverend let go of the tree.


When the windows closed, everything calmed down. Everyone tried/got their bearings back. The minister re-assessed the tree. He cocked his head to the side, studying the ONLY thing in that church that was STILL moving. One of the tree limbs waved up and down, apparently pushed by some unseen wind. A bottom limb by the FAR side of the tree. The minister walked around for a closer look. He frowned curiously at the ornament on the tip of the bouncing branch. The ornament was a pair of toy cowboy spurs just wigging and swaying. Next thing you know, a sound of tiny bells jingling erupted like the one similarly just like . . . . Jimmy's laugh. It gave Nick chills to his heart. An excited feeling that took his breath away. His heart stopped. Similar to when Jimmy would hug him. Only this time, he hugged Nick's heart. It gave Nick shivers. A tear fell from his eye and he instantly heard himself laugh. The first time he has laughed in a LONG time. While the church was quiet, Nick was giggling. After he was caught, he got quiet. He was laughing on the inside. On the way home, he told his parents why he was laughing. It was something good.

Nick just never said what. He never told them about the backyard and the chimney. Even through the strong winds, when Nick got home, he found the Styrofoam head, but Jimmy's hat was gone. It made him think of the lesson his Sunday school teacher taught about miracles. After he got home, Nick secretly KNEW Jimmy was safe on Christmas Sunday. Jimmy had his hat. When they were in church, if he promised to keep quiet, Nick wanted to sit in the balcony by himself. Thing is: he wasn't. He/Nick had Jimmy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Struck By Lightning:The Carson Phillips Journal

This next book was written in a "diary/journal" forum. This book was written by actor and new writer, Glee's Chris Colfer.  It tells the story of the high school experience through the eyes of fictionalized main character, high school senior, Carson Phillips. His departure from his hometown of Clover, CA, is only days away. His main goal/dream: Northwestern University. Telling anyone who will listen, Carson hopes to be the youngest freelance journalist to be published in ALL MAJOR newspapers, hoping to earn his way to The New Yorker. Carson tries & finds a way to make it happen through what means he has at his disposal.

Granted, Carson does have another year of high school left, and a senior year at that. Being anxious & eager, Carson wouldn't be surprised if he was the first applicant. He stayed up half the night before to submit his application as soon as admissions opened up at 6A. Wasting time has never been his forte. If his transcripts don't speak for themselves, Carson's high school career should. He has kept his high school GPA at 4.2 since freshman year. He has single handedly edited the Clover High Chronicle since sophomore year. He has managed to keep the school's Writer's Club alive due to high school objections.

Carson's hometown of Clover is a place where the pockets are small, but the minds are even smaller. It's tiny and conservative. You're born here. You live here. You die here. Having aspirations to leave makes Carson the black sheep of the community. The most common gathering spot is a Taco Bell parking lot on a Saturday night. After the first movie theater was built, people lost their minds w/ excitement. Carson is seen as one of the kids on the bottom of the food chain, constantly teased, despised, an annoyance to everyone. The difference w/ Carson is: he DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT! Simply stated: a town that asks: Does anyone ever get out of here? That fuels Carson's desire to get out even more. It ALL began after expressing his life's journey and destination at a young age. THAT was where his issues w/ the town of Clover began. He also expressed the TRUTH in what he learned or studied. Carson knew he was a cynical kid from divorced parents. It wasn't until the age of 10 that Carson seen a friend's parents interact that he seen different.

Carson's mother, Sheryl, was in it for the long haul when she married Neal. Although they had tried, Neal wanted out as soon as he got in. At one point, Sheryl quit her job as a receptionist in a doctor's office due to parenting falling solely on her shoulders alone. Neal tried to avoid as much fatherly parenting as much as possible. Their arguing was a consistent constant in Carson's life. Their Titanic of a family sank deeper and deeper as time passed. Carson was led onto the knowledge of words through their fighting. Words, to Carson, seemed like a powerful force that he could properly use in the world. It became a way to hold onto sanity in a crazy household. Things peaked when Sheryl's mom had come to live w/ them a year later when she was diagnosed w/ Alzheimer's. Carson's grandmother was a savior for him. It was hard to watch her fade away. As a kid, Carson KNEW there was something wrong with her. Neil gave Sheryl an ultimatum: Either Sheryl's mom goes into a home or Neil leaves. She left the next day. After she was moved in, Carson biked his way to see his grandmother every day after school. The move was sad, but Carson's visits gave her something to look forward to! Carson, to this day, has never missed a day.

Despite Sheryl's attempts to make them work, Neil OFFICIALLY left the family when Carson was 10. The ENTIRE neighborhood remembers that night. It has been Sheryl & Carson ever since. Life without Neil was quiet. The house was pleasantly peaceful. Sheryl never recovered from Neil's departure. She never went back to work. She decided to live off an inheritance left by her dad. She never dated or remarried. Instead of a man, Sheryl replaced it w/ wine. Spending her life laying on the couch watching Daytime TV! Becoming known around town as a woman who shops in her bathrobe & sunglasses. Carson has only seen his dad twice since he left. He has spent ALOT of his time being pissed at his parents over the years. But, he KEEPS IN MIND that THROUGH IT ALL, others have it worse! But, Carson is moving forward, looking to the future! He has never been so excited!


