Once upon a time, I went to the 7th grade dance. It was in a dark gymnasium that smelled of Binaca breath spray and sweat. There was a cover band with enough big hair to make Muppets. A Boston song was played. And I was standing on the sidelines in a white eyelet dress my mother made me that looked vaguely as if I had lost my herd of sheep.
I stood on the sidelines for a long, long time. I stood and mouthed the words to bad songs while my friends Jeannie and Marcy and Dale were asked to dance, like petals plucked from a daisy, leaving only the awkward stem.
The hour grew late. Finally, a few 7th grade boys huddled together, presumably drawing straws, and Greg Fake (whose mother had raised him to be kind) shuffled over to me, hands in pockets and asked me in a voice of utter defeat if I wanted to dance. This was clearly a mercy mission. I am not proud. I danced with Greg Fake. Greg Fake kept my first school dance experience from being an exercise in total humiliation. Thank you, Greg Fake. Thank you. And I’m sorry I talked to you the whole time in a nervous Tourette’s Syndrome stream of consciousness.
Why do I mention this? Right now, as you sit, perhaps watching reruns of reality television, Random House is hosting an awesome contest. It is called The Fantasy Road Trip Contest. Doesn’t that sound cool? I mentioned this in May. Truly. Awesome. Here is the link to True Awesomeness in Contest Form: www.randomhouse.com/audio/features/listen-up-florida/contest/
You can win an 8 GB iPod Touch plus signed audiobooks of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Not too bad. But here’s the thing: No one has entered the contest for my books. For Rick Riordan and Tamora Pierce—many, many videos entered. Me? Not so much. 7th grade, 7th grade, 7th grade.
See me standing over there mouthing the words to “More Than a Feeling” and attempting an ill-advised half-hustle, half rainbow-arms move? Consider this your mission of mercy. In 7th grade, Greg Fake was not offered a prize for asking me to dance. But you can win a prize for entering a video. You have until Monday, August 17th. I believe in you, readers. Truly, I do. Pick up those video cameras. Send in your submissions. You can make a difference! Yes, we can.
People, I am standing on the sidelines in my puffy, white eyelet dress. I am spritzing my tongue with medicinal breath freshener. I am pushing my glasses up on my nose and adjusting the rubber bands on my braces.
In the dark, sweaty gym, I am waiting for your videos.
Please make the videos.