An Excerpt from my Actual Middle School Diary

When I’m not writing, I spend a lot of time reading about writing. 

One book suggested this exercise to get your juices flowing: 

Write everything you can remember about your life…

So, I began at the beginning. 

I typed…

and typed…

and typed…

Three days and 25,000 words later, I paused to read what I had written.

What I discovered was that a huge chunk of what I remembered had happened during my middle school years. For me, middle school was both traumatic and exciting, which is probably why even now, nearly 25 years later, those memories are still so vivid and clear. 

I became inspired…

I ransacked my trunk of old diaries until I found the one I was searching for: an emerald green hardcover with a lock on the side. 

Then I spent the next half hour trying to remember where my younger self would had hidden the key. 

At last, I found it. I inserted the sliver of metal, turned to the left, and popped open the latch. 

I had unlocked a time machine—a portal to my past. 

And Oh! The drama.

My entries made for perfect inspiration.

After a few laughs, I jotted down some notes and started planning a story that was forming in my mind. 

My One-Year Diary
*Page 1
*Page 2
*Page 3

*Names have been blackened to protect actual people (including myself) from unintentional embarrassment and humiliation. 

I got this diary from my Aunt Kim for one of my single-digit birthdays. I remember that she hid all of my presents and had me find them via a scavenger hunt! (So cool.) 

It was only a one-year diary, but I ended up using it for many more years…because it was the only diary I owned with a lock on it!

When I came to a date that had already been filled, I put a white sticker over the page and wrote my “better” entry on top. (I actually regret doing this because I would have liked to see what I had written when I was younger.)

Hope you enjoy! 

Chapter 1

What they tell you about puberty is that it happens to everyone. What they don’t tell you is there’s a ten percent chance you might turn out different from everyone else. I had to find that out from Nancy Swanson, MD, and she’s practically a stranger. 

Besides Doctor Swanson, nobody else on planet Earth knows about my “abnormality.” Not even my mom. 

Which is probably why she didn’t think it would be a big deal when she decided to casually announce that in middle school, after gym class, you have to take showers. 

Community showers, with no stalls or curtains or anything. 

Mom says it’s mandatory—that all the kids have to do it—that I should remember to bring my flip-flops and soap case and towel. 

Luckily, she only waited until THE DAY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED to tell me. Which, according to the kitchen clock, gives me about negative nineteen hours to mentally prepare. 

But you know what? That’s only the second problem I’ve had to deal with today. 

The first? 

Julie Pastroni. 

And the fact that she wasn’t coming with me to sixth grade. 

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Want to find out more about Jinni and her story? Read the synopsis here.

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