fingernail dirt

“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

Camp is messy.

Building fires, cooking food on a stick, sleeping with spiders. Bug spray, sunblock, chlorine hair.  Raucous songfests with bawdy lyrics,  unrehearsed skits, telling jokes through quiet hour.

Going to camp means you’ll get dirt under your fingernails. Maybe even paint in your hair, too, and that’s okay, because whatever you’re making is fun to make and yours to enjoy. Nobody expects you to bring home a masterpiece from summer camp–just some stories and a promise that you had lots of fun.

I hope the camping/Camp NaNoWriMo analogy is clear enough.  I haven’t hit you over the head with it too hard, have I? Oh, apologies. I can’t resist waving these pool noodles around. Someone really ought to take them away from me before I–

Great, thank you.

This July, are you diving into Camp NaNoWriMo to have lots of fun?

I am. I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be. This NaNo novel will be splattered with paint and have smudges where I pressed too hard into the clay.

Right now, before I’ve gotten dirt on my elbows and the smell of sunblock permanently stuck in my nose, it’s easy to say “sure, I’ll just be happy with whatever mess I come up with, and love it.”

Give me about two weeks, and it’ll be much harder to accept how raw this draft will be.

But that’s my goal. A fun camping experience and something I can bring home proudly at the end of July. Hopefully, too, some  fond memories made with cabin buddies and some contraband chocolate.

Kumbayah, fellow campers, and happy writing.


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