Finding Strength: Coping With Grief

Melinda 1Melinda2_2019_jpeg

When you look at some people and see them smiling, I swear, you might be surprised to find out that there’s a whole lot of pain and grief hidden underneath that smile.

Not to get too technical, but within the several stages of grief, I’m definitely far from the upward turn. However, during my conversations with Melinda (who’ve been grieving in her own way for quite awhile now) I’ve been able to learn a thing or two and gather some strength.

Coping with the loss of a loved one is one of our toughest challenges. Melinda has been hit by this very issue, and although it devastated her, I must say though that I’m impressed by the way she’s able to find her ‘moments’, her little moments of strength.

With the loss of my grandson Anthony recently, I, myself, found a bit of strength during my conversations with Melinda. I’m nearly sixty years old, and it’s kind of amazing how this young lady has impacted my life, especially as I’m currently going through these stages of grief.

And once again, I would like to thank all of you who’ve been supportive (in any such way) as myself and our family are still coping with the loss of my grandson Anthony.

If you’re currently going through the stages of grief, I hope that, somehow, you too, are finding your little moments of strength. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Make Magic Happen

Randolph Randy Camp

There’s something uniquely special about you. Discovering this special thing inside of you will be your gift to the rest of us.

Along your journey there will be some who will try to belittle and ridicule you. There will be some who can’t wait ’til you fall or fail, but don’t let anyone slow you down.

In my own life experience, I’ve personally witnessed the beauty of staying true to yourself and staying positive. If you continue to believe in whatever your passion is and always follow your heart you will find out that people will gladly support you and your aspirations. These are the people that will extend their hand when you fall, instead of laughing at you. And this is why I’ve always believed that there are definitely more good people in this world than negative ones.

Sometimes it’s hard to see and realize that uniquely special thing inside of you because you’re constantly in survival mode or simply trying your best to maintain your sanity due to all of the crap surrounding you. If you keep believing in yourself, one day you will make magic happen when you find a way to turn that negative crap into something positive. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Brick by Brick

Randolph Randy Camp RC

You’re capable of doing whatever you want to do. You are here for a purpose. Your thoughts and dreams are important. Regardless of your age, your zip code or your skin color, remember that there’s no expiration date on your goals and dreams. You were born for a reason. Rejection and ridicule are obstacles, but mere pebbles in the road. Don’t get discouraged. Dreams don’t expire. Brick by brick, step by step, keep your eye on the ball. You will get there. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Everybody’s Thing


Teen homelessness leads to human trafficking. Human trafficking leads to HIV. This is an endless cycle, which keeps evolving. This isn’t someone else’s thing. This is everybody’s thing. Sadly, the numbers are still rising, even in your hometown. Spreading the word, being more aware, and getting involved are little things in which we all can do to help confront youth homelessness. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Education: The Priceless Tool


It’s back-to-school season again and this can put a financial strain on a lot of families. Over the years, many non-profits, charitable and religious organizations have helped to relieve some of this financial burden from families by giving away free backpacks and other common school supplies.

Education is the most valuable tool you can equip your child with. I believe this wholeheartedly. My family was economically poor when I was coming up, but education made me rich in so many other ways, and it has opened so many doors for me.

Volunteering and working within the social field and the juvenile justice system over the years, I’ve personally seen the tremendous impact of a kid having a positive attitude towards school versus a kid who doesn’t. As I often say, “It’s better to pick up a book than a gun.”

When a kid stays in school they make better decisions, and, as mentioned before, so many more doors will open for them. Let’s do whatever we can to keep encouraging our youth to maintain their positive attitude towards school and their education.

If you know of a family in need and could use a free backpack and other school supplies, please check your local area for agencies and organizations participating in these Free Backpacks – School Supplies Giveaway Events taking place soon.  – Randolph Randy Camp

*(Note: If you reside in the Des Moines area, please check out the Free Filled Backpack Event at Polk County River Place on Saturday, August 3, 2019, or go to  for more details.)


