Courtney Goes to Camp
This might be a writer bio, or it might not.
When I was at camp the summer before I turned thirteen, my cabin mates were all sitting around the fire, talking over each other, comparing their hopes and dreams. I was not talking. I rarely talked then. I listened, nauseated, afraid I was going to be asked a question, afraid someone would laugh at me and my face would turn its awful blend of blush and freckles. Still, I was excited. I had hopes and dreams. Maybe someone would think mine were cool too?
I’ve always been a writer. Then, I would write stories of happy orphans, or haunted houses with hearts of gold, or children who received mysterious packages that turned out to be portals to other galaxies. I wrote the same stories everyone else seemed to be reading that summer, so I thought I had a shot at coolness. I waited by the fire, anxious, not sure if I would speak up.
Then I heard a girl (the perfect blonde braid, the one with a dozen friendship bracelets already) say, “I’d love to be on a SWAT team.” My brain was flooded with a billion different signals- say something, say nothing, laugh, cry, agree, don’t agree, run away. I spoke. The circle was silent then, and I spoke, and everyone heard me say, “I’m on the SWAT team at school!” Everyone turned and stared. I did not know any other meaning behind the acronym SWAT. “What are you even talking about?” the blonde girl said. I felt bile rising. I said something wrong, but I didn’t know what it was. Against all instincts, I continued to talk. “You know- Science Women Are Terrific? We got to dissect a pig last year and I made a working solar house and….” That’s when the laughing began.
I don’t remember what happened after that. That’s my most vivid memory of that summer. The rest is a blur of loneliness, tears, and bags of warm sour keys.
This isn’t really a writer bio.
I’m sure I have other anecdotes about my life that better illustrate the type of person and writer I am. But this story is me at my most awkward. I’m still this awkward from time to time. I now know what that girl meant when she said “SWAT.” So I won’t make that mistake again. I make other mistakes instead. I write a lot of them down, and they become my stories.