Understanding Turtles

falsedandelionsRandyCamp

A few years ago, I remember telling my friend that I was thinking about writing a story about a character named Turtle. She misunderstood me and replied, “Randy, I know that you love to write but I didn’t know that you wrote children’s books also.” Our conversation was brief but ended on a positive thought so I left it as that and didn’t bother to explain myself further. Actually, Turtle is one of the main characters in my novel FALSE DANDELIONS, a Southern tale about the lives and dreams of underdogs. Turtle is an aging street dog who is tired of always being somebody else’s errand boy and struggles to break out on his own.

Sometimes, we all may find ourselves in a place where we don’t want to be. And at times, there’s no difference between people like Turtle and you and I. Every single day of the week somebody is struggling to climb out of their hole. I believe that there’s a little Turtle in all of us, and that’s why I wrote False Dandelions. The better we understand people like Turtle, the better we can reach out and help them.

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

Posted in Author Randolph Randy Camp, Books, country star, Crime Fiction Novel, emerging writer, False Dandelions, Fredericksburg, Interracial love, interracial love story, Novel, Rappahannock River, rcstories, Southern Crime Fiction, Southern Noir Fiction Novel, Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania County, writer, writing tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Staying Humble

Author Randolph Randy Camp

Author Randolph Randy Camp

No, I don’t drive a fancy car or have an assistant or an entourage. Instead, my riches come from my readers who take the time to send me an email with a question or two about my writings and sometimes a question or two about myself. It always brings a smile to my face when I check my email and there’s a long list of messages from my readers. Coming from humble beginnings as a child I try not to let my head swell too much when I’m getting any attention or requests for an interview or a book talk.

A couple weeks ago, I’d received an email from a young lady in Amherst, New York, which is a very affluent area outside the city of Buffalo. She’d explained to me that her small book club had just read one of my novels and they would like to have me come in person for a meet-the-author book discussion.

A few evenings ago, I went to this young lady’s residence (which actually is a mini-mansion) in Amherst and I took part in their book club’s very lively and engaging discussion. When I first arrived there I saw colorful finger foods and appetizers that looked so delicious but I surely didn’t know what they were or how to pronounce their names, and I was treated like I was really somebody.

The very next day, just to keep myself in check, grounded and down to earth, I went to volunteer at the popular soup kitchen near Utica and Main Street in Buffalo, and I helped the staff there with serving lunch to a sizeable crowd of homeless and street people. I truly know what it’s like to be standing in line at a soup kitchen, and sometimes I have to physically revisit that reality just to keep myself humble.

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

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I’ll Never Forget My Hometown

Randolph Randy Camp, Spotsylvania High School

Randolph Randy Camp, Spotsylvania High School

At age 18, I wrote a “LETTER TO THE EDITOR” which was published in the local newspaper FREDERICKSBURG FREE LANCE- STAR on June 5, 1979…

PUT SOMETHING BACK, GRADUATES URGED
To the Editor:
I am a senior at Spotsylvania High School and will be graduating in a couple of weeks. This year many seniors from our area high schools will be going away to colleges and trade schools to become professionals in the business world and other fields. I hope that many of us will return to this area to put our skills and special training to work. We must not forget where we come from or those who helped us to get where we are (or will be). I can’t speak for every senior, but I have taken something very valuable from this area, and I feel that I must put something back to show my appreciation. I am speaking of education. I have learned that a person should give if he or she has received. I hope that the class of ’79 will join me in the future to reimburse our hometown.
RANDOLPH CAMP
Spotsylvania

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Something To Read

Randolph Randy Camp

Randolph Randy Camp

Over the weekend I’d visited someone and noticed that there wasn’t one piece of reading material in her house. Ever since I became involved with the I HAVE A DREAM FOUNDATION in Los Angeles quite a few years ago I made a promise to myself that I would do whatever I could to ensure that a household had some type of reading materials around regardless of the family’s income level. Especially if there were school-age kids living there I would go out and get a magazine, children’s book, comic book or a paperback novel.

Without offending my friend, I told her that I was going to the local library to purchase some old books for her kids. Most local libraries take older books out of circulation and sells them to the public for 25 cents and 50 cents per book. I got lucky and found a bundle of kid’s books in decent shape at the branch library only four blocks away and my friend’s kids were delighted to get their new gifts.

Over the years, especially after working with at-risk youth and low-income families involved with the I HAVE A DREAM FOUNDATION in LA, I’ve noticed a big difference in a kid’s attitude towards school and life in general, if and when they have a sincere interest in reading. A kid’s world becomes brighter when they start reading. Period. – Randy Camp

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp 

Posted in anti-gang, at risk youth, Author Randolph Randy Camp, Books, coming of age, rcstories, reading, troubled teens, troubled youth | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sad Goodbye to My Daisywheels

This morning was a pretty sad morning because I’d finally said goodbye to two friends who’ve been with me for a lot of years. In this techno age of fancy computers, micro-chips, and fast-paced gadgetry, I’d typed my most recent screenplays and manuscripts with my daisywheel typewriters, a Smith Corona SL 480 and a Brother 310 AX Series. If you’re not familiar with these old electric typewriters and daisywheels just picture a bicycle rim with its numerous spokes, only smaller. Similar to a bike rim, a three-inch daisywheel has numerous spokes, with each spoke having a protruding letter, number, or symbol at its end. (A lot of vintage IBM typewriters had a rotating ball instead of the multi-stemmed daisywheel.) These daisywheels, correctable ribbons, and other parts for these aging typewriters are hard to find in office supply stores nowadays and some stores have completely stop selling electric typewriters and their accessories all together.

