OCD, the Dude, and Me - By Lauren Roedy Vaughn


First Day of School: Senior year

I should be getting ready for school right now, but I’m not because my mother has thrown off the flow of the morning. When she came in my room to bring me my new Adderall prescription, she tripped on the Romantic Era section of my library, books which are alphabetized, systematized, and laid out on the floor. It took all summer for me to get them exactly where I want them. It makes me happy just to look at them. When she tripped, she scattered the stacks out of order. I don’t think it took longer than five seconds before my body started shaking. I crunched myself into a fetal position and started to breathe as deeply as possible. Mom told me to calm down, like it’s no big deal to rebuild perfection. Austen’s works are now mixed with the Brontë sisters. I can’t find Browning. Wordsworth is under my bed, and Blake and Shelley have been kicked to a pile of dirty clothes near my dresser. I don’t have time to realphabetize them, and Mom is starting to lose her patience, pointing out I could choose to use my time doing that, instead of sitting here and typing out my angst. She’s wrong. Typing out my angst is exactly what I need to do if I’m going to get myself in any functional state for school. After all she says “It’s not a library” but rather a cluster of books I keep on the floor for people to trip over. According to her “libraries have shelves.” I told her shelves are not included in the technical definition of “library.” She told me to quit it with the semantics and get dressed. Whatever.

Another huge issue is that I wanted to finish gluing the pieces of charming postcards I cut up to decorate this year’s “me-moir” binder, my fourth writing collection. Each year’s binder—the sacred place I keep all my school essays, journals, personal me-moir entries, e-mails, etc. My writing is best served contained, away from the eyes of others, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have exquisite packaging. Obviously.

Since freshman year when my parents forced me to go to a “special school,” these binders are the only things that have made it bearable. Intense planning and a sea of supplies are required to build the perfect home for chronicling my life. It’s the best living history I’ve got. Every entry has its own color-coded sheet protector. Last week, I cut up six postcards, all with scenes of loving couplehood from the nineteenth century that weren’t a fit among the crowd taped on my headboard. Once it’s finished, they will fit together like an ornate puzzle. Which. Is. Awesome. Or would be, if this weren’t the first day of senior year and hundreds of pieces remain unglued.

At least my back-to-school outfit is staying the same. There is no question about that. I am wearing my black combat Chucks and have managed to untangle my XL burgundy T-shirt from the twisted pile on my bed, which is where my tees like to live. My black leggings and black beret with the tiny feather that stands straight up will complete my look of “rotted lonely pear in bowl”—a still life. Appropriate.


Essay #1: My Biography

(This is what I turned in and got a C+ on after having to read it in front of the class because Ms. Harrison believes in “publishing” as an important part of the writing process. Make no mistake: I did not read the introduction or the conclusion aloud. Also, I have no interest in Ms. Harrison’s humiliating version of “publishing.” Clearly, I’ve got my own system for that.)

Danielle Levine

English 12

Ms. Harrison

Period 4

Ms. Harrison, I liked the authors’ tea you planned where we all discussed the books we chose to read over the summer. I hope you could tell by my class comments that I liked Wuthering Heights. You have no idea how much my parents got in to reading that book with me. And, well, I got in to it, too. I dressed as Catherine. I have a lot of vintage dresses with puffy sleeves and petticoats (which generally stay in my closet) and a bunch of hats, from every era imaginable, and those were appropriate accents for this family read-aloud. (Very important note: don’t tell any of my classmates that we dressed up and read the book together. Please.) While my parents may have fantasized that their love lives were