Vinnie’s World Returns November 26th

What will the loveable 8 year old Vinnie do during the week preceeding Christmas? It all begins on Monday, November 26th.

Ernest Hemingway’s Tip for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Overcoming Writer’s Block – Ernest Hemingway (From A Moveable Feast)

Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written

Vinnie’s World ~ Vinnie Can’t Help But Being Cool

11

My Gramps was telling Mom one time somethings stay with you all your life. I think this is one of those things. I knew it was all over as soon as Dr. Crossman sent Billy into the office. Billy was going to crack faster than an egg when my mom makes my dad his Sunday omelet. When Billy walked into the office, I thought I could hear him crying. The door closed behind Billy. Dr. Crossman stayed in the hallway staring at my beautiful drawing. I had to think fast. Since I am too smart for my own good, my mind traveled faster than the rocket roller coaster at the amusement park.

 I figured the office secretary probably put handcuffs on Billy and was threatening to call the police. Strangely, Dr. Crossman was still studying the drawing. She flips it over, probably looking for a clue as to who drew it. I wonder if she wants me to sign it. It might be famous one day. She can take it on the Antiques Road Show and have it appraised. It is a genuine Vinnie.

I decide it’s time to make my get away. I take a deep breath and walk past her. As I’m walking past her I I say, “I hope you had a nice day, Dr. Crossman. If no one told you, you look very nice.” Some day I’ll learn to keep quiet and not try to be so cool. 

Dr. Crossman glances up from the drawing. She says, “Vincent, you’re William’s best friend if I’m not mistaken.”

I answer, “Oh, he has lots of friends. I wouldn’t say I’m his best friend. I’m Rupert’s best friend. Rupert is home schooled.”

Dr. Crossman points a finger at me, “You know what I mean. In my office, Vincent.”

I’ll spare you the details. Billy cried and cried. It was pathetic. He didn’t even hold out for one minute. He said I drew the picture and showed it to him and asked him if wanted to drop it by the office door. I knew if I told Dr. Crossman the truth, she wouldn’t believe me. So I didn’t tell her Billy wanted to drop the drawing. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Dr. Crossman said, “I’m going to call your mother, Vincent.”

I said, “She’s having a conference with Mrs. Navis. You probably don’t want to bother her.”

Dr. Crossman left Billy and me in her office. She kept her door open and told the secretary Olga Patterson to check on us. Ms. Patterson looks like she could play football for the Patriots. Nobody messes with her. She really runs the school. Twenty minutes later, although it seemed like two hours, Dr. Crossman, Mrs. Navis, and Mom come into the principal’s office. Dr. Crossman tells Billy to go home. She tells him she is going to email his mother. Billy starts crying again. 

I don’t want to go into the gory details. How would you feel if you were eight years old and you had three old adults taking turns picking on you? Here’s a sample of what went on. Doctor Cross sits behind her desk. I sit in a chair in front of her desk. Mom sits in a chair to my right and Mrs. Navis sits in a chair to my left. I am surrounded with no chance for escape.

Dr. Crossman has my drawing on her desk. She is staring at it. I almost start laughing. I bite the inside of my cheeks to stop from laughing. Doctor Crossman looks at me and says, “Vincent, blah, blah, blah and blah.”

Mom and Mrs. Navis nod their heads. They agree with every blah, blah, and blah Dr. Crossman said.

Mrs. Navis takes her turn. She turns to Mom, “Vincent is too smart. He blah, blah and blahs and blahs.”

Mom agrees with Mrs. Navis and Dr. Crossman and blah blah and blahs back to them. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. I keep nodding my head, saying I’m sorry, and promising to try harder. I sit on my hands so they couldn’t see I was keeping my fingers crossed. I’m hoping by the time I get home, Mom will calm down enough to be reasonable. When everyone is finished working me over, Mom marches me out to the car. I get in the passenger side and buckle my seat belt. I didn’t want to take any chances she might be tempted to toss me out the door.

When Mom gets in the car, she buckles her seat belt and turns to me, “Not one word. Not one single word.”

I let her start the car and pull out of the school parking lot. Then she starts up, again. “Vincent. You failed your math test. You made fun of Dr. Crossman. When Dad comes home the three of us are going to have a very serious talk about school.”

I didn’t want to get ground up again. I say, “Mom, Dad works so hard every day. Don’t ruin his day. I’m sorry. I promise to study harder. I will get a hundred on the next math test.”

Mom says, “You’ll do better than that. There is no tablet, no Playstation, no playtime with Joey when you come home until I see lots of improvement. And, I want a promise, no more drawing of Doctor Crossman or any other teacher. Do I hear a promise and no fingers crossed. Don’t think I didn’t notice you sitting on your hands in Doctor Crossman’s office. I knew what you were doing.”

