Art Book Camp

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?

Book Camp Life

Book Camp 2020, Day 2

Last night we watched Knives Out on Prime. It was the girls’ first time to view it. Everyone adored the film, of course, but I especially loved what came after: a chat about craft totally unprompted by me. And this gem: Cheeze Ball said, “If I could write something like that…” as stars twinkled in her eyes.

Lights out got a bit late. Turns out, we’re not very good at it.

Still, we were up this morning before the sun. We tag-teamed the kitchen, since we spent most of yesterday without water access. And we huddled in the fort to write new six-sentence stories (snake, rubbish, acute) and overview the day.

A is still for Adapt, and the kids are taking the works of fiction they reviewed yesterday, charting them on a five-act or three-act structure, and then altering the structure. SIM campers are then doing it again for their own works.

B, still for Business, covers book publicists and book marketers. The people who force you to buy all the books against your will (and pocketbook) are some of the most interesting. How do they do it? Well, we got in the weeds with that question this morning. For exercises today, the campers prepared several promotional materials, including an author bio, press release, author Q&A, artifact (like a bookmark, coloring page, screen saver), back cover copy, and a draft email to book bloggers.

While they turn things in separately, it was delightful to hear them working collaboratively today. From the office I heard Cheese Ball say, “Figgy is helping me with my press release.” For two brothers, that’s significant!

And we had some bumps today. Playing the instrument for less than the allotted time. Singing at top-voice while not doing assignments and other people were working. Control issues surrounding the group write. Let it be known: Book Camp is not for the faint of heart!

There was even a slight existential crisis, and it wasn’t even mine.

Today sleep reared its pernicious head and I needed to sleep at 5 pm. Thankfully, the kids gathered up to revise their group write, and the A.D. led dinner efforts, so I awoke to laughter and a dinner plate.

For dinner there was a delicious comedy if errors that featured bison and angel hair pasta.

Yep. A bison-angelhair-garlic-bread sandwich.

Now we’re watching a movie that gets paused periodically as the A.D. or I point out gross stuff like white privilege and misogyny. We’re definitely the fun aunt and uncle / parents.

Until tomorrow…

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