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I Used To Tell Stories

August 22, 2012

My parents started sending me to summer camp at age 8.  This seems young to me, but I think they were eager because their own families had never had the money to send them.  I’m sure it was my mom who picked the first one: Circus camp.  Trapeze, stilts, tightrope and everything.

But I didn’t care for that camp, and so the next summer I went to a different one.

And a different one the next summer.

And the next.

It was tough to find a fit, I guess.  I was, I admit, a reluctant participant.  I fainted off the saddle (semi-on purpose?) in horseback riding camp; tried to fake amnesia to get out of soccer camp.  And I was embarrassingly far beyond age 8 at the time of that little stunt.

All told, I dipped my summer toe into circus camp, golf camp, soccer camp, marine biology camp, choir camp, horse camp.  Never finding a home, until … writing camp.

Eight weeks practicing creative nonfiction.  Memoir; ‘true’ stories.

I think those were the only two institutional summers where I didn’t care a whit about the food we ate.  I was immersed.  Hours melted away as I tap-tapped my six typing fingertips (still haven’t fully recruited the pinkies and rings) in a sterile, airless, white-walled computer lab at the University of Virgina.  I might as well have been on top of Mount Everest.  It was joyful one-pointedness, a feeling familiar, seven or eight years later, during my first deep formal meditations.  This was the summer I turned 13, and back again at 14.

This memory came back to me today, and I realized: I used to tell stories.

Then I learned to argue.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2012 7:03 am

    Beautiful post. The last two lines are excellent.

  2. August 23, 2012 8:57 am

    Thanks Roger. :) You are always so encouraging, and I appreciate it!

  3. Thumbelina permalink
    August 28, 2012 5:26 pm

    Lovely. Now: the story telling that helps the argument resonate.

  4. Stefan permalink
    September 1, 2012 10:52 am


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