Monday, October 10, 2011

Revenge is a dish best served with corn nuts

Let’s face it, high school is hell. Continuing on the topic of how inspiration from our youth still shapes the fiction we write today, I’m going to talk about payback.

My high school experience was less than ideal. Some jerkwad in a letterman’s jacket nicknamed me Mega Moo and it stuck. I used to come home from school and tearfully dream up ways to get back at kids who made my life hell for three years. One of the things I love about the movie HEATHERS (besides the awesome one-liners) is their exploitation of high school revenge. Come on, haven’t we all thought it?

The beauty of being an author is I can take my retribution in a socially sanctioned, hugely satisfying way. I get to create worlds where the outcasts rise above, and the petty populars get what they deserve. And while my protagonists are largely fiction, all of the less-than-nice characters that torment them are very personal. That’s right people, I’ve been keeping a list.

THE LIST
·         The jock in high school that called me Mega Moo

·         The mean girls who invited me to their sixth grade slumber party so they could torture me with pranks all night.

·         The pity date my HS BFF’s BF brought along for me, who referred to me as ugly.

·         The boy in college who called me to “confess” his feelings while his whole dorm floor listened in on the joke via speakerphone.

·         College boy’s evil roommate who called me pretending to be suicidal while his whole dorm floor listened in on the joke via speakerphone. (Yes this prank went on for a while in various forms.)

·         The biotch manager who made my life a living hell all the while acting like her doo doo didn’t stink.

·         Biotch manager number two (what is it with women managers?)

·         The instructor who belittled me in front of a room full of people.

·         Recent additions that may or may not be related to the writing industry.


I’m not attempting a complete character assassination. I don’t want to be sued or blackballed. And it’s not necessary. A trait or mannerism, a name, a description—like voodoo I incorporate an element of the person who’s wronged me into the character. It symbolic and cathartic.


For me, reading DEAR BULLY has reinforced how we tend to carry our tormentors around with us and the importance of letting go. With the release of THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN I’ve been able to cross a couple of people off my list. Some may call it revenge, but I call it therapy.

Corn nuts, anyone?

Now it's your turn: How do you let go of those who've tormented you?

Carey Corp lives in the greater Cincinnati area with her loveable yet out-of-control family. She wrote her first book, a brilliant retelling of Star Wars, at the prodigious age of seven. Since then, her love affair of reinvention has continued to run amuck. Writing both literary fiction and stories for young adults, she begins each morning consuming copious amounts of coffee while weaving stories that capture her exhaustive imagination. She harbors a voracious passion (in no constant order) for mohawks, Italy, musical theater, chocolate, and Jane Austen.

Carey’s debut novel for teens, The Halo Chronicles: The Guardian, was a 2010 RWA Golden Heart finalist for best young adult fiction. It is available in print and eBook. She blogs, tweets, and “friends.”
For more information, visit her at careycorp.com.

23 comments:

Tonya Kappes said...

Oh, no that list is awful!! I couldn't imagine having friends or saying those things to anyone. But I love that being a writer is the best form of revenge;)

Mama Caucajewmexdian said...

I was 5' 9" at age 12. And I had long, dark hair--and lots of other dark hair in places it was not quite so beautiful. So I understand your pain.

I exorcised it by becoming a substitute teacher. One day I realized that all those students were way younger than me and nothing they said stung any more. I developed a brisk, firm, friendly style and resorted to threats like, "Do this or I'll sing!" that were powerful and enforceable. All those resentments sort of seeped away . . .

But I love that I might be able to tape into them in a killer scene some day!

Mama Caucajewmexdian said...

that was "tap into them" . . .

PJ Sharon said...

I'm afraid I can't relate to that awful list. I was generally accepted and liked in school. I was that friendly kid who got along with everyone and also the one who dealt with insult immediately.

Once I knocked the biggest fourth grade bully on his ass, I pretty much became a hero and known as someone who didn't put up with crap for the duration of my school life. I prefer instant gratification to revenge:-)

Renee Pace said...

