Eleven weeks seems like a strange amount of time to mark, unless that's how long you lived in a dome-shaped tent in the summer of '93. For eleven weeks, my sisters and I roamed Battle Run Campground, swimming, and storytelling, and roasting whatever would fit on the end of a stick.
Little bits and pieces of those eleven weeks are always with me. Of course there is the obvious, the crackle of fire and the green splash of lake water, but there's other stuff, too. Like when I unzip my duffel at the Writer's Conference, the noise is exactly like my bedroom door at the campground. Like any time I see initials carved into wood, I think of the names kids carved into the campground's climbing tower, which they tore down years ago. When I wrote my name there, in blue ink from the pen I always carried, I thought it would stay there forever.
In a way, it has.
Eleven weeks from today, BODY OF WATER will be released, and a kid named Ember will tell you about her summer in the campground, so different from mine – but I hope, just as permanent. Once we get there, if you would, take just a second and turn around and look back to this spot right here, and think about how much time that actually is to live in a campground. By the time we left, the tents were worn through and the fires burned low to embers. We were taller and tanner, older and wiser, and we knew how to make a place home.
It's a skill I've used plenty more times over the years. But that's a story for another novel.