In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
I just registered the girls for summer camp. Thinking of those hot days to come is my optimistic activity for surviving the bitter cold of January. Lately when I sit down to write, I end up writing about camp, which I think is also an unconscious way to warm up my thoughts a bit. I’m not a winter person, if you couldn’t tell. I never quite got the hang of skating and am terrified of skiing, so that leaves me to do lots of writing, reading, and knitting. Don’t get me wrong, I love those things, but I’d so much rather do them sitting in the sun, and there’s not much of that to go around right now.
Anyway, when I start down the road of a camp memory, I end up with lots to say. Camp is a wellspring of characters to draw from when writing a story. I think there is a good children’s story, perhaps an entire series even, about the learning experiences of camp. When William Zinsser said that writers are the custodians of memory, he was speaking about non-fiction; however, even fiction is drawn from memory, dispelling the notion that some fiction writers just conjure story and plot out of thin air.
As for exactly what I would write about camp, the bildungsroman speaks to me as a genre. While I found my teenage years to be such a difficult transition, on the plus side the characters are so clearly etched in my mind from that time in my life. For those who experienced it, camp contains universal images and experiences, regardless of the literal place you attended it. I don’t want to say much more for fear of extinguishing the flame of my idea, but on the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to float the thoughts by you guys first.
Did you go to camp? What kind of mental activities do you do to conjure your invincible summer? Maybe your stories can help warm me up too.