California Diaries #8: Maggie II: Weight. Problems.
Ann M. Martin
The author gratefully acknowledges Jeanne Betancourt for his help in preparing this
Copyright © 1998 by Ann M. Martin. All rights reserved. Published by Scholastic Inc.
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First Scholastic printing, August 1998
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Breakfast: Small bowl of cornflakes w/skim milk, black coffee (no sugar).
Lunch: ½ tuna sandwich (NO mayo), diet soda, 1 apple (small).
Goal: Don’t eat between meals.
Weight: 103 ½ lbs.
Goal 90 lbs.
Starting today I, Maggie Blume, vow to write down every bits that goes into my
I have to face facts. I am one of those people who gain weight if they eat five peanuts. I’ll have to watch what I eat for the rest of my life. I might as well start now.
Everyone tells me I don’t need to lose weight. Amalia said it. Ducky says it.
Dawn says it. They say I have a great body. They are WRONG WRONG WRONG. They
don’t see me when I’m in my underwear. They don’t see me when I’m on the scale. They think I’m thin but I’m FAT. Thirteen pounds. That’s all I need to leave.
I was really smart about lunch. I waited until two o’clock to eat. I’m noticing that when I eat slowly I enjoy my food more. The apple was so good. Clean and fresh. No fat.
Someone brought a dozen donuts into the office kitchen this morning. I was
nauseated just looking at them. Grease, fat, calories! Croissants are just so bad. They’re full of butter.
This afternoon I have to make 35 copies of the script for the next film Dad’s
producing. They finally settled on a title for it—
During my first week of work Dad asked me to read the script for
. “Write up a summary of the plot and tell me what you think of it,” he said. “I value your opinion.”
He doesn’t really care what I think about the script. He just wants me to feel like I’m part of his team.
I read it.
is a perfect name for this movie. As in, “Never go see it.” But I didn’t write that in my “review.” I told Dad what I knew he wanted to head—”Exciting and suspenseful.” It would have caused tension between us it I told him what I really think.
It was so weird. Hundreds of people are working and spending zillions of dollars on a movie that is basically dumb. Car chases and violence. All that money wasted.
I know Dad isn’t always proud of the kinds of films he makes. But he is so proud of being a big success.
His movies make money.
He likes his money and all the things it can buy.
Including all the things that kept the Blume family going.
Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite when I think about Dad like this. I live in the big fancy house. Swim in the pool. Wear the nice clothes (thought they don’t look so nice on me). And have all kinds of advantages.
But working for my father is NOT one of them. At work he is Mr. Phony. Mr.
Schmooze. Mr. I’ll-kill-you-with-kindness-but-you-have-to-do-it-my-way.
We see that side of Dad at home sometimes. But at Blume Productions it’s one
Dad secretly wishes he were a writer-director instead of a producer. that’s
probably why he suggested I use my free time in the office to try scriptwriting. I said I didn’t have any ideas for a script. He said, “Write what you know. Look around, listen in on conversations. The write a little scene. I wish I’d done that when I was your age. It’s a big advantage to start young. You’re lucky.”
Dad thinks he’s doing me this big favour by giving me a job in his office when
I’m only thirteen. he promised me that I’d be able to work in the music end of his new film. I was exciting about working for Flanders Delmont. He’s a composer whose work I really admire. Dad said I would be in Flander’s studio at last half the time. I’d met other people in the music business. I’d see how Flanders composed and ran his business.
It sounded great until Flanders Delmont decided to run his business out of his
home office in Australia.
So here I am, stuck in Schmoozeville with Dad and his new assistant, Duane
Richards. Duane is quickly learning the fine art of schmoozing. Totally it was, “Maggie, you look so-o-o
What a liar.
I look terrible today. Fat, dull, and so-o-o
The sad day within
Why do troubles haunt
Why do my inner darks cloud out obscure the light?
Are the answers in the darkness
That is the first poem I’ve written in weeks. It used to make me feel better to express my feels in poetry. But I don’t feel any better for writing that poem.
Maybe I should try scriptwriting.
NEVER...TELL THE TRUTH
(Inspired by a conversation over heard between Producer and scriptwriter)
A large office in Hollywood. Producer sits behind a big desk. A writer sit in a small chair
PRODUCER: We need another chase scene, Ralph. And put a school bus in the car
chase scene. Out main character’s kid should be on that bus.
WRITER: But Mr. Blume, our main character doesn’t have a kid.
PRODUCER: Then we’ll give him one. I know you, Ralph. You can work it out it in.
you’ve done a great job. Let the bus be central in the chase. It can go off on one of those
cliffs in the Hollywood Hills.
WRITER: Do you want the kid injured or killed?
PRODUCER: We think he’s head, but he’s only injured—seriously injured. We don’t know
if he’ll make it. Put in a hospital scene. (He get up, a signal that it’s time for the writers
to leave.) Why don’t you come be the house for a drink, say around seven? there’ll be
some people there I’d love you to meet.
WRITER: (smiling) Great. Love to.
Dad is already looking for a
writer to rewrite the
script. Everyone on the project knows it. But that night, when the writers came to the house, Dad and his business partners in the film acted like he was the hottest writer in Hollywood. I hare all that phoniness. Hate it.
Dad is back from one of his wheeler-dealer lunches. I better hit the photocopy
Amalia called. There’s a vanish rehearsal tonight. The band hasn’t practiced much this summer. We all have summer jobs with different work schedules. Talking to Amalia made me wish we have more time to hang out together. She’s such a eat person and a great band manager. Maybe we will hang out, not that Vanish is rehearsing again.