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Turning Negatives Into Positives

Randolph Randy Camp Wet Matches

Regardless of your age, gender, color, background, or which side of town you live on, you deserve to be happy, and always know that you are precious and uniquely special. Please don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.

One of my most enjoyable and greatest perks as a youth advocate and a writer is getting invited to various schools for classroom book talks. I absolutely love being around young, engaging students who genuinely care about their future and what’s currently going on, not only in America, but what’s happening all over the world as well.

Of course, these book talk sessions are primarily about one or two of my books, in which the students had read for a class assignment. But often, these book talks will slightly go off-topic, as a student may ask me a personal question, or perhaps, a student may get inspired to share some personal experience from their own life which relates to the story we’re discussing.

Just before summer break recently, in Kansas, a student had asked me what had inspired me to write my first novel ‘Wet Matches’? I love answering this particular question because it gives me a chance to talk about turning your negative experiences into something positive.

On the surface, we all know that ‘Wet Matches’ is about five homeless teens getting a second chance at a better life when a California couple takes them in. But the deeper origin and backstory of why I wrote ‘Wet Matches’ stems from my memory of being called the N-word at age 5 by a bigoted White man at a grocery store in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

I’ll never forget how low and dirty I felt when he’d called me that awful name. It made me feel worthless, like ‘wet matches’. So, as I got older and started to write more and more, I eventually turned this awful childhood experience into something positive. As I began to work on the first draft of ‘Wet Matches’, I would make quite a few changes to the plot and storyline but I always stayed true to the underlying tone and central theme, which is that absolutely no one, including the 5 homeless teens, should ever be treated in such a way that makes them feel worthless, no good, like ‘wet matches’.

As I’m telling the students about the deeper origin of ‘Wet Matches’, I always love it when one of the students suddenly feels moved to share a bad experience from their own life and then the whole class gets to weigh in on possible different ideas and ways to turn the student’s negative experience into something more positive.

‘Wet Matches’ won the Quarter-Finals Prize at the Writers Network Fiction Competition in Los Angeles. In 2012, The White House honored me with the President Volunteer Service Award due to the awareness ‘Wet Matches’ raised about teen homelessness and its correlation with rising HIV issues in America. (This 2012 Presidential Award is signed by President Barack Obama, and is encased and displayed in my hometown at the John J. Wright Educational Cultural Center Museum, located at 7565 Courthouse Road in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.)

As many of you journey through life, I hope that you also will try your best to turn any negative experiences into something more positive. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Getting Started

Randy Camp.Mobile.Library

Whatever you want to do in life you can do it. I didn’t realize it back then but the seeds of becoming a writer probably were planted years ago in rural Spotsylvania County when I used to sit along the banks of the Rappahannock River and sort of daydream for hours while watching the water flow.

Yep, when I was a little boy I definitely was one of them book nerds who paid more attention to the Rappahannock Regional Mobile Library route schedule rather than caring whether or not if the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

I owe some of my early dedication to a few of my elementary school teachers in Spotsylvania who gave me encouragement, especially when I naively would tell friends and classmates about some of the wild stories and dreams in my head and how the Rappahannock River was like a friend to me. I eventually became a somewhat quiet, shy kid because some of these kids would make fun of me and call me crazy. But I’ll never forget the day when one of my teachers said, “Randy, you’re not crazy, people tend to quickly call anything crazy that they don’t understand, and you’re just crazy about your stories, that’s all, so just start writing them down instead of telling the other kids about them.” Needless to say, I couldn’t stop writing after that.

Today, I’m so blessed and grateful to have readers, followers, and a small-but-growing fan base. Periodically, I would receive emails from aspiring writers from around the world expressing general comments and questions about getting started and copyright protection.

If you’re a budding writer and would like to know more about getting a literary agent, proper novel manuscript format, writing great query letters, or just general questions about protecting your material with the Copyright Office, here are a couple Links that could be helpful:

1. US Copyright Office (

2. Writers Guild of America, East (

Lastly, it might be hard to believe, but it’s actually true that getting started on any or whatever your goals and dreams are can simply start by getting your library card, simple but actually true. – Randolph Randy Camp

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