Aside from trying to achieve a better future for himself, Carson also looks out/after his mom. Sheryl makes every morning look like an after party hosted by a rock band. Over the last years, Sheryl has formed this sick relationship w/ her doctor. She literally makes up illnesses so she can visit him to get "something". When Carson's grandfather passed away, he left his grandson his 1973 Corvair Convertible w/ its own set of problems that prevent it from working properly. It works . . . .but it takes a minute. Clover is a small town w/ a 5 minute walk to anywhere. An hour to walk from one end of town to the other. Carson sees things differently than the "average" teenager. He sees them w/ more of an adult eye. Teenage bullshit is just that. Walking through the hallway is like trying to make your way through a herd of cattle. Carson is a great student. If he has subject trouble, he asks for help. If it constitutes staying after, he does! Carson sees the world for what is and what is lacking within the school system that, while their student's graduate, they aren't taught to function properly and taught what they need to learn. Being forced to be taught accessories that you won't use rather than the necessities that they will.

After minding his own business, Carson is sought by the flaky/"pat-on-the-head", guidance counselor, Ms. Sharpton, to attend Career Day in her office. Carson knew & seen it was B.S. after suggesting Carson's future, he directed her of what it was going to be! His TRUE life's aspirations. Carson KNEW his future without commentary. He informed her of what they were. It was like Carson went to school w/ ABSOLUTE dumbasses - staff included. (Both Carson & myself, Jeremy Carroll, are allergic to stupidity.) After he reiterated his accomplishments and steps to achieve his goal, he thought she would be of help. She wasn't! Carson didn't just want to get into Northwestern, it was a MUST! He would do ANYTHING to get into that school. She "tried" to get Carson to fill out alternate school forms for an already determined kid. Her stupidity was beginning to leak into the room and Carson HAD to leave. Carson's last class of the day is one that IS prepping him for life: Journalism class. Carson loves the class, but hates the people in it. This class is in charge of putting together the weekly school paper. When Carson was a freshman, the students in the Journalism class were considered gods. Students used to beg them to write or not write about their school activities. Carson was slipped $50.00 once by a cheerleader to leave out the fact that she forgot to wear undergarments during a game.


After graduation, the only one left in class was Carson. It was as if the class dwindled down to ABSOLUTE NOTHING & NOBODY, except for Carson. He took charge of it as a whole. Carson tried to recruit new members but no one wanted to join. He seemed to be the ONLY one interested. The school ended up sticking people in the class that didn't have enough credits to graduate. School hotshots were replaced. The Clove High Chronicle is made up of an assistant editor, a movie reviewer, a weather reporter & a foreign exchange student. The first issue was disappointing w/ very little/half-assed participation that Carson had to do and make up for. One student, Malorie, who was in charge of creative writing, only mocked and tried to pass off the opening line to The Grapes Of Wrath as her own. Carson cut her off to see if she had written anything originally hers. Malorie is one you could say struggles w/ concentration and more. "Not all there!" She is one who is KNOWN for carrying around and using a videocamera in school. She films EVERYTHING. Carson's FAVORITE segment is his own because it discusses an ACTUAL issue. Meeting was adjourned after the bell rang. Since he seems to be the only one ACTUALLY interested and sees a future rather than a hangout, Carson appointed himself from editor to President. This Writer's Club is something Carson TRULY values and takes PRIDE in. He would replace defamed posters of the club alerts things w/ NEW ones. The graffiti is even an eyesore w/ NO CORRECT spelling. Just for something to do in town, the kids join after school clubs just for an activity! A different set of clubs suited for EVERYTHING! In the 3 years of the Writer's Club, the only members were Carson & Malorie, who only joined after getting kicked out of another club. After she said she ACTUALLY had a story she wrote for the paper, Carson was excited, until it was the opening to the CLASSIC book, Moby Dick. NOTHING original.

Carson tried to give her encouraging words of support. She tried to find out how it comes so easy for him. Giving her an example of the feeling writing comes for him like lightning: coming out of nowhere and it just hits you. Trying to inspire her ended up re-inspiring Carson. Malorie has really grown on Carson over the years. She would be the closest thing to a best friend that he's got. Twice a week for an hour after school, Carson has student council. While other members of the council were "elected", being the editor of the paper entitles Carson to join in on the topics. He has been having to fight to stay on from being tried to get rid of. Carson HAS to be there if they want exposure in the paper. Aside from Carson, the student body is filled w/ "pretty, popular types". Having to sit and deal w/ their adolescent high school drama.

When it came to ideas for a theme for Sadie Hawkins, Carson came up w/ a Famous Television Couples theme. Everyone hunched on it and liked it. But, it was ALL taken out of context when suggestions came in of "REALITY" TV star couples rather than TRUE, ICONIC matches. Completely missing the point. Carson quickly regrets mentioning the idea. He kicks himself for ever mentioning ANYTHING! After it was over, Carson spent ALOT more time w/ his grandmother than he normally would. But this visit, she stated something that stuck w/ him. It began like any other visit until she came in and claimed she made FRESH from the oven cookies when it was a plate of Oreo's. Carson brought her the latest of his school newspaper. She keeps asking about her grandson, whom she doesn't recognize. It became a repetitive cycle of conversation. Carson didn't want to leave her. It was a rarity to see his GRANDMOTHER when she was ALERT! He wanted to soak it in for all it's worth. After she fell asleep, Carson knew it was time to go. On the way home, Carson thought about what she said pertaining to his happiness. When he got home, it was around 9:45P. Sheryl had fresh Rx bottles on the kitchen counter. She was on the back patio drunk as a skunk. Carson had to listen to her MUMBLING state talking non-sense.

Every Monday for Carson is an automatic day sufficed to say a day where nothing can go right from the start. Beginning at the student parking lot w/ irresponsible student drivers. Not even them, it's their expressive, copied, thinking to be original bumper stickers. Carson was in a day he KNEW NOTHING would/could go right. When it came to journalism class, it was whistling the same tune w/ NO progress. They informed/tried to understand why Carson worked so hard for a paper no one read. Kids use the paper in art class for projects. Talk about an improper feedback. It made others wonder why Carson cared so much? After hearing that, Carson took a minute to think about what was said in that. Since he got no help again, Carson had just a day to pull an ENTIRE school newspaper from out of his ass.

