How did I get into this mess?
Well, you see, it's not my fault. Here I am, sitting in a courtroom in Juvy, and for what? Even if I was mad as heck, I never could have cut down that great big tree. It's still standing, isn't it? It was just a joke, see? I was letting off some steam. Anyway, it's my dad's fault.
How did I know my dad would go off the deep end when my mom died: It's her fault really for leaving us! He never would have started drinking so much if she hadn't died. And he wouldn't have beat on me and lost his job and used all his money for whisky, or whatever. . . . I miss Mom, too.
I can't understand why Mr. Ark busted in here and offered to take me home with him. He says he wants me to be a part of a real family; Mrs. Ark doesn't want me to be caught up in the "system." He says I can even play with the dog if I want. Yeah, sure. He probably wants to wallop me for cutting his ole tree. Even if the judge does say he's a nice man. Oh, I get it. The judge says I have to mend the tree. Does Mr. Ark think he can mend me? But my heart broke when Mom died. I don't think I can be mended.
If Mom's looking down, she knows. She knows why I'm sad and unhappy. I'll have to admit the truth or she'll never love me again. I was lonely and angry. And jealous of Nelson Ark's bike and game systems, and other stuff. I was ashamed of wearing hand-me-downs. So I did it. It was my decision. Yeah, I'm the only one to blame.
You can read all about the mess I got myself into in WOUNDS (coming out in September from MuseItUp Young).
But, hey--I'm not going to take the whole rap. I wouldn't even be here if it weren't for Barbara Bockman. See what she has to say for herself.
Thank you, Craig, for allowing me to speak. I needed you as my Main Character because I write for children and teens. I needed a big strapping fella who could wield a chain saw, not a puny girl. (I hope you don't think I'm buttering you up). Although, there are a couple of cute girls in there to keep you company--you and your friend, Nelson. Now don't say Nelson isn't your friend. You might have been jealous of him, but he did take you into his group and also let his dog be your companion.
You want to know why I created you in the first place, don't you? You feel put upon because I gave you all those problems. I will tell you how it all started. When I read in the paper about someone trying to cut down the giant, 500-year-old oak, I was appalled. Many other people were, too. My husband and I were among the hundreds of people who visited the tree and left some money in the donation box. When we saw the wound in the bark of the tree, we couldn't understand why anyone would injure a beautiful thing, such as the tree was. It didn't make sense; there was no logic to it. There must have been an irrational motive behind it. My writer's curiosity was aroused. I decided to make my own reasons.
My boy would need strong motivation to do a bad thing such as attempt to cut down a neighbor's tree. That's why I killed off your mother and turned your dad into an alcoholic. I isolated you from your friends, your teachers, and your dad. I gave you no other relatives. I showed you the kids in the "system" who were never going to be able to drag themselves out of the mire. But I knew you weren't really a bad person. I gave you strength and friends to help bring you back from the depths you fell into. I'm proud of the way you've been trying to mend the tree. But there's also the people problem. You made one wrong decision. Now, let's see if you can make a right one. It's up to you to get yourself out of the mess you (and I) got yourself into.
Your Friend and Creator,