When I went to SeaCamp on lovely Big Pine Key during my teen summers, the last night of camp was tres emotional. (We were teens, age 13-18, after all!) The camp had a huge luau, with the best food of the 3 week session. There was an old wooden canoe FULL of fruit, a table full of desserts, salad, ribs, just a whole plethora of deliciousness. After lights out, all the girls “snuck out” and seranaded the boys cabins. The other songs changed, but the last song, always, was “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” by John Denver. (Now, this was the late Seventies, early Eighties, and that song came out in 1966, so I’m assuming this was a long standing tradition.) And we’d weep! We’d barely make it through the song. It was tragic, delicious, just perfect for teenage girls and their angst.
Today is the first “validation day” for Camp NaNo, and there are only 5 days after today before we’ll be metaphorically packing our bags and heading home. I don’t know that I’ll be singing any John Denver songs, but I will feel some of that bittersweet feeling. The NaNo format works for me. I like the encouragement and conversation with other writers. I like that we’re all making messes and not caring. I like that we’re not even going to have to clean up Camp – editing comes later. Just like my last year at SeaCamp, I’m doing 2 sessions this summer, so I’ll be back for August, as a rebel (I’m doing a screenplay). And like that summer, the campers will be different and so will the challenges and successes.
I have 75,608 words now, and probably 5-6 days at the most to finish. Yesterday I left the doldrums, which, as a sailor, I definitely compare to finally feeling that freshening wind that fills the sails just before you take off. My writing time was limited by travel yesterday, and we’re at the beach this week, but I expect that the writing will move along quickly from here, and that’s exciting. And the end is in sight, and even when you like your characters and your plot and even your first draft, that’s a marvelous thing to behold.