After he had to wait 20 minutes to go after school, Carson headed and began to enter the restroom when he heard and seen giggling and moaning. In the stall next to him were Nicholas Forbes & Scott Thomas. After they came out of the stall and were confronted by Carson, he was amused to have the upper hand for once. Nicholas was almost pale and see through. Scott was annoyed due to being interrupted. They wondered what Carson was going to do about what he seen/knows. One dared Carson to tell while the other begged for his silence. Carson promised his secrecy. Using the barter system, if one wrote and added a finance section and a weekly update from the Performing Arts Dept. At first they thought Carson was kidding - he wasn't. It was to be until they all graduated and went their separate ways. Either write for Carson's paper or expose a secret. They wrote for the paper as of next week. Carson states for the record, he isn't blackmailing, he is an equal opportunity extortionist. NO MATTER who you are. I treat you the way you treat me!

Due to OVEREXPOSURE & CONSTANT underlining of sex in TODAY's society, Carson COMPLETELY stopped watching television & movies altogether. A film about finding yourself, self worth or a lifelong goal, Carson is ALL EARS for! The OVEREXPOSURE gets tired and boring. What Carson finds sexy in a girl among ALL things: intelligence. Something about being w/ someone who is mentally conscious. Veering off track, Carson had to get back to work. As he was on his way to English, he had a note on a Post-It to see the guidance counselor when he could. Naturally, he ran straight there to her office without informing his English teacher. After bursting into her office, Carson was anxious for a word back from Northwestern. Carson unintentionally scared her when he arrived. She was having lunch and consuming a sandwich. She piddled around an ALREADY anxious kid wanting her to get to the point!

Carson found out that the work w/ the newspapers and everything else wasn't cutting it anymore. If he wanted to make an impression, Carson HAD to think higher. He could submit a novel or a book of poems. Carson suggested a literary magazine. A magazine filled w/ his work and the work of other students. Something that leaves an impression while inspiring others. Carson immediately set sail on a new route. Putting a plan into motion starting w/ permission from the principal. After catching him before leaving for the day, the principal okay'd it, as long as Carson didn't ask for funding from the school. It was broke! Carson also asked for time the following day during an assembly. The principal okay'd it just to see how it fared. Carson was beyond excited. After he informed the journalism team, it was deafening silence. Carson was drowning in denial and KNEW it was going to be difficult. Just how do you go about it? On the drive home, Carson thought to ask his mom for the money to start the magazine. He was going to be straight up honest & ask. When he got home, it was different. The house, along w/ Sheryl, were up and cleaned. Carson was wondering what the deal was? His dad was coming over and Sheryl prettied herself up. She forgot to sign and return the half-completed divorce papers. Neil was bringing new ones to be signed. Carson could not believe the state and manner his mom was in. She was clearly in a mood. He figured to ask for the money after dinner which proved to be EXTREMELY awkward.

The dinner itself PROVED to be an AWKWARD situation. It started out when Sheryl randomly suggested that Carson be on antidepressants. He thought that Sheryl was medicated enough for the both of them. He then validated his point by stating a FACT: People turn to pills before they turn to their problems. We are living in a medicated society. Sheryl then informs her son of his own pill taking when he was a child. We found it easier to roofie you than to answer you. Shattering Carson's remembrance of his childhood. After finding that out, Carson asked for the money. Sheryl was hesitant at first. He had to negotiate a give-and-take w/ her. He had to make a deal. If he fulfilled her proposition for him to take antidepressants, she would give him the money to start his literary magazine. He SAID he would, didn't mean he ACTUALLY would. The following day, Carson announced the release of the PREMIERE issue of the literary magazine at an appropriately titled ASSembly. Waiting for his turn, Carson stared spacely at the ceiling while the meaningless school news was being announced.

After all of the mundane bullshit was announced, it was FINALLY Carson's turn. He had one shot to inspire the students of the school to submit to the magazine. One shot to do it right to cement his future. It was an awkward experience to do. Carson was completely desolate afterward. After he went to collect a submissions box that was FULL that was to be filled of stories/poems of other students, it wasn't. FULL of trash and bullshit of other students that were careless. But no literary submissions. Carson felt a surge of defeat run through his body. The big bright Northwestern sign in his head toward his future was dimming. Malorie tried to re-assure Carson of his accomplishments of what he's done already. He informed her of the truth. He is using blackmail to assure his future. Since he was down, Malorie tried to brighten his mood by showing him her video footage from her camera. Malorie came up w/ the idea in just - talking. EVERYONE has something to hide. Mentally, that put Carson on a mission to find out EXACTLY what that is. In turn using it as blackmail to help w/ the magazine. Before that, there was one final attempt to use a float created by Carson & Malorie to be used in a public forum to inspire others to join the Writer's Club. Blackmail was to be used as a LAST RESORT!

Carson couldn't sleep that night due to being FILLED internally w/ hate & humiliation. After school, Carson met w/ Malorie to put their float together. They made a giant notebook that actually opened and closed that said The Writer's Club. Carson was dressed as a giant No. 2 pencil and Malorie was dressed as a giant notebook. It may not have been "classier" than the others had, but it worked! Making do with what you've got. Carson tried selling ad space to local businesses, but had no takers. Minutes before showtime, Carson was informed that the truck that was due to pull him is now carting the cheerleaders problems due to a mishap w/ theirs. The Writer's Club & Carson were once again given the shit end of the stick. So Carson & Malorie had to economize. Carson was steamed! He was DETERMINED to see that the student body SEE their float if it kills him. Just then Carson had to pull together a last minute float. From that moment on, Carson was running on pure adrenaline. The rest of the night gave Carson the feeling that THIS was how he will/would be FOREVER remembered.

