If I remember correctly, there is an episode of Arthur where the show’s namesake is going crazy over the fact that he has done nothing over the summer and is recklessly attempting to right his lack of activity within the last few days before school starts-and then he finds a list of all the adventures he’s gone on and all the books he’s read and all is rectified as he realizes the amount of things he’s accomplished. I am currently experiencing a similar reaction to school beginning tomorrow, but, logically, inactivity cannot be a considerable option between this summer and I. We’ve become very close.
On a whiteboard I have hung up in my bathroom, I have on it written four goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the season:
While the initial point of these goals may have been skewed as the summer progressed, I do feel as though I have definitely accomplished these things (although running has been skewed into standing for seven hours straight and returning home stiff as a board), as well as many other miscellaneous tasks and trinkets as I made my way closer to senior year.
My summer began with an unfinished book. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell was such an extensive read, it took me three months to read it cover to cover. 624 pages isn’t much when you’re an introverted fifth grader and you wrap up the 800-some-page Twilight book in five days, but when you’re a working gal who also likes to take some time to take care of her social calendar and other needs, 624 pages is going to take up some of your time. I must admit, the read was worth it. I do wish that the suspense I felt during the beginning had held up for the rest of the book, but authors write in waves. There’s the reader on the boat traveling up the wave before they crash into the sea below them with fast-paced prose, and the traveling upwards is the difficult part for most. Three and a half boats out of five.
My buddy Kate the coffee connoisseur also introduced me to the Lyon Street Café, a bake shop and, yes, café with a back-alley ambience, if back alleys were well lit and looked as though they had been decorated by a design-savvy woodsman. Lyon Street Café is also affiliated with the glorious Madcap Coffee that Kate also kindly introduced me to, so if you live near the Martha’s Vineyard in Heritage Hill and want to hit up some phenomenal coffee without going into the city itself, check this place out.
Another friend of mine with a similar name, Katie, meandered over to the Downtown Market with me this month as well. We both enjoy the local aspect of cultural experiences, and this is the closest we could manage to a ‘cultural experience’ without breaking the bank and spending some serious dough at a local fine dining restaurant. We inspected some lovely cacti and houseplants, lounged outside on the deck upstairs while my crepe fell apart as we talked about some goals for the summer we had created for ourselves (one of hers included teaching herself guitar, which she is now in the process of doing so kudos to her!), and before our adventure ended, she introduced me to the wonderful world of bubble tea.
About halfway through the month, I attended a five-day film camp at Compass College of Cinematic Arts and somehow-don’t ask me how we managed-the group I was sifted into (and the other two groups as well; honestly, how in heaven’s name did we manage) wrote, produced, planned, cast, lit, shot, edited, and presented a short film. In five. Days. Five. All groups were met with severe difficulties, such as a shortage of sought-after actors from the acting camp that coincided with ours and less-than-satisfactory boom microphones, but good gravy, the artists in my team really pulled through with the difficulties we had. We did not have the privilege of using a boom mic-ours had to be attached to our camera; and when paired with a wide shot where your characters are speaking, you lack the noise you are wishing to capture and collect all of the white noise you wish you don’t. We had to reshoot a few scenes on our second day of shooting due to such complications, and our editor spent nearly four hours dabbling with the audio once she got her hands on what we had produced to reduce the amount of white noise and amplify the voices of the actors. Ultimately, I would say ours was definitely an amateur production. The fact we produced something was impressive enough to our group, but I must say that the video that my carpool buddy had a hand in creating was by far the best short that came out of the week’s antics. Congrats, Morgan, Sam, and Josh on running the show!
June was also the month I partook in applying for miscellaneous scholarships via the web before realizing that I was best off applying to colleges before I got any more ahead of myself.
Oh, July, how I loved you.
So many things happened this July, however, I would rather focus almost entirely on my last week at my favorite place in the entire world with the most incredible people I’ve met in my entire life. Camp Henry. Now, yes, I dress like I’m ten half the time and have some childish qualities about myself-enjoying camp this much could possibly be considered one of them for some people, but I can honestly say that I would not have grown into the adult (nearly adult but you get the point) I am without the influence that this place has had on me. The positive, outgoing, self-aware, socially woke, wanderlust-filled 17-year-old with the crass, sarcastic sense of humor and love for shock value was born here. I was, I do believe, a body waiting to meet my soul before the presence of the people and whatever spiritual presence makes this camp its habitat affected me. How this has happened, I do not know. It could have been that I have always been this way and communicating/experiencing life with like-minded individuals who vibe well together became a magnifying glass to my personality over the years… It has definitely been gradual, but I attribute myself entirely to those weeks I spent there.
This year, however, was the last year I was able to spend in a cabin with my comrades from Girl’s Village-my girls and I repped’ Souix Cabin while our brothers were keepin’ it fresh in Mohawk. Age 18 is the cutoff age for attending camp as a camper, which is similar to saying you can’t come back to Neverland once you’re an adult. All the more reason to party hard and leave no rock unturned all week.
