Saturday, June 18, 2011

i came home from camp today.

I came home from camp today. I left three hours later than I meant to because I couldn't stop talking to people. This happens sometimes, you know.

From Loucon's website.
Probably not actually taken in the middle of January.
On the drive to Louisville (because goodness knows I was not going to make it all the way to Knoxville), I discovered that the AC in my car is kaput. Like, roll-down-the-windows-even-though-it's-as-hot-outside-as-it-is-in-the-car kaput.

There was a traffic jam on the Gene Snyder, and I had to get off ten miles too soon and then wade all the way up through the city to get to my parents' house (I hyperbolize, but you get the picture).

Upon arrival, I wanted nothing more than to melt away in the bathtub. Instead, I dove for my laptop, and here I have remained for the better part of three hours.

I thought a lot at camp, which should come as no surprise. Loucon does not lend itself well to frivolous, in-and-out excursions. This week was a surprise for me; it was not on my original docket. Because of this (well, because of my struggles with introversion and attitude, really) it took me a little while to warm up to my time there. It's not that I wasn't enjoying it. It was just... exhausting. Anyone who has worked a summer camp can attest to this. And this one was a music camp, with a performance to do at the end of the week, so... doubly stressful. But it got better. I calmed down and opened up, even if no one saw a difference but me (boy howdy, can I put on a face. I have a degree in it).

A problem I have with camp is that every time I go, I leave wishing I could find a way to be on staff there again. It has been a pattern throughout my entire experience. Life is fine, I'm kind of in a funk, but that's okay. Then, I go to camp. My eyes open. I realize that this is the place for me. I see both my weaknesses and my strengths, clear as day, and I accept them. Desire to learn from them and grow. Life is awesome. Then the summer ends. Life is not the same. Life is lacking because life is not summer camp. This fades around November, both as a defense mechanism (I will drive myself into a depression if I'm not careful), and out of laziness for bettering my August-to-May life. I build up callouses, especially now that I'm married and live in a different state and, frankly, just can't spend 100% of my summers in there anymore. Then, eventually... life is fine. Maybe I'm in a funk, maybe I'm not. Then I go to camp, and my life changes all over again. And I wish I could just stay there, both literally and figuratively.

Open Air Chapel.
Not sure where this image originally came from,
but I have quite a few similar photos.
It is so hard not to be dependent on camp, but I am. Or, maybe not dependent on it but... profoundly enriched by it. This place, this ministry, has my heart and it always will. But it does hurt to be in a constant back and forth, especially when, like in the past, it makes me feel so inadequate in my August-to-May life.

On an up-note, because I know how folks love up-notes, something was a little different this time. Of course, I still had to stretch myself, I still had to let myself grow (which is the whole point of Loucon). It's good that I have three more weeks to be there, starting a week from tomorrow (!). But, for once, I didn't feel... how do I say it? I didn't feel like I was losing it in my August-to-May life, the way I had when I was in college. My August-to-May life is not perfect, by any means, but I feel like I'm taking the right steps, for once. Does that make sense?

This is pretty much my longwinded way of saying: I was worried that camp was going to make me feel like I shouldn't be writing, but instead I felt encouraged in it. Or... at least not discouraged. As I said, I still have half the remaining summer to spend there, growing and trying to better myself. One thing is for sure, though.

I'm going to take extensive notes this time.


  1. A of all, that chapel is amazing. B, I'm glad you had a good, uplifting time at camp! And C, I'm not surprised that you feel encouraged, or at least undiscouraged in your writing, because your writing is uplifting and awesome and of course leading you on the right track. Keep up the good work!

  2. This is really lovely. I think we should all go on a writer's retreat to this place.

  3. Ooo,I like @Kristen's idea. :) Glad you're stretching yourself and finding that you're resilient. Self awareness is an amazing thing to gain/learn.


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