What came next were the usual sneers, jeers and, laughter from EVERYONE present. After that humiliating moment was over, Carson ripped off his pencil costume, got in his car and STORMED out of the student parking lot, not even using his blinker. He was going about 60-70 miles/hr, but he felt like it was 100. He went home, went to his bedroom  and collapsed on the bed. He was over-thinking the nights events and everyone else's comments. Carson had done EVERYTHING he possibly could. Except for one thing. If he can get Nicholas Forbes and Scott Thomas to join The Chronicle, ANYTHING is POSSIBLE! Everyone has something to hide. Before even completing his thought process, he called Malorie and Operation Clovergate was in effect. NO MORE MR. NICE GUY to be walked on!

Carson dismissed himself early from Chemistry for himself and for Malorie to get started. After finding her in Art class, it was game time. Hatching and creating their necessities together to put their plan into motion beginning w/ a large Clovergate board. Carson's motto to follow: Capture the queen and the colony will follow. Striking first on Remy. If anything should happen to Carson within this ENTIRE process, Malorie is appointed head-in-charge of The Chronicle & The Writer's Club. Carson slyly handed Remy a large manilla envelope. Inside she found printed conversations between his made-up online alias and her REAL online account. She went silent. Carson took a bright yellow flyer out of his back pocket and handed it to her. He left before she could open it. Afterward, he stopped by the boys restroom,  figuring he could kill 2 birds w/ 1 stone. With NO surprise, Carson found Nicholas & Scott come out of it at the same time. Must've been a quickie. Confronting them both with the yellow flyer they HAD to contend to. He had them in the palm of his hand. After that, he KNEW he HAD them. He had succeeded! 3 down. 4 to go. Clovergate Day was a success!

On day 2, Carson decided to hit the easy targets of his plan. Setting his sights on Vicki & Dwayne. With Dwayne, they pulled a tiny, Ziplock bag containing stuff. As they approached him,  an interrogation was on! It was a bag that Malorie had pertained. They told him he left it in the journalism class. He asked if they wanted any - pretty sure it was his. They weren't expecting that response. Carson informed him of what he could do. Dwayne compromised and agreed to write the movie review they needed for the magazine. It was too late. Carson grabbed the Ziplock bag and walked away leaving him in suspense. It was ALL a staged ploy that Dwayne bought. After Dwayne was on-board, so the next would be Vicky. They didn't HAVE anything on her, except to rat her teenage behavior and dress on her parents, something they DON'T approve of. Plus concrete evidence of photos of behavior downloaded on the internet. Vicki was the muse for the photographer apparently. After collecting the pictures from the printer, Carson was onto the next victim/target. He met w/ her later on in AP Zoology class.

Carson sat down in front of Vicky. After noticing his presence in the room, he informed her of what he could accomplish w/ Google. The inappropriate photos of her. She tried to play "I don't care". Carson blackmailed her by e-mailing these provocative photos to her mother who teaches Sunday school and is very church oriented. She was bright red and flustered. He gave her the Writer's Club flyer. Carson got Vicki on-board and things were going according to plan. Clovergate Day Two was better than Day One. The success of the mission gave Carson chills. Spending a whole school day accomplishing this w/ a CONCRETE alibi for his absence from class. Claire Matthews and Coach Colin were the ONLY victims left.

Since they were the ONLY victims left, Carson KNEW they would be the hard part of what's left. He knew what he had against them and how to use it. His problem was what words to use. Malorie suggested using other people that could be a good candidate. Carson assured her they would be! If he could get Claire & Colin under his thumb, others will follow suit. With the power of choice he's using, Carson reminded Malorie of a little Margaret Thatcher. Colin was the FIRST school faculty member Carson was blackmailing. Colin had just finished a P.E. class. This guy was a COMPLETE idiot. He knew who Carson was. He was a senior when Carson was a freshman. Carson tutored him in Biology. He thought Carson was there to interview him. Carson struck that down ASAP! He used a silioqy to get his point across. The Clover High Chronicle doesn't have a sports section, but the statutory section is free. He dropped EVERYTHING in his hands KNOWING what Carson was getting at, but acted like he didn't. Both men KNEW Carson had the upper hand. He left after making a deal w/ Coach Colin. Either create & style a Sports section or Carson turns him in for sleeping w/ a student. After that, Carson had one more victim left.

Carson tried to get a moment alone w/ Claire Matthews. It was hard due to the H.C.I.C. (Head Cheerleader In Charge) to be alone without her background group. He just decided to write her a little note at the bottom of her little flyer, something she wouldn't let others see! He found her after school practicing a cheer-amid in the quad. After subtly handing her the flyer, he couldn't resist authenticating a cheer. Two, four, six, eight . . . . heard you like to fornicate. The Queen Head Bitch In Charge was NOW Carson's bitch. He KNEW he had GOTTEN her! It was almost over. All he had to do now was enlist his demands from them. At least he now had their ATTENTION!

