The last day of camp snuck up on us! We can’t believe that four weeks have come and gone so quickly. This morning, we imagined that in 15 years, we would return to camp–this time as guest authors! We dreamed up the books we’d be discussing and the pseudonyms we’d write under and drew up our own book covers. Then we handed them all to Nicole, who spread them out and let us guess which cover belonged to which camper.
Then it was time to meet our author of the day, Alex London. Alex wrote the book Proxy, which was inspired in part by the novel The Whipping Boy, and in part by Alex’s own life. One day, Alex spent the entire day at home “writing” (actually he was sitting on the couch watching TV) and when his husband came home to find a sink full of dirty dishes, he gave Alex his death glare. Wishing he had someone else who could take his punishment for him, Alex yelled “FETCH THE WHIPPING BOY!” Sadly, Alex still had to do the dishes, but this event inspired Proxy, which is a retelling of The Whipping Boy, set in a futuristic dystopian society.
Alex told us that growing up, he hated reading, but loved imagining and telling stories, which he found from TV, video games, and comic books. He made up his own stories and after he was sent to the principal’s office on multiple occasions, he realized that stories are powerful because they can make people laugh or get you into trouble! Alex used to be a war journalist and wrote stories about young people in war zones. He worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo with former child soldiers who were learning how to be normal kids again. From that experience, he found that he wanted to write about “the kinds of kids who don’t normally get to be heroes,” which is part of what Proxy is about. He also read us a hilarious letter he wrote in 1991 to himself, telling him that he would be a writer when he grew up (and that he had a really cool girlfriend, which he didn’t).
Alex led a character-building exercise with us, where we all created one character named Ruby Scribe with a pet narwhal named Rebel.
We had lunch in Riverside Park and played one last game of Capture the Flag.
When we got back to camp, it was time for our Friday share. On the Thalia stage, we shared some of our writing, made book recommendations, and showed each other new games.
We also finished up our game of Word Assassins, and declared a winner! When we got back, there were cupcakes and lemonade and (homemade!) cookies waiting for us! We had some snacks, swapped emails, and gave hugs before heading home. It’s been an amazing summer and we hope to see some of our campers back at camp next year or at some of our kids events at Symphony Space this fall.