How about getting dumped and then getting back together again only to dump him when the promise ring was on your finger - lol - yeah, now that's revenge.

Off Leash - a boy, a dog and a complicated friendship force a teen to make difficult life choices -
Off Leash:Hollywood Ending (Nitty Gritty series) | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S4G65Q
Off Leash: Nitty Gritty Ending (Nitty Gritty series) | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S34JO2

Anonymous said...

Aw, kids can be so mean. I got off pretty easily during my last few years of high school, but I was tormented during junior high and my freshman year. Looking back, I'm so grateful my dad was transferred overseas when I turned sixteen. It gave me a fresh start with a new group of kids who didn't know my embarrassing nicknames!

Anonymous said...

By the way, this is Melissa. Stupid Blogger is acting up today...AGAIN! ::shakes fist at google::

Lea Nolan said...

*Jaw still hanging open in horror* Holy torture chamber, batman! Some of those stories are heinous! I bet if you pitched half of those vignettes to a agent/editor, they say the bullies were too over-the-top, too mean to be believed. But clearly they'd be wrong. There's a special place in hell for ass hats like that, and it's between the pages of a best seller! Your best seller, which is just around the corner! :)

Carey_Corp said...

@Tonya Kappes I agree! Being a writer is a wonderful form of revenge.

@Mama Caucajewmexdian I can really relate. In sixth grade I towered over most of the kids. I’m so glad you were able to let go. What a wonderful position as a substitute to impact kids. I saw The Help this weekend and loved it (loved the book, too). We just don’t tell children enough that they’re kind, smart and important.

@PJ Sharon Wow! I wish we’d been friends in elementary school. As a result of my experiences, I’m trying to teach my kids to stand up for themselves and for other kids who might not be able to do the same. Congrats on your recent release.

@ Renee Pace Ha! That is some great revenge. Thanks for sharing. And congrats on your recent release.

@Lea Nolan LOL! I certainly have a special place for those ass hats. ;)

Carey_Corp said...

Hey folks - I'm hearing that some people are having trouble leaving a comment. We're trying to exorcise the Blogger gremlins.

Jennifer said...

omg, Carey! (((hugs))) Don't you just love that you're having your revenge on these people right now? Living happily ever after with Fab Guy and Great Kids and amazing life??? I know, that doesn't count for anything when you're going through the hells of high school. But oh, yeah, fiction can be the ultimate revenge. Wield your weapon well!

Jessica Lemmon said...

I'm so sorry! That list seems better suited to several ppl, not just one! *hugs* I remember a few bullying instances that happened to me in HS, but after I went to a vocational schl, smaller & not cliquey, I was the proverbial big fish in the small pond and found my voice. Thank God for that experience in my Jr & Sr year, or I may well still be writing my list!

Michele said...

Glad you are getting a satisfying, but non-lethal, revenge! I didn't get bullied but I tried to go to the rescue of the kids who were getting bullied. My mom always told me to think how I would feel if it were me. So I made friends with those kids and stood up for them.
The only time I was bullied was by a teacher. I cried a lot thinking it was my problem. Years later, at a high school reunion, I found out I wasn't his only victim and that made me feel a lot better!

Duffy Brown said...

High school was living hell for my middle daughter to the point where she was cutting herself. Had I known then what I know now I would have yanked her out of school. But I didn't. She did survive...very well. Today she is a designer for the SyFy channel at 30 Rock in NYC. I think she was hell-bent on being a success, and she is! The best revenge is living well. I always told my kids if you can live through high school you can live through anything.

Lorie Langdon said...

Carey, as one of the people who knows your generous heart and caring spirit, this makes me want to punch someone! Seriously.
As you know, the character Stephanie Heartford—a.k.a. Strippy, in our co-written project Doon, is a combination of a cheerleader who went out of her way to make my life hell my senior year and a boss I had a few years back. That woman was such a monster, I walked off the job without notice. (Not something I would recommend, but necessary in this case.) Maybe I need to order that t-shirt! ;-)

Jenn Stark said...