Carson has had ALOT of morality issues since he began this whole blackmailing scheme. Even Carson Phillips has a conscience. He may feel bad for doing it, but then there's the REALITY of it. You can only do something to someone for so long until they do it back. Carson feels he's cemented his fate of/for revenge or WORSE! Wherever he goes, Carson hopes to write for them. After the success of passing out flyers, Carson went to the teacher's lounge to make copies of a poster he made advertising the publication of the literary magazine. Although a sign was posted: NO STUDENT USE ALLOWED! It was intended for Carson, no one either noticed or gave a shit. He ripped off the notice and made his copies ANYWAY! While waiting for the copies to print, Carson heard a commotion from the supply room around the corner. After peeking in the window and in-between the shelves, there were student-teacher relations between Emilio w/ Ms. Hastings, the receptionist. He seen it become a STEAMY situation QUICK! After leaving and getting caught by Carson afterward AND being BUSTED for feigning an accent, Carson caught his attention. He immediately texted Malorie because he could use some help with this one. 10 minutes later, it was 2-against-1. Malorie had her camcorder aimed at him. He tried to use/pass his "accent" off as REAL, but Malorie KNEW he was BUSTED and she said so! He was from San Diego, NOT El Salvador. After he confessed the truth, even though he spoke NO Spanish and ONLY spoke the same 10 phrases since he arrived in town as an "exchange student", Carson and Malorie used it against him. Carson gave him his LAST yellow flyer. Now, they KNEW they HAD Emilio to contribute to the magazine.

The day the meeting began:Day 5, it was make or break IT time. Carson was afraid things wouldn't fall into plan. He had his work cut out for him. He HAD to persuade EVERYONE he had influence over while also convincing them he was heartless enough to expose them. ALL DAY at school, Carson felt nervously sick and his eyes were glued to the clock. After school was out, it was time to get to work. He had Malorie come for support, who seemed more nervous. After an hour later, NOT ONE blackmailed student came. A few minutes more, they were ALL trodden in. Vicki & Dwayne were FIRST w/ others to follow. After Coach Colin arrived, he was the ONLY one to notice the Clovergate board. "Emilio" was last to arrive. Then Carson laid it STRAIGHT on what happens now. Of course, came the objections. Carson opted for all of them to expose their private dirt w/ NO takers. After that, Carson cut to the chase of his mission and demands. Next came the whining. It was ALL OUT IN THE OPEN! As well as a submission from them, Carson wanted one from every football player and cheerleader. The objections grew louder. Just then, Carson's BIGGEST fear came when they realized he was outnumbered. After a few of them began to leave, Carson SNAPPED! He was TAKING CHARGE as boss/leader. His tone began to SCARE them. YELLING with EVERY OUNCE he had. If the student body wasn't going to believe him with the TRUTH of what he KNEW, Carson would MAKE THEM believe him. He had NOTHING to lose and a WHOLE HELL of ALOT to gain. All of the color drained from their faces.

Continuing his rant, Carson threw papers at them of what he EXPECTED from them as examples. Poetry, short stories, essays, scripts, novels, anything. After venting his FRUSTRATION, he kicked them out of the classroom. Carson, along w/ Malorie, COULD NOT believe what he just did. He even SCARED Malorie. When Carson returned to the Clovergate board, he ripped off all of the defaced pictures and was now accepting submissions for the magazine.

Carson envisioned himself in a dream of what life is/would be like in the future. He was in his 20s, in a tailored suit riding in a long elevator up to The New Yorker offices. It was the type of living and atmosphere shown at the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada. Carson felt like Meryl Streep's character, Miranda Priestly. The one everyone else feared. In the dream, Remy was his receptionist. Claire was petrified of him. His offices were as big as a small country. He had floor-to-ceiling windows w/ a breathtaking view of New York City. Malorie was Carson's publisher. He had a Best-Selling book: Clovergate:The Scandal That Started The Man. Carson HAD IT ALL! Then he woke up!

Claire & Colin got the messages out to their individual teams. They took to rushing their submissions just to get it done & over with. Carson didn't care if they were rushed, it still sent the same "inspiring" message to Northwestern. It was exactly what he needed. After school, he couldn't wait to tell his grandmother about it. When he arrived, Carson found out QUICK that his grandmother was in BAD shape that day. A day where she wasn't there, but her dementia WAS! Carson was kicked out of her room because she sadly DID NOT recognize her own grandson. Up until that point, Carson was on Cloud Nine! Nothing could've ruined his day. When he got home, he informed Sheryl of his day and what went on! The blackmail and his grandmother. Sheryl found out of what his plans were for Northwestern. Times change and Sheryl forgets how old her son ACTUALLY is.

ONLY Sheryl can frustrate Carson to NO END and make him feel sorry for her at the same time. When he found out Sheryl got the mail, he immediately went to it. He had nervous butterflies, but there was NOTHING for him. Carson spent the afternoon wondering if he should make a "miscellaneous" section in the literary magazine. While he is glad to be getting more submissions daily, some of their entries were NUTS! (Ex. - a dumbass teenage girl's entry STATES her obsession over a boy! 100% Daddy Issues. Whatever happened to a teenage girl having INDEPENDENCE in TODAY's society?) Sometimes for others to GET the POINT, you have to be ruthless, but it doesn't help when you're a prick naturally. Instead of being mean to get the point across, Carson gave one of the students WISE, SAGE advice: Create your name before the world does it for you.

Some of these submissions were outlandishly NUTS! But, w/ a short time frame, he couldn't afford to be picky. He had to put EVERYTHING together and send it off w/ a NEW application to Northwestern. Remy dropped off her submission later that day. Carson is trying to be as cordial as possible to the people he's victimized. It was a submission she ACTUALLY put work into. Carson & Remy were/are somewhat similar: They were both trying to achieve greatness. The difference was that Carson seen that the BEST was yet to come. With Remy, it was like this was the BEST she'll ever get! It made Carson wonder: How he will be remembered? What will the student body remember from their high school years? During a student council meeting, whatever topic came up, Carson had suggestions along w/ others. In a bitchy way, they took Carson's tips AUTOMATICALLY. Then it came out they were being pissy due to the blackmail and writing submissions. If we don't take/do Carson's idea's, we may have to write more in a "smile, nod and, agree tone".

