The Joy of Writing
Mrs. Owen looked at her students filing in her classroom and sliding into their seats. Some were carrying just a notebook and pencil; others were bringing in their entire backpack with them. As the bell rang to signal the start of class, a couple of late students rushed in before the bell stopped ringing. The red Pteri teacher gave a glare at the Techo and Blumaroo for being late, and they shrank back in their seats, wanting to avoid her icy glare. She then switched to a smile as she faced the class
“Is there anyone here who forgot to bring a pencil and paper this morning?” she asked them.
Everyone looked around the room to see if anyone raised their paw, hoof, hand, or wing. After a few tense seconds, one green Pteri in the back of the class slowly raised a wing. Mrs. Owen glared at him in the same stern way she glared at the Techo and Blumaroo. Then she pointed a wing toward the door, and the Pteri slid out of his chair and started toward it.
“This is the fifth time this month, Wingalo,” Mrs. Owen told him. “I’m going to have to notify your owner of this. You know you’re expected to bring your supplies every day.”
The Pteri nodded as he stepped out the door. A few seconds later, they heard someone yell, “Hey, watch where you’re walking! I just mopped this floor, and you’re tracking your muddy footprints all over it! You have wings; use them!”
As Wingalo walked down the sidewalk toward home, he know that his owner would not be happy about this. Since he lived some distance away, he would be tardy to the next class by the time he got his paper and pencil and got back. So he decided to do something else while he waited for his next class.
He knew he would have some time, since Mrs. Owen's class was one of the longer ones, so he wandered around Neopia Central for a while. A few older Neopets glanced his way, since younger ones his age were usually in school right now, but he ignored them.
“I don’t see why I need that stupid class anyway,” Wingalo said to no one, as he wandered around. “I mean, that class has no function, other than to bore us to death. And Mrs. Owen is one of the strictest teachers I ever met.”
He suddenly found himself near the huge Chia Statue that always stood near the Rainbow Pool. The Chia statue had a hat with a feather inside, and it was holding a piece of paper and posing, as if practicing for a play. Wingalo had seen it before, but had never been this close to it. That’s when he noticed the doorway.
It wasn’t much of a doorway, just a small entrance to the inside of the statue. Through it, Wingalo could see stairs leading down into the darkness. His curiosity rose up to the forefront, and he walked through and started down the stairs.
“I never knew there was anything down here,” he thought, as he descended deeper into the cave.
But after a couple of minutes, he saw a light shining ahead. He went through it, and saw a sight to behold. It was almost like a small town. There were some pets sitting around a campfire talking to each other. There was also a Chia handing out what looked like a newspaper. The two shops had their lights shining brightly from inside. And in the back, a Blumaroo looked like he was trying to teach others how to draw various neopets.
As Wingalo wandered through, he was close enough to hear the Chia yelling about the fact he had the newest Neopian Times issue. Wingalo, curious as to what was in it, asked the Chia if he could have one.
“That’ll be five neopoints, please,” the Chia answered.
Wingalo dug into his pockets and fished his wings around until he found a coin worth five neopoints. He gave it to the Chia, who handed him a rolled up copy. As he walked away, he untied the string and looked over the first page. As expected, it was the latest news on Sloth.
As he paged through the articles, he noticed that most of the stuff he saw were things he already knew from watching neovision. The comics in the next section were pretty funny, and he had a laugh from a few of them. But then he got to the next section.
The stories he saw in that section were all fiction, and he knew it. But they were so well written, that he couldn’t help but be sucked in. They featured stories from actual worlds in Neopia, and the neopet species of each character were ones he met. As he went through the rest of it, he found a small area telling him where to neomail submissions for the next Neopian Times. But then he glanced up at a Virtupets clock hung on the wall, and noticed he had to get back to neoschool before he was late.
“You knew, since the beginning of class, that you need a pencil and paper every day,” Wingalo’s owner told him.
It was after Neoschool had ended, and obviously, Mrs. Owen wasn’t kidding when she mentioned that his owner would find out. Wingalo was sitting on the sofa as his owner paced back and forth in front of him. Wingalo knew from experience that it wasn’t a good idea to say anything during a lecture.
“According to Mrs. Owen, you forgot five times in this month alone. You know that we live far enough away that you can’t get here and back to catch any of her class. You’re lucky that she even tells you what they went over that day,” he continued. “Do I have to ground you so you’ll remember? Or maybe I can keep the neopoints I’ve been saving for that Faerie Paint Brush.”
Wingalo gasped when he heard that. One of his lifelong dreams was to be painted faerie. He could see himself gliding on the large orange and red wings, his tail feathers streaming behind him, as surprised and awed onlookers watched him from below. He knew his owner has been saving their neopoints for a long time in order to get it.
“I’ll never forget again. I promise. Just don’t clip my faerie wings,” he begged.
“I’ll make you a deal. I should have enough by the end of the month if all goes well, so if you remember every day for the next thirty days, you will be painted at the end. However, forget even once, and you can forget about your faerie look,” he replied.
Wingalo nodded, vowing to himself that he wouldn’t forget.
“So, did anyone forget their pencil and paper this morning?” Mrs. Owen asked the class the next day.
As the class looked around, hoping that someone forgot, Wingalo was busy writing. The Neopian Times stories he read the previous day inspired him to write something for it. As he scribbled down a story, he thought about how everyone would read it, and would instantly recognize him. He would be rich and famous, and would live the easy life with his owner.
The lack of his attention on the subject at hand did not go unnoticed by his teacher, however, and she made a mental note to have a talk with him after class, as she continued with the lesson at hand.
“Wingalo, can you come over here for a moment?” Mrs. Owen asked him when class ended. “I could tell you weren’t paying attention today. Though the supplies are important for the class, and I’m glad you remembered, paying attention is just as important.”
“Sorry, Mrs. Owen. It’s just... I had this great story in my head, and I just had to get it down on paper,” he answered.
That caught Mrs. Owen's interest, and she asked to see it. Wingalo handed over the notebook, and the teacher flipped it open to read what he wrote, getting through all four pages in about a minute. Then she put the notebook on her desk and started marking things in red pen.
“Wait, what are you doing?” Wingalo yelled.
“This sentence structure is all wrong. This paragraph could be worded much better, and you messed up your punctuation here. Wingalo, writing isn’t just about putting words on paper. It’s about using the right words at the right time, and having proper sentence structure and punctuation," Mrs. Owen told him. "That’s the kind of stuff I’m trying to teach in this class, proper use of the language we all speak and write with. You have a good plot here, and I’m interested in seeing where this story goes.”
Then the Pteri looked at him and continued.
"You may think I’m strict, but that’s only because I want you to be able to learn something we all need to know, not just for writing, but for life as well. I suspect you’ll be paying more attention and remember to bring your supplies in the future,” she finished.
“I will, Mrs. Owen,” Wingalo answered, picking up his stuff. “And thanks.”
The Pteri teacher blinked, not quite sure what she was being thanked for.
“Thank you for being so strict. If I wasn’t sent home yesterday, I may have never found the joy of writing,” Wingalo said with a smile, as he walked to his next class.
Note: This was written to celebrate the return of Neoschool.