Carey, your list makes me so sad. As challenging as it was to go through school with 35 kids in my ENTIRE GRADE from grade 1 through sophomore year, it certainly allowed me to avoid this kind of heinousness. Kudos to you for finding joy, love and success--I expect not many of those people you cite in your list can say the same!! Monster hugs.

Carey_Corp said...

@ Jen - I like that “fiction is the ultimate revenge.” And you are right, I have a gorgeous, younger husband and two fantastic kids. I am blessed.

@ Jessica – I’m so glad you had such a positive experience. As a teen, those experiences are so important. Thanks for sharing.

@ Michele - Your comment is so timely. I’m having an offline discussion with someone from high school and finding out I wasn’t Jock Jerkwad’s only victim. *duh* It makes total sense, but as an egocentric teen I didn’t think about his other victims. And you are right, it does make me feel strangely better. And yay for standing up to the bullies! Sounds like your mom gave you wonderful guidance. We need to teach out children to do this.

@ Duffy – I am so glad your daughter is getting her ultimate revenge – living happy and successful. Heck, I’m jealous of her job. ;) As a mom, one of the scariest things for me is the thought that my kids are keeping important information to themselves.

@ Lorie Langdon – Ahhh “Strippy.” How I’ve loved exploiting her for your sake. Now you get to cross some people of your list!

@ Jenn - I'm so glad you didn't have to go through my high school heinousness. You've given me another reason to be thankful my kids are at a small school. My graduating class was around 700 - so huge.

Melissa Landers said...

testing

Kimberly said...

Carey,
I'm so sorry that the people in your past had such bad taste! I actually feel sorry for them that they missed out on the potential for such great friendship. Their loss, and your gain. The fact that you use that pain and rejection and can make it come alive again is truly a gain for you. What great therapy! And free, too!!
I remember once writing a short story that I knew would be read aloud in order to bring about some kind of justice if not in my life then in my writing. I used my writing, and I'm not real sorry for it. The characters in the short story knew they were them--as they were meant to. Not real sure they cared. But I felt somehow vindicated. LOL. That's all that matters in the long run. :-)
I remember Meg Cabot talking about how she wrote a villain from her childhood into a book and forgot to change the name in the end. So hilarious when she got a letter from the girl and was prepared to have a lawsuit filed. :-)
Keep up with your therapy. It's clearly working. :-)

Melissa Landers said...

It worked! Finally, I can post!

Okay, what I've been trying to say all freaking day long is that kids can be vicious. I got off pretty easily my last few years of high school, but I was tormented in junior high and off and on during freshman year. Basically, before I grew big boobs. I'm so grateful for the overseas transfer that took my family from Dade County, Florida, to Munich, Germany at sixteen...for a fresh start and a brand new group of kids who didn't know my embarrassing nickname.

Lynda Bailey said...

Great post, Carey!
In HS, I was an "in-betweener." Not part of the cool crowd, but not shunned either. I think it's because I was seriously into acting and speech contests. Once the kids saw what I was willing to do in public, picking on me probably lost its appeal.
Just started THE GUARDIAN and am loving it!

Jennette Marie Powell said...

As a sensitive art nerd, I can sadly relate to your post, although some of your experience was over the top of what I put up with. {{hugs}} I'll admit, that was part of the draw of The Guardian, to see the "weird" girl get the cutest guy and triumph over the jerks like Kendra and her snotty friend (sorry, can't remember the other one's name). Thanks for sharing!

Carey_Corp said...

@ Kim - I heard Meg talk about her revenge, too. She's my hero!

@ Melissa - I'm so glad you got to leave your nickname behind.

@ Lynda - Yay for your brave teen self. And for being a drama geek. I hope you enjoy the rest of The Guardian. Thank you so much for reading.:)

@ Jennette - I'm glad you related to Alex. I had fun helping her win against the pretty cheerleaders. Kendra's snotty sidekick friend was Naomi and yes, they were both on my list. ;)