After Carson was sitting at his computer in the journalism class, Dwayne came in OBVIOUSLY marijuana-infested. He handed in his essay that smelled of the product. he then rants on to Carson for "turning him around to see things." His statement was that "It was nice to write in school. How often do we get a chance to?" For every diluted comment coming from this kid, Carson had a smartass comment w/ some TRUTH behind it you knew he wouldn't get/see. After it was all said/done, the room smelled like Cheech & Chong. Carson HAD to get out of there. He was starving for an ice cream sandwich when he left. Just the aroma fed into him.

Carson had been TRYING to work w/ Malorie lately. She REALLY wants to contribute a publication to the magazine, but she's having trouble turning in an AUTHENTICALLY written piece by her! So after school, they go over her options in journalism class. Malorie wrote her story to add, turns out it was from the CLASSIC children's book: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. After being caught w/ that one, Malorie said she had another. It was the opening to Harry Potter. After they talked, Carson advised her on something that would help her come up w/ something ORIGINAL! If she listens to the advice given, Carson can help get it published. She jumped w/ excitement and headed home to get started! On the way to his car, Carson ran into Vicki and asked if she had a submission? Without meaning to, Carson seen that she cuts herself after seeing her make an impolite gesture in his direction. She immediately became self-conscious and covered herself up. Carson wanted to step up and help her, but didn't know how. But he tried w/ retaliation.

Carson had less than a week to get the magazine done & sent. He had been hauling ass to get ALL of the shit DONE! He had COMPLETELY forgotten it was Halloween until Nicholas & Scott came in to deliver their submissions. They were dressed as a '60s version of Batman & Robin. When handing in his submissions, Nicholas told Carson he had NO IDEA what Carson put him through this past week. He was so worked up about it. Now, all of the GUILT Carson has felt this ENTIRE time swept over him. Carson MEANINGFULLY apologized. While he may have his life together, Carson sees & couldn't imagine being in their shoes to keep something so quiet. EVERYTHING he put them through, Carson was REMORSEFULLY SORRY and gave them SUCH gratitude. He reiterated his promise to his secrecy. Nicholas & Scott conveyed to Carson what life is/would be like for them if they were out. Since he's straight, Carson Phillips wouldn't wish their shoes on anyone. It's HORRIBLE when you CAN'T be FREE to be who you are. After giving them some words of encouragement to think about, Carson seen it was almost 6:00P. It was time to go.

When Carson went to see his grandmother, they were all dressed up, which confused his grandmother. Without seeing it, she gave him a pure definition of her hatred for Halloween that Carson seen differently: "I don't like it when people wear masks." That was high school in a nutshell.

Carson was on HIGH-ALERT when it came time for mail arrival. He DID NOT want to MISS A MINUTE of an acceptance letter on the off-chance he was already accepted. He searched the mail trying to find a "diamond-in-the-rough". Every day a letter doesn't arrive, Carson feels it's more work to make the magazine shine. Thankfully, it's all coming together. Emilio (or whomever he is) slipped his submission under the Journalism door. Just a copied page from a word translator. Carson sees it that beggars can't be choosy, just take what you can get. On some level, at least it gives the magazine variety. As expected, Claire was the last person to submit something. Carson KNEW and expected what would happen. Claire snooped around to find out who already had submissions before turning in hers. After another
submission from another student, Carson made a small quip. Claire spoke to it that she thought Carson came off superior while others don't have a life plan. This was the best they'll get in life so they wanted to enjoy life before it all went to Hell.

Carson asked and wondered why? Why did Claire see that high school was the BEST part of life and not farther into a future? She didn't have an answer. He remembered her as a little girl w/ ambitious dreams and aspirations. What happened to her? Ridicule from her peers. Carson seen it otherwise different. Why can't she accomplish a dreamLaughing at a person's dream is one of the CRUELEST things you can do. Claire was silent. EVERYONE has to be something. Someone HAS to be a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Someone HAS to be a ballerina. Why not us? Claire couldn't face it and stormed out. Carson let her go. Hard work pays off in life's rewards. Once he gets Claire's submission done & typed, Carson's literary magazine will be OFFICIALLY COMPLETE!

When Carson started this journey to get this project done, he didn't know he would be immersed in drama/problems. He would have had stronger reservations. He was on a mission. He didn't know he would be a therapist to them. Carson began to see them ALL w/ a different light.

Carson continues to help Malorie with this whole "satire" thing. He was completely flabbergasted when he received an odd ringing on his phone. (Well, it has only rung twice since Carson got his cellphone.) The even more odd was who was calling. He took a mental step-back. It was his Dad. Carson answered tentatively. It was weird to hear his voice. Carson felt like the experience was as if he heard from a deceased family member communicating to him. He was informing Carson of the news that he was having another baby and the mother wanted to meet him/Carson. Making plans for him to join Neil and his date for dinner. He obviously had to think about it. Neil understood. Carson felt like he was in a fluster-cluck. What the hell just happened? as he hung up the phone. He relayed the news to Malorie while trying to mentally compute it himself. He didn't even know if he was even going to go. Even though Malorie offered her congratulations, Carson briefly told her a short backstory that said it all. Malorie unintentionally one-upped Carson on the deadbeat-dad situation. Now, Carson feels he HAS to go to dinner. How is Carson going to tell Sheryl?

Carson returns from dinner shortly before 12:00A. It was one of the most uncomfortable & awkward dinners to date. He rehearsed for an hour what/how he was going to break the news to Sheryl. Carson figured he was going to sneak out while she was watching The Dr. Phil Show. She wasn't. She was ALERT at 7:30P, watching a story of domestic violence on Lifetime. She was NOT in a GOOD state of mind to hear about this. She asked of his whereabouts. Carson told her the truth. It took Sheryl a few minutes to process the information. After he relayed the rest of the nights proceedings, she just told him to be home at a decent hour. Carson didn't want to leave her, but he was also glad to not be there for the night. He didn't want to witness how Sheryl was to handle it. It wouldn't've been pretty. Carson hated the night before it began. The location was in a nice part of town. Carson had NO IDEA what to expect.