And as we promised ourselves, the week did, indeed, rock hard.
We hit off the first night’s bonfire with the PJ Squad,
Created a rating system for our daily dumps we deemed the ‘Souix Poop Log’,
Conquered the banana boat,
Climbed the dunes at PJ Hoffmaster,
Tried to take an HSM-worthy jumping shot
and failed a little (Sorry Alex. Looks like that hurt),
Enjoyed the view
-even when we were locked in the park at 11:30 pm and had to wait for someone to unlock the gates,
Bonded with our rad brother cabin,
If I recounted the talent show, the successive nights of stargazing, the song-singing, the high-ropes course-ing, all in detail, we would have a Tolkien-esque novel in front of us. I’ll save that sort of storytelling for those who ask to hear it.
All satire aside, camp has created an undying desire in me to make my life an experience and a desire to make the lives of those who interact with me an experience as well. I would like to take a moment to instill in those that have become a part of this experience with me just the incredible magnitude of your presence in my life. Those that I was lucky enough to have as counselors, those that led my activities, those who run the camp and cultivate the aura of a ridiculously bubbly and infectious safe haven for all people, those that I am now honored to call my friends-even, at the least, acquaintances, people I have only waved to-your existence has made my life so much more fulfilling than I would have believed life could be as a twelve-year old girl and no prayers in the world could give our god the ability to help you see how much I appreciate you. Wherever you are is home.
The week after camp came to a close, two girls who shared a cabin with me (bless you, Bailey and Michelle) surprised me at work and stayed an hour and a half until my shift was over so we could experience each others’ presence again. We ended up attending a concert by a local band at the Meijer Gardens on a whim, and it was the perfect night for such a beautiful concert. We ended up meeting the band, getting our CDs signed, and played their songs in the car on our way to Coldstone and then home. One of the most spontaneous nights of my life.
July also held another concert in store for the summer. Bailey, a friend-of-hers turned friend-of-mine named Charlotte, and I met up with a motley crew of buddies from my school and one of my comrades from film camp at The Pyramid Scheme to watch Watsky perform-a Youtube trick turned successful rapper. His opening act, A-1 slayed with the social commentary. His beats were fantastic, and by the end of his performance I was convinced that I had bought my ticket to watch him perform. The night as a whole was phenomenal, as all concerts tend to turn nights, and I met both of the talented artists who graced the stage before us three girls headed back home.
August was a busy one. I’m tiring myself out just thinking about it. My work schedule increased as the days fell off the calendar leading up to my NYC trip with Maija, and I was filling out as many essays for and questions from the Common App as I could. I found myself turning down multiple invitations to socialize simply because I could not function and taking less and less time for myself because there was just no other choice… which is similar to my current situation, but significantly more intense.
August, for the most part, was just a blur. Up until Maija’s exodus out of the Mitten, I can’t recall much of what I did. Nothing of intense enough weight, it seems, to spell it out in detail-or maybe my brain was too fried from being awake all the time to comprehend what happened the whole month. If you’re interested in reading about what I can recall from August, however, my last post can be found here. 2,500 words describing the essence of a college-bound best friend in a bustling metropolis.
Maybe it’s because it’s the most recent, maybe it’s because it’s been the most action-packed thus far; September has been a nonstop go-fest all week.
On the first of the month, I found myself driving two hours away from home to Hesperia in order to shoot my gorgeous friend from camp’s senior photos. Miss Mandy Purdy is pursuing a modeling career, so if you’re interested in utilizing her talent to forward her career and getting your name out into the wind with professional photos, contact me and I’ll give her your information.
On the second and third, I spent my day handing tacos out of a window.
The second half of the third found me on a spirit bus heading to Jenison with Kate and some beachy-looking kids who were supporting our lovely football team in our Summer 2k15 celebratory wear.
The fourth brought me out for a possible last hoorah in Grand Haven, spent by taking photos on a walk downtown to Jumpin’ Java to attend their open mic night they hold once a month. From 7-10pm I spent my time bonding with two girls I met who also were checking out the scene, deciding I wanted to perform poetry and doing so, deciding along with one of the girls that since she could perform ‘Riptide’ on ukelele that we should and did, and meeting up with the ever so lovely Emma (from, guess where? Camp. Congrats) who spends her years near and summers within the town.
The fifth mostly included catching up on sleep and self-care, while the sixth involved work followed by a bonfire at a friend’s house. We played Cards Against Humanity until the sun set, Paranoia around the fire, and a select few of the party members exhibited their talents for creating fart noises with simply their elbows and a straw.
This has been my summer.
Of course, I reminisce about the highlights. I do believe I have been blessed with a glittering life, but all that glitters must be polished and those that don’t glimmer as brightly as they used to, replaced. This summer has had its fair share of downs, but I’m ever so thankful that the ups have been as intense as the environment I have found myself in has allowed it to be.
Much love and all the luck to you that are beginning or have already begun school,