Art Book Camp Life

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.

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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