Neil must've convinced his fiancee, April, that the suburbs were a good place to raise a kid. The housing environment and situation for the place was a-bit June Cleaver-esque. Carson was greeted by his dad. An awkward situation from the start. Everything in Neil's house was so clean and put together, it made Sheryl's residence look like something out of Hoarder's. Carson was taken aback at who his "stepmother-to-be" was. He thought she was/could be a trademark for the Walt Disney Company. After Carson seen her pregnant belly, he had a hard time taking his eyes off of it. Dinner was mostly quiet aside from small talk. He couldn't stop eating the amazing food. Neil was telling April misinformation in which Carson corrected. April was warmly impressed. With what Neil was spouting & saying, Carson caught on to the fact of what Neil was actually up to! Neil was pretending to be the dad he wasn't. Something other than what he was. Carson set him straight on what was TRUE! April's eyes fell into her plate. Carson couldn't stay and hear it anymore! He excused himself, apologized to April and thanked her for dinner. He got up, walked right past his dad, unable to look at him in the eye and left out the door. April got a sense of what her life would/will turn into. He did it to Carson & Sheryl. What makes you think he wouldn't do this to me or this baby? After he vastly got home, Carson found Sheryl passed out on the couch. She cried herself to sleep. Carson turned off the TV and covered his mom. Carson & Sheryl now had an understanding of what they've both been through. Now, they see it through each other's eyes.

The Clover High Literary Magazine is OFFICIALLY DONE! While it may be done, Carson won't feel it's complete until he has his acceptance letter. Copies were printed first thing on a Monday. He printed a copy at home to be sent to the Northwestern offices w/ a BRAND NEW application. There was a successful window in which to be sent & received. Carson felt like he sent ALL of his hopes and dreams into an envelope off to the admissions office. He made a copy of his work to keep and entered it all in this journal to remember the day he completed the impossible: November 3RD. Carson TELLS THE TRUTH exposing the wrongdoings in his editorials without naming names. Some staff members actions were exposed. The blackmailed students wrote a FICTIONALIZED portion of what TRULY happened in their OWN lives. Popularity comes at a PRICE. While someone sits on a pedestal, there is a HIGHER position to fall.

A few told of what the future holds for them. Some seen the now. Some seen LIFE starting in the FUTURE w/ a name in lights. Of course, came the stories that SPOKE w/ a personality of who wrote what other than just a name on a page. It CALLS of them. After the student body, Carson included, waited in the auditorium for NO REASON for an hour and the weekend of his parents, he was already in a mood. It was for a BULLSHIT meeting done out of vengeance w/ NO MEANING. A new school rule slated to begin the next semester said simply that NO individuality be shown. Other student council members did a pretty good job of hiding their frustrations, even though they were visibly upset. After no one said anything, Carson proceeded to flip out. How are students supposed to learn & grow with NO free will of self-expression? He wasn't afraid to speak and say what others were thinking, but not saying. He was calling out what NEEDED to be said, including those on a power trip. How do their decisions HELP aside from helping their own agendas? Others encouraged Carson to stop. They were ALL RED FACED embarrassed because they KNEW Carson was right. In retaliation for Carson speaking up, they decided to revoke ALL off-campus student privileges for the rest of the school year. Stating they had Carson to thank for it. Another incident of using Carson as a pawn to show off their authority.

The student council was HURT by Carson's actions. Remy was close to tears. ALL Carson was trying to do was speak-up for those who weren't. Claire was on immediate mode for damage control. Claire came down on Carson. He couldn't believe it. He was being hated for standing up for them. He then let them in on REAL WORLD LIFE REALITY!! High school ends. When it all does, hopefully, they all weren't the walking cliches everyone pegged them to be! If they were, life will walk ALL OVER them and bite them ALL in the ass. Carson then grabbed his things ans stormed out of there as fast as he could. He was sick to his stomach. From this team, his parents, the ENTIRE town, Carson was FED UP! He went to his grandmother's and had a bit of a breakdown.

Carson's grandmother may not have had much interest. He didn't care. He just NEEDED to vent to SOMEONE. You can only hold something in for SO LONG, before you EVENTUALLY let it out. Even w/ Alzheimer's she always had a way of making Carson feel better. Helping her teary-eyed grandson and not even knowing it.

The magazine has only been on sale a month and sold only one copy. Just for it to be bought and shredded in front of him. The entire town has been giving Carson dirty looks somewhat hateful. Carson hasn't heard a thing back from Northwestern which is making him NERVOUS. In 48 hours, Carson would know if he was accepted early. At least, he has that to look forward to! He hasn't really bothered doing anything w/ The Chronicle. He has just reprinted old issues from September. He just hasn't been in the mood to write. NOTHING is reported for months. There was never an early acceptance letter, but no rejection early. Hopefully the literary magazine did the trick.

Carson was in English when he was called into the guidance counselor's office for more news. It couldn't have been good news for someone ALREADY nervous. He couldn't even sit down. The news was that Northwestern wouldn't let him re-submit an application w/ his literary magazine due to a confirmation deadline. He wasn't accepted due to missing the confirmation deadline, but he would've been accepted otherwise! Carson swore it HAD to be a mailing mistake. There was NOTHING that could be done. He was so set on going to Northwestern. Carson didn't have a second choice. He never planned to fail. Carson felt he was mourning his future. The next option was Clover Community College.

