Post Camp (Nano) Blues

You don’t know how many times I have tied that same canoe up to that same dock.

When I was a kid and went to Camp Glisson, I would always be out of sorts for the first week or so afterward. I loved camp SO MUCH that I couldn’t bear to be back home, and it would take that much time to get me back to my normal routine. So that’s where I am now – still in the outofsorts with no real ETA for the backtonormal.

Bear with me. I have this piece I just finished a week ago today swirling about in my mind, the Baskervilles first novel to finish (nothing like giving a manuscript to betas that doesn’t have an ending!), and more of my prequel to the Nature Walker Trilogy to reverse engineer and do primary edits.  Oh, and in exactly two weeks I will be back at my Day Job, but my schedule this semester is going to give me an hour and a half every Tuesday and Thursday evening to sit in my office and wait for the bus, so that’s noveling time, right? Lemons and lemonade, y’all. 

Camp Mail Call

Sometime in the early 90’s, at Camp Glisson

Those of you that are familiar with me know about my love for all things camp-related and Nanowrimo-related. So the fact that I am a die-hard Camp Nanowrimo Participant should be no surprise, really. Every year I do three rounds of Novel Writing Month work, two for Camp Nano and one for Nano Proper in November.

One thing I love about Camp Nanowrimo is that since it is set up like virtual summer camp you get the daily inspirational emails in the form of #CampCarePackages and they are jam-packed full of advice that you can use even after camp is closed for the year. I wanted to share the care package from Friday because it speaks to who I am as a writer on a very deep level. Enjoy, and don’t forget your bug spray or sunscreen. It’s brutal out here in the wilderness.

Camp Care Package: Writer’s block v. “writer’s laziness”.
From: Camp NaNoWriMo
To: NancyEDunne

Author Claire Kann takes over as your first Camp Counselor this July! She’s providing this week’s Camp Care Packages:

I’m the kind of creator that doesn’t experience writer’s block. I suffer from what’s known as writer’s laziness—and I know I’m not alone. When this happens, I can’t even force myself to get my work done. But instead of sitting and staring at a blank page, I’ll give myself a set number of minutes to indulge in media that will inspire me to get back to work. Writing a romance? Watch your favorite romcom! Knee-deep in horror land? Find a book that has the same kind of spooktacular themes you’re exploring. I often find that’s enough to jumpstart my writing.

Lights at the Ends of Various Tunnels

Me and my girl at GARF,
photo courtesy of the Southern Travel Guide

Yeah, the last post was pretty grim, and if I’m honest, the work situation (that I still can’t talk about) hasn’t gotten any better, but there have been bright spots and that’s what we are going to focus on in THIS post.

One of them is featured in the photo: The Georgia Renaissance Festival. Now, this is not a new thing, not by a longshot, but apparently, the fourteenth year is the charm, hoopskirt issue notwithstanding. I have made friends at GARF in the past, cast members and vendors and directors and the like, but this year just feels different. I feel at home in “Newcastle” in a way I have yet to feel at home in “Fairhaven” after fifteen years in what we refer to as the Northern Kingdom.

What has changed? Me? Having Bryn? I don’t know. But this past weekend, I was able to play, really play, with both the cast and with my partner in crime, Lucy to my Ethel, and the only other member of HOEF that does more than one or two weekends at GARF, Anne. Perhaps it is the beautiful friendship that has formed between her Bo and my Bryn. Perhaps it is Anne’s extrovert that brings my introvert along, often kicking and screaming, to get to know the cast.

Whatever it is, I am profoundly sad on days that I have to miss attending GARF, even though it means a 5 am start every Saturday and a late afternoon arrival back home, dirty and sweaty and hot every Sunday between the middle of April and the first weekend in June. I long to be in the lanes, even though that means pulling turkey tendons out of Bryn’s mouth and replacing steak sandwiches that she snatches in the blink of an eye. I dream of the joust, and of watching with pride as Bryn thumps her tail when her favorite princess rides by, upside down in her saddle, even though I’m fighting the reflection of the sun off the light colored sand which is swirling about in my eyes and nose.

I’m hoping that this feeling of Rennie family will continue into the fall when I am again with my HOEF family in the dog barn on the eastern side of Fairhaven, and that we can project the kind of skilled performance that we are learning at GARF into our wonderfully laid back home at the Enchanted Chalice in Greenville, SC. Vikings ahoy!

