Skyline Lessons

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It’s getting increasingly harder every day to maintain a positive attitude and outlook, especially when your daily newsfeed is filled with negativity and hints of outright hatred. At times, the stuff in the news can make you sick to your stomach. It’s certainly not an easy task, but try not to let anyone or anything shade your world. Always remember that thunderstorms are temporary.

Growing up during the 60’s and early 70’s in rural Virginia made it difficult to keep a sunny outlook, especially for people of color living in a society that tried to make you feel inferior or secondary.

When I was a little boy I had a revelation during a school field trip. One of my most memorable field trips was when I was at Robert E. Lee Elementary and our class went to the beautiful Luray Caverns, approximately an hour or so drive from Charlottesville, Virginia. If any of you have never been through this part of Virginia, I strongly urge you to put it on your ‘to do’ list. Traveling through Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains is priceless, simply heaven on earth. As a little country boy I was awestruck as I couldn’t stop looking out the window as our chartered bus made its way along the scenic Skyline Drive through the mountains to the Luray Caverns.

As long as I can remember, I’d always been a nerd and had a crazy thirst for knowledge. Regardless of where I was at and whenever I had a chance, I would read newspapers and various magazines in waiting rooms, ect. About a week prior to our school field trip to the Luray Caverns, I had read an article in a magazine about the Emmett Till murder. This was the early 70’s, and this particular article touched upon the approaching twenty-year anniversary of this American tragedy that was one of the sparks which ignited the Civil Rights Movement. Reading this piece as a little boy of color, the article sadden me greatly.

My thoughts and outlook slowly began to change. I kept asking myself how could people be so cruel to one another. Then, about a week later, the very moment our class and a big group of other tourists stepped into the enormous Luray Caverns and was surrounded by the gigantic stalactites and majestic stalagmites, my little kid mind instantly thought how equally tiny we all were in this massive, magnificent cave.

From that moment on, every time I heard or read about a group or someone trying to belittle someone else in an effort to make themselves feel superior, I wish that they could take a trip to the Luray Caverns, step inside, and see how, in the big scheme of things, how we, as human beings, are so very equally small, and that no one is bigger or better than anyone else.

As I grew older, I always try to check out the local natural wonders in my area as a reminder to myself that I, too, am very tiny in the big scheme of things and that I am no better than anyone else.  – Randolph Randy Camp

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Hazel Hill Morning

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After I bought my first car, a ’72 Pinto, I loved the freedom of going to Fredericksburg whenever I could. Don’t get me wrong, growing up in rural Spotsylvania County in the 70’s had its benefits, but going into town was a big deal back then, especially for this young Virginia country boy. Two of my aunts, Edith Mae and Ruth Edna, had moved into the Hazel Hill Apartments in Fredericksburg, and it was such a treat for me to visit them when I wasn’t in school or was off work, usually on Saturday mornings.

Back then, as a somewhat nerdy schoolboy with big dreams, I was fascinated with getting away for awhile, going to Hazel Hill and then later going to the city park where I would sit alone by the Rappahannock River and write down some of my deepest thoughts. Today, in the middle of April 2017, I still find myself blushing whenever I see my book ‘Wet Matches’, knowing that it had its origin as a simple song lyric way back in 1978 and was conceived on that one particular Hazel Hill morning. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Mile 19: A Runner’s Dream

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Don’t give up on people. There’s good in everybody, although in some it’s hidden. Often, a person just need someone to believe in them first, before they start believing in themselves.

My legs were close to giving out. It felt as though I was hitting the infamous runners’ wall. My breathing was heavy and my mouth was extremely dry. I was running the Los Angeles Marathon for the second year in a row. I’ve always loved running, and I ran the LA Marathon as a fundraiser for my favorite charity. I was slowly approaching mile 19 where a line of kids, wearing ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation T-shirts, stood on the side with cups and small bottles of water in their extended hands.

While living in Los Angeles several years ago, I volunteered with The ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation and worked closely with the “dreamers”, which are kids mostly from low-income, gang-infested neighborhoods who are promised college tuition or vocational school funds after they’d graduated high school. Soaked in sweat, I was turning the corner at mile 19 and noticed one of the ‘dreamers’ stepping out from the group of energetic, cheering kids with the cups and mini-bottles of water. She stepped into my path and quickly got my attention while wildly waving a bottle of water. She made sure that I was only getting water from her. This was a special moment for both of us. This particular girl would regularly roll her eyes and typically shrug off helpful advice and guidance from me for the past several months as she struggled to maintain a positive outlook within a household and neighborhood filled with school dropouts and gang members.

I’m writing this piece today because the girl at mile 19 who’d handed me the much-needed water is now all grown up and doing quite well for herself. She keeps in touch with me, and recently had sent me an email, whereby she referenced the LA Marathon and our special moment at mile 19, and then she went on further, thanking me for not giving up on her and always believing in her.

I hope that all of you have someone believing in you, or perhaps, you believing in someone else. – Randolph Randy Camp

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The Journey

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While still in the early stages of development and pre-production, I’m learning from Executive Producer Rachel Rand that ‘The Journey’ will be the official title of the film adaption of ‘Wet Matches: A Novel’. Stay tuned for more updates as this story evolves and slowly comes to life on the silver screen. And I thank you all for supporting me and my work through the years. – Randolph Randy Camp

(Photo: Indie Film Producer Rachel Rand with Screenwriter Randy Camp, 2017)

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Finding Beauty

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Nowadays, in this sometimes chaotic, unpredictable world, it’s becoming increasingly harder and harder to find something…..anything in our daily lives that puts a smile on our faces. On my birthday I got lucky and found some beauty today.

