I’m a Happy Camper. No, not just happy or excited about something… but actually THRILLED because as of today I’ve lived in Happy Camp, California for TEN YEARS! In the same home/house/cabin/domicile! This is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere, ever! I must like this humble little red cabin. (I do like it – a lot!)
This morning I woke up early to make sure my nineteen year old son got on the Stage to head out of town for Yreka. The ‘Stage’ is the name of the bus company. We live in a remote section of northern California – near the Oregon border – about seventy miles from the nearest town (during winter that is, when the pass to Oregon is closed by snowfall.) Though my son is nineteen he’d never before taken the Stage out of town on his own.
When I arrived at Double J – the liquor store and tiny market and video store – he was there already buying his breakfast, so I really didn’t need to worry about him missing that bus, like he did last week. This time he was up and at it. Nonetheless, he was happy to see me and we stood and had a chat while waiting for the Stage.
I told him, “I find it ironic that you’re celebrating your tenth anniversary of moving to Happy Camp by leaving town.”
He wanted to take his BMX bike with him. The Stage driver said “no” and he turned around and nearly left, disappointed.
I told him, “Put the bike in the back of my car and get on the bus!” And he did!
I worried about him getting back to the bus stop in time to take the Stage home. This is Monday and the next Stage to Happy Camp is on Friday, and he needs to be at work on Thursday. However I was pleased beyond measure that when the Stage arrived back in Happy Camp at 5:15 in the afternoon, he was on it, packages in hand and new shoes on his feet. He’s adjusting fine to adult life, and I’m very happy to observe this. What a relief it is for the mom of a young adult! I gave him a ride home because he had too many packages to ride his bike the block and a half to his trailer.
My son may never be a great writer, but he is a budding artist. He showed me a drawing he’s doing. He said, “It’s not very good. It’s just practice.”
I said, “It looks okay to me, and by the time you finish practicing on the 100 pages of that drawing pad, you’ll be very good indeed!”
Like my son, I am practicing. As I make my baby steps toward publication with the novels I’ve been revising, I also take time for writing practice, producing short articles, or flash fiction. I’ve developed a real love for flash fiction and have another of my short stories submitted to a publisher now. This won’t make me rich, but it is a fun hobby.
During my ten years in this cabin I’ve written more than ten novels. Most of them still need revision. I like the first drafts because they’re like clay in my hands, with their own pleasing texture, ready to be molded into something I could publish.
This week I’m revising my short middle grade novel, River Girl. I developed the idea not long after moving to Happy Camp, and now, years later, it is nearly ready for publication. I love the story and my critique group friends liked it too. It is a historical novel, about a girl who moved to Happy Camp, many years ago.