I did say tunnels in the title, didn’t I? While GARF is the light at the end of one tunnel, the fact that I only have four days left until my summer break is certainly another. But that tunnel is not quite as bright because I will have several months of empty coffee meetings to look forward to without Daisy. While it hasn’t been easy without her, it has been easier because I’ve had work to distract me. Without my daily commute to Clemson, I am going to have to face what our reality looks like now; no queen on the end of my bed, huffing because I’ve rearranged my legs and accidentally knocked her about. No beautiful blonde/red fawn fur glimmering in the green grass of the back yard as she sunbathes. No teeth chattering in my ear.

But you see that muppet in the picture with me? She is a light of her own, and she and Willow are there to distract me when they can and snuggle with me when they can’t. Their light comes to find me in my tunnel and shines into the darkness to remind me to keep moving forward.

Finally, there is light at the end of the Superginormous Manuscript tunnel…book one in the three book series that it has become is almost ready to go to Amazon, and that is both exciting and horrifying. I took the first Camp Nanowrimo to edit the second book, and am not working on editing/fleshing out the third in between expense reports and mad garb sewing/laundering. So all in all, my life has far more light than dark. I just need to be able to remember that and hang on to it…and keep moving.

Of Nanos and Bad Dreams and too much Hazelnut Latte

Yep, I’m at it again.  I can’t turn down a NaNoWriMo challenge, hard as I (and the universe this time, apparently) try.  One week before it was due to start (Camp Nano this time), the monitor in my beloved little laptop died.  Thankfully all my manuscripts are on Google Drive and most of my photos and other important things are stored here and there online, but it took us until the following Wednesday to secure a new laptop for me.

Got that done and dusted and started in on what would be a departure for me…a mystery novel.  Suspense!  Corpses!  Police Tape!  I was off and running and did about 500 words at the end of what was really day two.  I was on FIRE.

That fire burned out faster than a charcoal grill with the top up.  By day four I was hating my characters and where I was heading, so I didn’t write anything at all on days 5 and 6, hoping that a new idea would magically appear in my mind.  It did not.

But after some soul searching and some time spent with Bryn’s paws in my mouth, her claws in my hair, and her face snuggled up to mine, wet beard dripping down my neck (all of you that have met her and said “I’ve always wanted a wolfhound!” – that was for you)…an idea started brewing, and it was right back in the wheelhouse where I’ve hung curtains and made myself at home: fantasy.  Werewolves this time, I think.  I say I think because I’m not sure yet…my process (much to the annoyance of EVERYONE else I know that writes) is that the characters have to tell me where they are going and what they are doing.  I start with a general idea of what I want the story to be but if someone gets killed off I’m just as surprised as the characters and the readers! Seriously. I know, it’s probably some sort of mental illness.

Along those lines, I had dreams last night that I couldn’t keep hold of that would have been fantastic filler for the Nano, but those all devolved into what is a pattern for me…the anxiety dream.  This time the whateveritis that is causing me stress was masquerading as aliens and the thingImustdothatIcan’t was rescue my loved ones from being taken.  The only two I managed to save were my sister and my niece, but we ended up with a long time friend of mine, Robby (from Ramblings From the Tide) who was all “It’s cool man,” in his best impression of The Dude (which I’m not sure is really an impression, sometimes, as much as it is really him?) and these two alien skinjobs (yeah, I watch Battlestar Galactica, so?) who were holding us hostage.

Now I don’t mean they were of the Lucy Lawless or Michael Trucco variety skinjob.  No, these are my geeky dreams…they looked more like Breckin Meyer from Clueless.  I think one was actually named Travis, now that I think about it.  Anyway, moving on…

I don’t know if we saved the earth from aliens.  My alarm went off just as Robby was whispering his Great Plan to us, whispering because the aliens and my niece Joy had fallen asleep and my sister was threatening us with death if we woke her up.  Why all the anxiety?  Well, that brings me to the third point of my post… hazelnut latte.

I don’t really have all that much to say about it other than I’ve had too much lately, it’s caffeinated, and I had to have a third point because I am the daughter, sister, sister-in-law, and niece of United Methodist ministers and that sort of structure wears off.

So now that I’ve wasted all this time not noveling, it’s time to grab my lunch and crack open the other laptop and get that word count up.  Or just play bubble safari.  Who knows.