Community College felt like salt added to the wound. Carson couldn't see past it. All he seen was being STUCK in Clover. The guidance counselor offered other sources. What she was saying failed, as Carson couldn't hear or face it. He was distracted by a postcard of the ocean on her desk. It was so peaceful. He began to think of what he would NEVER see of the world. After he got up and left her office, he just walked around campus for HOURS thinking! Northwestern had ALWAYS been THE PLAN. There was NEVER a second. The way it happened w/ being accepted then denied was the worst part. What was Carson going to do w/ his life now? After feeling his cellphone buzz in his pocket, Carson had several voice mails from Sheryl. His grandmother had fallen. Sheryl didn't know how to handle it on her own. Carson thinks that MAYBE that was his life's destiny. The whole purpose of his existence was to take care of his mom and grandmother.

Carson got there as quick as he could. His grandmother was asleep w/ a badly bruised forearm. Sheryl anxiously awaited her son's arrival. His grandmother woke up slowly a minute or 2 later. For a split second, you could swear she recognized her grandson. After she was distracted by her injuries, the connection was lost. After asking what happened and Carson informed her, he was certain she KNEW who he was. It was the closest she's been to being lucid in years. When nursing care came in, Carson went outside and met w/ his mom. She was a bit overwhelmed by the experience. Carson wouldn't see the overwhelming part. Either it was that her mom fell or that Sheryl dressed and left the house. Sheryl couldn't see something was wrong w/ Carson. He was hesitant to tell her at first about his day. He was still hoping this was a mistake.

With a HEAVY heart, Carson told his mom the news. Come to find out, Sheryl had thrown the letter away before Carson had/got a chance to see it. EVERYTHING in the day was one pile-up after another. He couldn't believe what Sheryl confessed to him. Her reason was that she wanted to "protect her son". She thought he would get hurt the way she did in life. Sheryl felt he would suffer the same fate she did. He couldn't believe his own mother did this to him. He left due to not being able to be around her anymore. He seen Sheryl as an example of what he DOESN'T want to become! After that, he got in his car and just drove. He passed the Clover City Limit sign on the outskirts of town. He unleashed & vented his anger and frustration at the sign. He beat that until there was NOTHING left in him. After that, he drove until there was no road left. He found himself at the ocean. He parked his car, sat on the hood and just took it in.

Even though Sheryl tries to apologize, Carson can't stand to see/hear her. He then went to the guidance counselor's office and filled out a community college application. Ironically, they have had cloudy bad weather all week. Although he's been depressed, he did develop a new perspective on things.

It has been kind of cloudy outdoors all week, somewhat similar to Carson's state-of-mind. With life kicking at/on him, Carson has every right to be depressed and miserable. A new perspective came after Malorie and Carson packed up the rest of the unsold issues and copies of the magazine. They were going to be packed and sent to Carson's grandmother's elderly home. At least, something will be done with them. Carson told Malorie that he would hopefully get to see her next year around Clover Community College campus. Maybe they could be adventurous and start a literary magazine there. Malorie smiled at the idea, but the thought really saddened Carson. Was there more to look forward to aside from that? Was that all there is?

It was becoming somewhat late. Malorie began packing up her things, including her camcorder. Carson finally asked her why does she film everything? Her answer was unintentionally inquisitive w/ a food-for-thought aspect. What isn't worth remembering? With good memories come bad ones. Malorie's had ALOT of both. At least this way, she can fast forward through all the bad. She did have a good point. Carson pointed out to her that she just found her niche for something to write about. Her face glowed and lit up with excitement. The thought of her writing her first original story gave her the biggest smile. Malorie had to leave soon to catch the bus. After this year they just went through, it occurred to both of them that Carson and Malorie were/are best friends. It doesn't HIT or make you see until the end of the experience. Malorie flashed Carson a sign that made him laugh. Something he hasn't done in/for days.

Carson KNEW Malorie had a rough life, but he NEVER ONCE asked her about it. At least, Carson will now have a friend to be with during his stay in Clover. He thought he could be the friend to her that she's been to him. He spent so much time trying to get others to hear. He never thought to listen. Before he packed up all of the unused residual copies of the magazine to be sent to the nursing home, Carson picked up a copy and flipped through the pages. For the first time since its completion, Carson felt a strong sense of pride at seeing the work of his peers in his hands KNOWING he inspired it. It brought him back to realize what he actually DID accomplish.

Carson Phillips successfully published a literary magazine filled w/ the thoughts, concerns, hopes & dreams of his jaded peers. If he could do that . . . . It made Carson think of the POSSIBLE! Inspiring Carson to type and add one more story to the magazine. He printed and added the new story to the front of every copy of the collected literature. It also served as a dedication of sorts to his grandmother. After seeing & reading what he wrote, it gave him a strange feeling: a sense of being GENUINELY HAPPY!

Carson LEARNED a lesson that took him a lifetime to learn: DON'T ALLOW OTHERS TO BLOCK YOUR SHINE! He refused to allow anyone bring him to a point where he could NOT turn a negative into a positive. He will NOT allow anyone make him feel in a way he DOESN'T want or be robbed of an expression that is HIM! The only part that blows is the year he has to wait in Clover before Northwestern eligibility. The upside is the entering of a brand-new campus w/ nothing to lose! At least it gives him the editorials he will need the next time he applies. Even if his life dreams/aspirations don't come to life, thank God FOR THEM. A life without a drive, dream or focus is NOT living. After he realized that, Carson came to the GREATEST FACT in his life. Life, like a great idea, comes at you fast. Hitting you somewhat similar to lightning. Carson begins to head home before it rains, feeling somewhat good/okay with detour made in his life to the dream.

Next thing you know . . . . .




In 2013, a film was made based on this book starring (its author) Chris Colfer, Rebel Wilson, Allison Janney, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Hyland & Christina Hendricks