“I promise, Mom,” I said. I showed her my uncrossed fingers, but I crossed my toes at the same time. You might wonder what lessons I learned from all of this. I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s too bad parents don’t remember how boring school was when they went to school. I’m in third grade. I have nine more years of school. Then it’s four years of college. Mom and Dad are already talking about graduate schools for me. I can’t wrap my head around it. All I want to do is ride my skateboard, play football and basketball with my friends, and play Mind Craft on my tablet. 

As for Billy, he’s still my friend. I’m not mad at him. If Doctor Crossman hadn’t come out of the office right after Billy dropped my drawing, it would have worked. I’ll think of something else, but it will have to wait until everyone forgets about today. 

As for today, I’ll go home, do all my math homework and study my spelling words. I’ll try a lot harder. When you’re getting all A’s parents forget about the other stuff. I know Mom will be watching me and she’ll check every answer. She’s really a nice Mom. I’ll ask her if I can go to Joey’s after I finish. I think she’ll say yes. I’m lucky to have Mom and Dad.

Vinnie’s World ~ Vinnie Doesn’t Take His Mom’s Advice

10

Most everybody likes me. Mom tells me one day I might be President. I think the best thing about being President is that you can fly in helicopters and tell the pilot where to go. I have lots of friends. Billy is one of my friends. He likes to hang out with me. Mom told me Billy looks up to me. I don’t know what she means, we’re the same size. 

When I caught up to Billy, he says, “Wuz up?”

I pull him aside and turn him toward the wall lockers. I whisper, “Promise me, Billy. If I show you something you swear you will not tell anyone.”

“I promise, what is it, Vinnie?” asks Billy. He was so excited like I was going to give away a something top secret. It this case, it was top secret.

Mom’s always telling me to think before I act. She says if I think before I act, I’ll stay out of trouble. She told me more than one, “Vincent, one day you will listen to your Mom.”

This wasn’t one of those days. I didn’t follow Mom’s advice. I made two big mistakes. The first mistake was deciding to show my drawing to Billy. The second mistake was I forgot to make him promise on the life of his Mom’s toy poodle. If he broke the promise, his Mom’s toy poodle would die and he would have fourteen years of bad luck.

I open my homework folder far enough to show Billy my drawing of Dr. Crossman. Billy says, “Is that a horse?”

I say, “Sort of. Read the name above the horse.”

Billy smiles really, really big. He says, “That’s so cool. It really looks like her. She is so ugly. What are you going to do with it?” 

I answer, “When I walk by her office I’m going to drop it on the floor. By the time anybody finds it, I’ll be home.”

“Can I do it? Please let me drop it. I never did anything like this before, Vinnie. Please let me,” begged Billy.

I like Billy. He never argues with me. He always wants to be on my team when the guys on the street play football or basketball. He’s not any good, but I always pick him. I say, “Sure. Be careful. You can’t let anyone see you drop it. As soon as you drop it, don’t turn around, go out the door. We’ll talk on the playground.”

Before I take the drawing out of my homework folder, I look around. Most of the kids are out of the building. Who wants to hang around school, right? The corridor is clear, I pull out the drawing and hand it to Billy. Billy holds it up for a second and says, “I wish I could draw as good as you. I bet you will be famous someday.”

I smile. I didn’t want to say I agreed with him, because that would be bragging, but he’s right, I’ll be famous some day. 

I warn Billy, “Walk slowly, Billy. Let the drawing slip out of your hand as you pass the door. Keep on walking. Don’t turn around for nothing, promise.”

“I promise. Cross my heart,” said Billy. He was always superstitious about saying the last part, ‘hope to die.’

Dr. Crossman’s office is about twenty feet away from where we were standing. I stay where I am. I want to see who picks up the drawing after Billy drops it. Billy walks down the hallway. He’s active very cool, for Billy. I don’t know why, but he is smiling like he is the happiest kid in the world. He puts the drawing in his right hand, the hand closest to the office door, and swings his arms as he gets closer to the door. He is doing as good a job as I would have done. As he walks past the office door, he lets go of the paper and keeps walking. I watch the paper float to the ground and skid right in front of the office door. Perfect landing.  

Unluckily, at that moment, Dr. Crossman comes out of the office. She sees the paper on the floor. The drawing is facing the floor. That is a good thing. She looks down the hall at me and I wave at her. She waves at me. She looks up the hall and sees Billy.

Dr. Crossman calls, “Billy. Billy, did you drop a homework paper?”

Billy turns around and I think he is going to have a heart attack. He should say no and keep on walking. But, Billy is Billy.

Billy says, “I’ll get it, Dr. Crossman.” His voice squeaks like a clarinet with a bad reed. I know this sound, because Mom makes me take clarinet lessons. I want to take drum lessons, but she says no. 

Dr. Crossman bends over and picks up the paper. She smiles at Billy as she hands him the paper. My drawing is facing her. She sees and pulls the paper away from Billy. From twenty feet away, I can see red blotches on her face. “William Johnson, in my office,” says Dr. Crossman pointing to the office door.

The last words I hear Billy saying are, “I didn’t draw it. I was forced to drop it in front of your door.”

 

How Will Vinne’s World End? Read Tomorrow’s Episode.