This is Cynthia’s opening monologue in Simply Average, the third book in a teen fiction series. I am starting the book in June, but this exercise helped me to create the voice ahead of schedule. Thanks, Greg!]
I am an only child. But I’ve been a disappointment to my parents since before I was born. I caused preeclampsia in the womb and showed up five weeks early, wrinkled and tiny, fighting for a will to live. Apparently, I caused more problems during labor, making me the only offspring of two overachieving type-A soulmates. At seven, the doctors gave me the diagnosis of dyslexia. I got the asthma label at nine. And by thirteen, I had developed a propensity for pimples—the only sign of puberty in an otherwise underdeveloped body.
While my friends emerged with labels, like smart, athletic, beautiful, I was, and probably always will be, label free. I am simply average.
Today is the first day of school. Many kids see the possibilities—like popularity, better grades, or making the team. But I see it as my last year until freedom.
At school, I live under the microscope. My father is the principal; my mother is the superintendent; and every teacher treats me like a year-long teacher evaluation. I don’t get “special” treatment; I get constant treatment.
My only escape is at home. Most kids feel pressure at home. I don’t. My parents are never there.
I cross the threshold of Central High, glance up at the clock, and think, just eight more hours to go.
Today’s challenge: Let us hear your voice.
Write in a distinct voice. Write a poem, a prayer, an essay, a rant, a narrative or a conversation – but when you are done, you should know and we should know that the voice we hear is unique.