My Smith Corona was so cool and reliable. She had stylish curves around her edges and she never gave me any lip or back talk over the years. I had typewriters before that would grumble and make funny noises about this or that but my Smith Corona never complained about anything. She just came to work, clocked in and let me tap her keys for hours at a time and would never fuss about a thing.

Well, things were okay up until about a week ago. That’s when the daisywheels on the Brother 310 and the Smith Corona 480 started to rattle a bit and lose their proper fitting next to the ribbon cartridge, which means that a loose-seated daisywheel could potentially cause a writer to get an ‘A’ on the paper instead of the intended ‘J’, and so on.

I’m going to miss seeing the fonts of these electric typewriters. They are very distinctive and unlike any fonts found on today’s computers. I’m going to miss that monotone pitch every time I would tap those old keys. Yes, I’m an old dinosaur but I guess there comes a time when an old dinosaur must make some changes and adapt to its new surroundings in order to survive. – Randy Camp

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

Author Randolph Randy Camp

Author Randolph Randy Camp

Posted in Author Randolph Randy Camp, manuscript, Modern Writer, rcstories, screenplay, typewriters, writer, writing tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Process: My Writing Method

Contemporary Writer RANDOLPH RANDY CAMP

Contemporary Writer RANDOLPH RANDY CAMP

During every classroom book talk that I’ve been invited to at least a handful of students would always ask me about my writing technique or if I had a particular method of writing. Growing up poor in rural Spotsylvania County, Virginia, making up stories and writing became a necessary escape and a form of survival for me. Between my early school years at John J. Wright and Robert E. Lee Elementary, I had a great training ground as a storyteller. During those elementary years, some of the teachers, on the first day of school, would have us stand up and tell the rest of the class what we did over the summer. I remember one particular summer when I was flying high up in the air, walking dangerous trails in another state, and even saw the open mouth of a mountain lion from a few feet away! (Yeah, right.) Actually, that particular summer, the most exciting thing I did was going bike riding through the Spotsylvania Battlefield Parks with my brothers and cousins. When you have classmates speaking about their summer vacations at Yellowstone and Disney World I just had to come up with something to compete with that and my bike trip through the parks wasn’t it. Ever since I was a young boy, I used to have these wild, weird dreams and sometimes I was so excited and fascinated by them that I couldn’t wait to tell somebody else. I remember telling a few kids during recess about this one particular dream that I had and they all looked at me as if I had lost my mind. This was a turning point in my early years because I became very particular about who I would share my stories and dreams with, and I soon became somewhat of a quiet little boy. One of my early teachers told me that I should write my dreams down, and ever since then it seems as though I can’t stop writing. And if you’re an aspiring writer and there are people around you who are giving you a look and maybe calling you crazy, well, don’t worry about it. Just remember that people tend to call anything that they don’t understand ‘crazy’. You just keep on writing. I haven’t changed my method of writing over the years, even with the advent of the constantly-changing techy devices we have nowadays. Whether I’m writing a screenplay, novel manuscript or a short story, I always draw up an outline and I always write out a basic character bible, especially for my main characters. Writing a basic character bible is extremely helpful because it makes it easier for you, as the writer, to remember where your character came from, why he or she talks or behaves in a certain way, and the character bible also helps you (as a writer) to prevent your characters from sounding the same. I would hand-write the first and second draft, and then, typically, the third draft gets typed up. The greatest advice I have for any aspiring writers is to pay close attention to your characters’ voices, and to make sure that each of your characters have their own unique voice, never sounding like anyone else within your story. – Randy Camp

Learn more at http://www.shelfari.com/randycamp

Posted in Author Randolph Randy Camp, bikes, coming of age, Novelist, rcstories, screenwriter, Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania County, writer, writing tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accepting Limitations

Writer Randolph Randy Camp speaking with Students from East High School in Buffalo, NY

Writer Randolph Randy Camp speaking with Students from East High School in Buffalo, NY

It was a thousand moons ago when I first saw the movie ‘Butterfield 8′, and that’s when I’d first fell in love. Although I barely had a tease of a peach fuzz mustache, Elizabeth Taylor and I was going to “be together”, and then something happened — reality set in and I grew up. As a naïve, young boy of color growing up in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, at the edge of the rural South during the 60’s and early 70’s, quite a few of my far-fetched dreams were squashed by the harsh realities during those changing times in America. My boyish, dreamy desire to be with Elizabeth Taylor was only one of countless dreams dissipated as I matured into puberty and slowly aged toward my teen years. It seems like I’ve been dealing with disappointments and rejection practically all of my life. Whether it was the color of my skin, the way I looked, or the way I dressed, I had many doors shut in my face during my youth, and believe it or not, I’m so very grateful for that now because those rejections and slamming doors years ago have thicken and layered my skin and have given me an unbelievable focus and drive to just try and to never stop trying. One of the hardest things to do in this world is to genuinely accept your limitations, especially as you work towards your goals and desires. Accepting your limitations keeps you grounded and closer to reality and more true to yourself. But, to be quite honest with you, one of the things I do like about not growing up and throwing my limitations out the window is that it allows me to dream my little crazy dreams…….just like when I was a boy getting all gooey inside watching ‘Butterfield 8′. I’m 53 years old now and, actually, I still get all gooey inside when I’m watching ‘Butterfield 8′.  – Randy Camp

More at http://www.shelfari.com/randycamp

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