PROLOGUE: TINA CARTER
2nd of July, Thursday
Just three words to start this entry: I hate art. There’s nothing in this world that I hate more than anything. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing Mr. Comprendo’ talk about the fundamentals of painting and the aspects of art. Nothing else would make me scream out loud than seeing him draw this everlasting scenery depicting Yellowstone National Park and ordering us to follow his lead. What is the sense of doing that, anyway?
But still, I attended these classes. And just to let you know, they are held on Saturdays and Sundays from eight a.m. to twelve noon. Four incredibly long, boring hours. Like I said, I attended these classes. I had to. My parents want WANT me to be an artist—you know, the kind of artist who painted murals and stuff—like Leonardo or those other turtle guys. And I hated, HATED that kind of stuff (like, come-on! I mean, if I wanted to paint the Sistine Chapel or a plain looking woman, I would just TELL them!). Why do I hate them? You’ll see why.
So anyway, it isn’t really that I hated anything that had to do with art. I LOVE drawing. I think it’s the first thing I did ever since I was able to write. But all the fancy stuff they do in painting is what I really despise. I’ve said that, haven’t I? Anyhow, the kind of art that I really love is the art of drawing cartoons—you know, FUN art. This is the kind of art that no one treats seriously (and no one treats it like art either, I have to add regretfully). You know—drawing Garfield and Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. I have my own cartoons, of course.
As to my reason for hating old-fashioned “painting” per se, it’s really simple—you see, I have an older brother who started painting at two, was winning awards at six, and had his own gallery show by the time he was fifteen. And as of now, he is twenty-two and still showing his stuff—but this time, internationally. He’s painting all around Europe but he says his favorite place is Paris (really, THEY all say that). And oh yeah, I almost forgot—he has a name too—it’s Charlie Carter. But he goes under a pseudonym—Charles (how original) with the family name Cartier’ (what a change, huh?). Here in our hometown at West Palm Beach, Florida, we call him Char. Or at least, I call HIM Char. And of course, the opinion of the sixteen-year-old younger sister doesn’t really count. It never will, come to think of it.
Please—spare me the lecture, but don’t wonder why I sound so dry. It’s always been this way for me. MY thoughts NEVER count in my family. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never really given art any particular priority. Why should I? I don’t live it. Drawing is just my hobby, you know—to pass time. My parents think it’s life. For them, perhaps. I mean, they both create set designs for theatrical performances that always get coffers and coffers of money. They met in one TV show and fell in love. The rest is history. Want to know something else? My mom’s name is Nicole Mitchell and my dad’s name is Patrick Carter.
I haven’t told you about my older sister Annie. She’s twenty and also an artist like Charlie. And possibly why I introduced her last is because she’s the one I hate the most. Maybe because she was the OLDER sister who I can be strongly compared to by my parents EVERY time. I am just glad, GLAD that she was never around (‘cept for weekends). She lives in New York ‘cause her gallery is there. And oh, did I mention that she was drawing at two, painting at two and a half, winning awards at five, and had her own gallery at twelve? Well—now you know. She’s also a superachiever ‘cause she is sooo smart, I would swear that one day her brains might break down and she’d go craaazzy.
Well, as for me, I do cartoons. I LOVE cartoons. Can you believe I still watch Bugs Bunny? I get my ideas from cartoons. I COULD try to do classical art, but its, like, Charlie and Annie’s lingo. Since I was young, I wanted to try something different. This was it—cartoons. It’s soo different from painting but maybe a little similar too. But well, excuse me…I don’t treat it as MY life. Just as a hobby. If I wanted to get serious, I’d be a lawyer, a computer analyst, a doctor, or a novelist, maybe. But shucks—never a painter or artist. I mean, I would want to be remembered as “Tina Carter: the one who found the cure for AIDS” or something. Now that’s cool. But come to think of it, Georgia O’Keefe was cool. In case you don’t know, she’s an artist who drew cool art (you know, skulls and stuff). But if ever I wanna try to do classical art, how much would I compare to Charlie and Annie? Ten to none—in their favor, probably.Well I guess that’s that. But you know who my only comfort in my life is? My bestfriend, Jennifer Carroll. Look at what she does for me—she’s in my art classes even if she hated art. “Just so I could be with you,” she tells me everytime I ask her why she puts up with my art classes even though she hates it. If I’d known better, she was probably just checking out this guy from class. His name is David Gates and he loves classical painting. But he is just sooo full of himself, if you’d ask me. Anyway, like me, Jen’s the youngest in her family. But the difference is she has three older sisters who live very different lives and have various careers. Also, her parents are great because they respect whatever any of her siblings want to specialize in. The youngest before her is five years older, and he’s Jeffrey, in case you’d want to know.
What exactly is Jen involved in? Well—guys, mostly. She’s always got a new crush every week. I think David must be her longest obsession. As for me, I’ve never had a non-serious date, much less—a crush! Think that’s abnormal? It’s not like I’m allowed to have one, anyway. Unless you count that one time with Joey Parks back in seventh grade—but I wouldn’t count that unless you counted so-called dates arranged by his parents—or, as he says, by MY parents. Well, whoever did arrange it, they shouldn’t meddle with our affairs. Just because we were neighbors! Well, duh. I mean—I am SO tired of seeing his face so much that my eyes are popping out and my brain is numb. OK—I’m exaggerating. But come on! We have been neighbors since forever, our parents have been friends since forever, and to make my first actual date be the person that—heck, we were ACTUALLY born in the same hospital—I’ve known forever—I could just scream!
It’s not that he’s a bad guy. Actually, I know many girls who are half in love with him because despite being one of the most popular guys, he is SO darn nice to everyone. And since we’ve come to the subject of Joey Parks, here’s the info on him. One way to describe him: picture perfect. Trust me—I’m an artist. Let me put it this way: one time, Jen asked me, “You’re so beautiful…--why don’t you have a boyfriend yet?” Yes, actually, there were guys who courted me—but why don’t I have a boyfriend, much less, a crush? Perhaps I have the answer to that—Joey Parks. I’ve been with him so much that his exceptionally handsome face looks like the common guy face to me. Maybe that’s why I think that Leonardo DiCaprio looks like a total dog—my expectations of guys when it comes to looks are too high. You know the other thing that’s so darn nice about him? He doesn’t care to admit that he’s good-looking. And the other thing? I go with him to school in his shiny, green BMW. And we also go home together (which is why I’m so tired of him). And oh—he has a sister eight years older and a brother eight years younger. And another thing—he’s the one other comfort in my life aside from Jen—he’s my guy bestfriend, and he has been that since—oh, the beginning of time, probably.
Oh, and before I end this, just a little thought to remember me by: things aren’t as bad as it seems for me…despite everything, I’m happy…really!