Amalia and Justin are picking me up. I haven’ seen Justin in two weeks. I’m so
nervous about seeing him again. I can’t figure out if he likes me or not. Sometimes we really seem to click. And ten minutes later I think I imagined it.
Justin is going to try out for the band tonight. If he’s in the band he’ll be at every rehearsal. Then I know I’ll see him at least once a week. That would be great. I think.
Amalia tole me that Justin has been practicing guitar for hours every day. That he’s doing it so he can be in the band. “He’s doing it because of YOU,” she said.
“He said that?” I asked.
“Not is so many words,” Amalia admitted. “But he did say how much he liked
EVERYONE who played in the band. Trust me, he likes you.”
I wish I could believe her. Justin is everything I would want in a boyfriend—
thoughtful, interesting, smart, cute, fun. And he acts like he’s
Justin. No schmoozing.
But Justin isn’t my boyfriend. I’m such a fool. Why would he like me?
I called Mom to tell her about the rehearsal. I could tell she was disappointed I wasn’t going to be home for “a nice family dinner.”
don’t think of our families as
“nice.” Zeke usually talks about some adventure game he plays on the internet, as if it’s real life. Dad complains about all the other sharks in the movie business or tells Zeke and me how we should live our lives. And we all try not to pretend we’re not noticing how much Mom is drinking.
My mother drinks too much.
When she drinks too much she had a faraway look in her eyes, like she isn’t
focusing on me or what I’m saying.
It’s strange that I’m writing about this, because Mom has been much better lately.
I just hope she isn’t reaching for a drink right now. And if she is, I hope it’s not because I won’t be home for dinner.
Maybe I should go home instead of rehearsal?
If I stopped seeing my friends so Mom wouldn’t drink, I could never go out.
Besides, it wouldn’t stop her.
Dinner: Tossed salad (No dressing), diet soda, 3 French fries.
At six o’clock I went into Dad’s office and told him about the Vanish rehearsal. I could tell he was disappointed that Vanish hadn’t vanished.
He asked me who was taking James’s place.
I told him that another guy, Justin, was going to try out. I hoped I didn’t blush when I said Justin’s name. the last thing I needed from Dad is an interrogation about Justin.
I hate how Dad wants to produce
After work, I waited outside for Justin and Amalia to pick me up. Amalia was
sitting in front with Justin, so I hopped in the back.
I hadn’t seen Justin in a couple of weeks. He looked as good as ever. Wring. He looked BETTER.
Justin made eye contact with me in the rear view mirror. His brown eyes were
smiling—dancing, really. I
“It’ll be great to hear you sing again, Maggie,” eh said. “You’ve given Vanish a new life.”
I don’t happed to agree with him. But I’m still glad he sort-of-said that he likes my singing.
When we walked into Rico’s garage, Patti did a little drum roll to mark out
entrance. Bruce strummed something very low on his bass. It felt great to be back.
Justin is now officially in the band. He definitely knows enough guitar to play behind Rico. But my singing was horrid. My voice was weak and raspy. I was
embarrassed when I sung “Hey, Down There.” Sometimes lyrics are
When I finished, Amalia clapped. “I love that song,” she said. I knew she was just trying to make me feel better.
But Rico told the truth. “Hey, Maggie,” he called to me. “How about writing us a new song?”
“Good idea,” agreed Justin.
I knew it. They hated my old song. I’d made a food of myself. And I looked
terrible. If I could lose five pounds maybe I’d look more like a lead singer and less like Ms. Plain Jane.
I couldn’t look at Justin for the rest of rehearsal.
We all went out to a burger joint afterward. I hate those places. They smell greasy and everyone makes a pig of themselves.
I ordered the house salad with dressing on the side. Everyone else ordered the
quarter-pounder burger special. I wasn’t even tempted. It’s disgusting.
“Maggie, I don’t believe you’re not having a burger,” Amalia exclaimed. “You
really need to eat something.”
Everybody, including the waitress, looked at me.
I reminded Amalia I don’t eat red meat.
“Then try their garden burger,” suggested Justin. “I’ve had them. They’re good.
I said thanks, but no thanks.
It would be easier to diet it everyone would stop trying to feed me. Why can’t
they see how fat I am? They say I’m not, but I AM.
By next week’s rehearsal I am going to lost five pounds. That’s the equivalent of 20 quarter-burgers. I imagine 20 burgers plastered to my thighs and stomach. Boy, will I be glad to get rid of that fat.
He loves me not
Out eyes meet but
In the rear view mirror.
He holds the gaze.
He loves me.
An hour passes.
Our eyes meet again.
He quickly looks again.
He loves me not.
No oasis in the desert
Dry petals in the wind.
That poem will NEVER be a song. No way, no...
Zeke came into my room looking very glum. He walked over to my desk and
stood beside me. I closed my laptop and my poetry journal and asked him what was up.
“You can make Dad do anything you want,” he said. “Tell him I shouldn’t be
forced to go to tennis camp.”
First, I reminded Zeke that I can’t make Dad do what I want. No more than he
can. Then I asked him why he’s so dead set against going to tennis camp.
“I hate tennis,” he said. “
I do not want to go to tennis camp
. Do NOT. Not. Please.
Please. Puh-lease tell them not to send me.”
He threw a glossy pamphlet on my laptop. “This came with the list of stuff I have to bring,” he moaned. “They have dances.
dance classes. I have to bring a
I opened the brochure. One photo was of four perfectly groomed kids in tennis
whites, playing doubles. Another was of a victorious Manor Court Tennis Team holding up a gold trophy. Then I saw the photo that upset Zeke. A smiling boy and girl, arm in arm, gliding across a dance floor.
The idea of Zeke asking some girl to dance to too funny. I had to hold back a