Amanda Salisbury

Fiction, Life, Opinion, Art, Non-fiction

Book Camp 2019, Saying Goodbye


You might not think book camp goodbyes would be too difficult, since we are all relatives and will see each other numerous times before next year’s camp. [Four of us live in the same house!] You would be right…and wrong. Book camp is so different from afternoons together, holidays, or birthday parties. It’s such a concentrated time of artistic trust and development that we can’t help but be both relieved and saddened when it ends. Yet, the kids believe that book camp will happen next year, and so they have this wonderful ability to wax over their sadness of endings with the joy of a new (albeit far off) beginning.

I carry a kernel of sadness a bit heavier. I expect next year’s book camp to happen. But I know it could NOT happen. That’s the curse of growing up and growing old: learning that far-off joyful new beginnings can be lost and lasts come when you least expect them. I don’t tell the children this because they have the right to discover such inelegant truths in their own times.

We eschewed healthy breakfast this morning in favor of a favorite local donut shop, What a Donut! There, the kids chose a breakfast protein and a sweet pastry. We sat at a long string of tables and I handed out today’s prompts. Our prompts were for drawing instead of writing: donut tools, donut people, donut homes, donut plants, donut animals.

Upon arriving home, we cleaned up and partly packed then settled into the fort for reading each opus. The kids asked me to read their works, which ranged from about 300 words to 4,000 words. They were each inventive and individual. We gave brief feedback after each reading and finished just as the grandparents arrived.

A few last pics, several goodbye hugs, and the nieces and grandparents whisked out the door. They returned moments later to retrieve one more item. Then they were off. And Book Camp 2019 ended.

I feel bittersweet. And it has only a little to do with all the massive sugar consumption this week. I feel such a deep hope that the kids each remember this book camp with fondness. Forgetting any hurts or disappointments or disputes. As for me, I store up all these things in my heart and long for our next book camp with excitement and wonder.

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Writer. Lawyer. Relative. Friend.

Curious. Detailed. Occasionally funny.


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