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Art Book Camp Uncategorized writing

Book Camp 2020, Day 9

We’ve had some conflict. I thought that taking the weekend off might help disrupt the conflict and give us a reprieve. Selfishly, I wanted to work on Book Camp all weekend, because I didn’t have a job to do.

We took the weekend. And Monday was disastrous. More proof that no good deed goes unpunished.

Book Camp was quite nearly canceled yesterday morning.

Not hyperbole.

After group and individual counseling, it became clear that each camper wanted Book Camp to continue. The question was, what were they willing to do to make it so.

Today has been calm. Some key changes have been made to the structure of Book Camp, the schedule, and the expectations. It has been a scramble. But I think there is value in making it to the end.

I think if Book Camp had ended yesterday, each of the campers would have made the end the biggest memory of camp. I think each camper would have taken home negative feelings, maybe about themselves.

Seeing it to the end, I think, enables other memories to take precedence. It allows them to feel good about making it through. It helps them see the value in the struggle.

This morning, the campers sat around the fort dreaming of the actors who might play the roles of the characters they’ve been writing all camp. They laughed and they argued without animosity and they debated. They munched on cheese balls (the food, not the people), and they drank the somewhat satisfying somewhat harsh Ginger Ale Bold. It was refreshing to see them loose and liking camp.

If not for pandemic, how much would look different? The kids would be draining the last drops of summer before the start of a normal, anticipated school year. They would be exhausted from time with friends and time at day camps and a week each with grandparents. They would be well vented. They would be well ready for a change of pace.

But we are in pandemic. And it has infected everything. Even Book Camp.

This is your reminder that however much stress you feel in this pandemic, the kids feel it too. They feel the worry, the financial stress, the stress of being in one spot with the same people too long, the stress of not going out with friends, the stress of the future being unexpected.

It’s Tuesday, and the week feels like camp is winding up. It’s easier on easy days when people get along and have recently aired their frustrations.

These last six days of Book Camp, we are doing a practicum of publishing. We have an editor, an art director, a marketer, a publicist, and an intern. The intern refills the snack bar and helps people with their task lists.

We made good headway on the group write, and we even took a little break to plan for next year. That was FUN!

The remainder of the day not devoted to “Cells at Work” on Netflix, was given to creating a map artifact for their story, developing a marketing plan, editing, and choosing font classes.

A solidly good day. After a string of less than great days. And I am thankful.

Categories
Art Book Camp Quarantine Sleep Apnea writing

Book Camp 2020, Day 4

If you have followed the blog for a little while, you may be wondering how my sleepiness works with Book Camp, particularly with early starts and late stops each day. It’s a bit of worthwhile struggle. Yesterday I experienced high-sleep-pressure that hit suddenly in the early afternoon. My blood felt like glue. My brain felt like mud. My limbs and eyes felt too heavy to manage.

Per my work arrangement, I contacted my manager and let them know the situation. They allowed me to take immediate leave. I then slept for two hours and forty-five minutes, after which I arose (with all the same old feelings of guilt and grossness) and put the day back together.

That’s the big difference. Before treatment, I wouldn’t have been working. We would have started camp late morning and I would have napped in the afternoon and all evening would be as vegetative as I could make it. The A.D. really pitched in after work. Now, our first camp event of the day is at 7 am, the kids work while I do, we lunch together, we continue an array of work (theirs being instruments and assignments and group write and then fun like X-Box and anime), we reconvene for a book camp intensive when I get off work, we prepare dinner, and we have an inning before scuttling everyone off to lights out.

All in all, the treatments are making a tremendous difference. So when a sleep attack strikes, as it did yesterday, I feel on the one hand I ought not complain. On the other hand, I also feel like it’s an imposition on my workplace with cascading impacts on the rest of life.

But enough about me and my sleep.

Thursday began with a sleepheaded start for a few campers, but we managed to get in our 7 am time. Today is our last day studying A is for Adapt, and the campers adapted themselves. They used a worksheet to describe their lives as they currently exist and then used the same worksheet to choose a genre, descriptors, and characters for an adaptation of their nonfictional lives into fiction. Next, they each wrote a fictional story that adapted themselves (individually) into a fictional setting or situation.

Day four in B is for Business had the campers learning the roles of literary agents and subsidiary rights agents. Their exercises were to 1) write and email me a query letter based on their own work of fiction or a published work and then 2) evaluate their query letters based on some specific questions. When did you get bored reading the letter? When did you stop or want to stop reading? Why? Was it a typo? An offense? A ludicrous story? Bad grammar? What would compel you to request more material?

As I type, the campers are eking out some last drops of anime watching, their assignments all turned in, while they forage for leftovers to satisfy their gnawing hunger.

After dinner we will play games and eat candy and laugh and probably someone might cry. Five alpha campers plus two competitive directors equals someone might cry on game night. It might be me!

But before I go I must share with you what Cheese Ball did last night. He (with permission) cut apart an old pair of very skinny jeans. Then he hand-sewed them, cut in a thumb hole, and cut holes for laces. He scavenged laces from shoes that no longer fit and laced up these lovely gauntlets modeled for a character in the group write. They are adjustable so all the campers can wear them. How cool is that?

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