And the teachers are fantastic. Dr. Scouten and Ms. Savage are super nice and friendly, and they treat you like peers rather than teacher/student. They also have a knack for critiquing your work in an honest and helpful way. They don't sugarcoat anything, but you never feel like they're putting you down. They're very encouraging and never hesitate to challenge you in ways that help you to grow as a writer. I feel very lucky to have such great mentors.
I can't post everything I did over the week (that would be a really long post) but here are some of my favorite pieces:
(This is the first chapter of my YA contemporary, Beneath the Moon and Stars):
Five dollars and twenty-five cents. That’s all that was in my pocket. That and some fuzz. I stared at the frozen foods section for a long time before deciding that Mom would prefer not to use the microwave anyway. Microwaves give off radiation, you know. And Lord knows we could do without any extra hospital bills.
Finally landing on a slightly dented box of instant Mac and Cheese (“Add hot water and enjoy!”) and a package of strawberry Pop Tarts, I proceeded to the checkout line. The line was fairly long, especially for a self-checkout line, so I picked up an over-priced tabloid and flipped through the glossy pages to discover what other see-through fabric Miley Cyrus had passed off as clothing. I was so engrossed--or grossed out--by the article that I didn't notice when somebody walked up to me.
I jumped and blinked up at the teenage boy standing next to me. He grinned from ear to ear, blinding me with his pearly-whites.
He gestured to the tabloid. “Miley Cyrus. Are you a fan?”
I blinked a couple more times. Small talk made me nervous.
“Oh! No. No, I’m not a fan.” I replaced the magazine on the rack. “Just trying to—pass the time.”
The boy nodded wisely. “Time passes too quickly, if you know what I mean. Glad you’re not a fan. I can’t stand people who like her, and you seem like likeable material. Friend potential, even. You know what they put in those? You’re up, by the way.”
My head spun as I stepped up to the checkout counter. He spoke so quickly.
“Put in what?” I asked, once I was able to get my thoughts straight.
“That.” The boy pointed to the box of Pop Tarts. “Disgusting food, if it even counts as food. The glands of a beaver’s backside are used as flavoring for the strawberry ones, and who knows what else? Who’s to say whoever came up with the ludicrous idea didn’t say, ‘What the hell, how about we inject the S’mores ones with the anal substance, too?’ I’m Harry, by the way. Harry Potter.”
He extended his hand. I took it.
“Totally. My parents aren’t that mean. No, I’m Lane.”
“Kya. Kya Williams.”
“Nice to meet you, Kya, Kya Williams.” He winked. He was so smooth while my hands just shook with awkwardness.
I pressed a button on the screen and watched my receipt slide out as the machine chirped, “Have a nice day!”
“Still going with the Pop Tarts, huh?”
I shrugged, not looking at Lane, though I could see out of my peripheral vision that he was smiling.
“They're on sale.”
Lane flipped his carton of peppermint ice cream in the air and placed it on the counter.
“See you around, Kya!” he called, holding his hand up in goodbye.
I gave him a small wave back. “Yeah. Maybe.”
(This is a poem I wrote for a writing prompt we used. We had to take two books from the library--I chose Legend by Marie Lu and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare--and use different words and sentences from the two books to combine them into a poem.):
No news is good news, right?
But that, she knew was a lie.
It's not the best, but maybe if I wander among the guests,
Lost and aimless,
Responding to the sense that her bones were melting and
Breaking inside her.
Eyes immediately shift toward her.
Let me take your hand, and I will give you mine.
I'm going to raise the angel, and I remember the first few.
They went flying.
The light in his eyes,
Went to such a blaze that the
Sparks that painted the clouds overheard as they fell,
One by one,
In streaking lines of golden fire,
Were like angels falling from the sky.
A sign too worn to read rests among the ivy.
It held words once,
But now only the memory of bumps and jagged edges,
A reminder of what once was
Letters and poetry.
Scrawlings and scratches,
The familiar sound of ideas emerging
And words materializing,
Onto the paper.
Here: free from distractions-
beeping and tweeting and pings-
A cacophony of reminders to Check Your Device,
And see who has updated their Facebook page, Twitter feed.
Consumed by the vortex of the online world.
Here it is silent,
Save for the rustle of leaves,
And the gentle rippling of water
As a duck swims around and around and around,
Stuck in an endless loop.
I sit in this haven,
This little tucked away world
Highlights from the week:
-Meeting a girl named Peyton who loves to read and write fantasy, just like me. We exchanged e-mail addresses and are keeping in touch.
-Scoring over thirty points in "Balderdash" (my highest score yet).
-Getting to hear A.S. King speak, and having her recognize me as soon as she entered the room. She walked in and started introducing herself, but got sidetracked when she saw me and said, "Hey, I know you!" (That was pretty cool.)
-Dr. Scouten saying that my writing reminded him of John Green.
-Ms. Savage saying that I have a great voice and how she,"--doesn't want anybody to mess with it" and that she expects my first internationally known novel to be published by the time I'm 20. (I started crying a little when she said that.)
-Seeing signed copies of Fauxpocalypse on display at Aaron's Books. (We went to the bookstore almost every day before we went home.)
-My "extended family" getting to see me present a couple pieces I wrote during the past week on the last day of camp.
|Peyton and me|
|Dr. Scouten and me|
|Ms. Savage and me|
|My "extended family" came to cheer me on|
This is the highlight of my summer, and I think it's safe to say that I'll be back each year until I'm too old to attend anymore. ;)