Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Camp Reflections

Murray Burns: [shouting at rows of houses] Campers! The entertainment committee was quite disappointed in the really poor turnout at this morning's community sing. I mean, where's all that old Camp Chickawattamee spirit? I'm sure I speak for all of us here when I say that I...
Murray Burns: Now, I'd like to say right now that... that...
Murray Burns: Campers, I can't think of anything to say.

(from the conclusion of "A Thousand Clowns".)

I had the opportunity to take the summer off from gainful employment, which has given me my own kind of Summer Camp experience.  More like Camp Mom than Camp Julia, though. In addition to family activities, wedding preparations, ferrying mac to all of her activities, pool dates, crafting, house cleaning, and guest preparation, I have had a lot more time to think about my blog.

Maybe I've had too much time to think about my blog.  I have come to realize that I care too much for what other people think and whether they will like what I write.  So I put pressure on myself to make each post perfect. And if each post doesn't produce a significant response, I go into a slump.  It makes the time that passes between posts longer and longer, as I struggle to get out of my own way enough to be able to write.

Perfectionism is no way to live.  It doesn't do much for your self-esteem as you contract and contort your creative self to become "acceptable." A pursuit of excellence in a true sense means reaching outward and upward. Perfectionism makes you smaller. It distorts your view of yourself, and twists your expectations of others.

So what did I learn at Summer Camp?  I need to get a clearer view of what I want this blog to address, and a saner way to assess how I am doing in meeting my own goals. I shouldn't measure myself by comparison to others. I'm not a watchdog, I don't relay the news, I don't have inside business or political connections, I desire neither to smack folks down or stir up controversy. I'm not selling anything, and I don't have an eye to 'monetize' my writing.

In truth, I'm a miniaturist. I focus on something small and make a connection to something I want to shed some light on. Like this:                                                                                                                        

These are grains of sand, highly magnified.  It's amazing the beauty and diversity that can be discovered here.
Without a closer look, we'd see this:

But I look at that magnified world and see all the zany, weird, wonderful, cranky, stubborn, independent, and caring people in Columbia and Howard County. It's Us. It's our "class picture." How on earth are we ever going to get along? Take another look at the picture--which one is you?

It is the view and the connections that are important to me.  The beauty of who we are, and the interactions we have with one another. And that's what makes a Village Green or a Town Square so important.

I offer special thanks to all of you who, by lending your presence, make this spot on the web an interactive endeavor.


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