A few minutes ago I took a break from my next manuscript and checked my Facebook page. I saw a post from one of my elementary school classmates who I’d had a secret crush on some 46 years ago at Robert E. Lee Elementary in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. She never knew I had a crush on her, and to this very day, I refuse to reveal to anyone who this lady is, but every time I see one of her updates or posts online it instantly puts a big ol’ country smile on my face. (I find it fascinating that after all of these years this young girl who I’d dreamed about in elementary school and wrote letters to, but never had the courage to give them to her, is now one of my Facebook friends.)

From the bottom of my heart, Thank You all for your wonderful birthday wishes, and I sincerely hope that all of you also find some beauty in the simple things in this sometimes complicated, negative world of ours. – Randolph Randy Camp

(Photo: Recent birthday gift from one of my daughters, Randie)

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Shine On Baby, Shine!

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Ever since I can remember I was always attracted to stories that had a bit of truth in them and the ones that left me with a sense of hope that things will get better. And, to this day, when I write my own original stories, I try to embed bits of hope and a sense of truth in them as well. Without a doubt, the book ‘The Little Engine That Could’ changed my life as a kid, and certainly lit the first spark of inspiration for me becoming a successful writer one day.

What are your favorite books or movies? In the movie department, ‘Imitation of Life’, ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’, ‘Butterfield 8’, ‘Billy Jack’, and ‘A Patch of Blue’ are my personal all-time favorite films. Each one of these movies had touched me in a special way when I first watched them so many moons ago, and each of them definitely had a hand in giving me the audacity to dream and possibly think that one of my very own stories would ever grace and come alive on the big silver screen some day.

As 2017 continue to roll out, I sincerely hope that all of you, especially my dear fans,  readers, friends, and followers from all around the globe, become one step closer to your own goals and dreams, and that your life will continue to shine with an abundance of  inspiration, hope and truth.  Yes, indeed, I hope you all shine brightly in 2017! Shine On!- Randolph Randy Camp

(PHOTO: Independent Film Producer Rachel Rand with Screenwriter Randy Camp, 2017)

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Valentine’s Lessons

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Of all the life lessons and love lessons I’ve experienced over the years there’s one that truly stands out. I originally wrote about it awhile back in a post entitled ‘My Spotsylvania Nights’. It was the late 70’s and I was 17 years old, hastily diving into manhood. This particular September night would change my life forever, as it gave me a glimpse of the real world and helped to shape my current views about women and dating. Here’s the original post:

As in countless towns throughout America, Friday night high school games in Spotsylvania County was the place to be, especially when the Spotsylvania Knights was playing their greatest rivalry, the James Monroe Yellow Jackets, from Fredericksburg, Virginia. During these Friday night games, many of us had our first experiences with the opposite sex and got a bitter taste of reality as we tried to shed our juvenile skin.

During my senior year at Spotsylvania High, I would leave school and sometimes go directly to work at the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in Fredericksburg. While working as a busboy and dishwasher, I’d worked up enough nerve to ask a fairly new waitress out for a date. The first time I saw her I wanted to be with her. During our lunch breaks we would chat and laugh about our high school lives. We made a date to meet up Friday night at the Snack Shack just before the big game between the James Monroe Yellow Jackets and the Spotsylvania Knights.

I arrived early at the Snack Shack nervous as hell but looking sharp. This was going to be a big night for me because I truly thought that one of my mannish dreams would be realized. As this particular night unfolded however, I slowly became aware that our hopes and dreams come in many shapes and sizes and that we have to prepare ourselves for the different angles in which things present themselves to us. What I’d initially viewed as an awful experience actually was my most valuable lesson.

After waiting for twenty minutes for my date to arrive, the lady behind the Snack Shack service window gave me a look of concern. I instantly looked away, pretending not to notice her look because I was too embarrassed that my date hadn’t showed up yet. The Snack Shack was quiet briefly because the football game a short distance away had started already. From a distance, we could see the bright stadium lights illuminating the dark Spotsylvania sky and we could faintly hear the stadium cheers of the fans. The lady at the counter knew that I was hurting and instinctively knew why I was hurting. She motioned me towards the service window and kindly said, ” You want to eat some fries with me? It’s my break and it’s on the house.” Shame-faced, I shook my head ‘no’ and slowly stepped away.

About fifteen minutes later my date still hadn’t arrived. Once again, the lady behind the counter approached the service window with a large order of fries in her hand. She tapped on the window to get my attention. She could easily read the obvious frustration and embarrassment on my face as I repeatedly sighed at the side patio table. She motioned me to come to the window. This time I accepted her offer as she tried her best to cheer me up with stories of her school days and all of the boys who’d stood her up.

When it comes to dating, still today, some 39 years later, without even realizing it sometimes, I will make my judgments and opinions about potential women in my life not based upon the young lady who’d stood me up, but instead, based upon the beautiful qualities of that wonderful warmhearted lady at the Snack Shack that cool September night.

I’m approaching 56 now, and after all these years, I still think about that kind-hearted lady at the Snack Shack and all the changes I went through during my young Spotsylvania nights.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone! – Randolph Randy Camp

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