Bruce said the worst part about
camp (besides homesickness)
was standing up for 45 minutes
during viola choir I was like,
"DUDE! I beg you, do NOT
say that in front of Eleanor.
She may end you."
- Wake up early.
- Stand up and sing for 12 hours.
- Go to bed.
- Repeat for 3 days.
- Go home and sleep for a week.
I mean, they do let them sit down to eat, but that's pretty much it. (They claim it has to do with breath support, but, as a seasoned parent, I suspect it also has to do with wearing them out so they're easier to supervise.) In addition to standing, they get to do some hiking around campus in the middle of a Texas summer. Plus, there's a fun dance, where the more energetic and social kids actually dance, but where my introverted alto (I realize that may be redundant) made a beeline for Starbucks and watched YouTube, declaring it "best evening EVER."
Choir camp registration also starts first thing in the morning (so as to allow more time for standing and singing), so we drove to Denton the night before and explored the downtown area. For those who haven't been, one of the key features is a three-story used bookstore housed in a former opera house. There are nooks and closets and rooms and alcoves and balconies. You could be looking at a bookcase titled "European Period Horror" and look around the corner to find a small room of "Metaphysical Fiction" beyond which is the "Marine Biology and Maths" closet. There was a shelf of "Nude Male Photography" that we walked quickly past on our way to "Philosophical Biographies" and "Blacksmithing."
|Really. One wonders whether the wee folk often stop by Denton on holiday from the Shire and whether there was a Hobbit-sized Pipe Lore section we missed by not going to the basement, perhaps in a closet behind a round door.|
Unfortunately, we got there 30 minutes before closing time, so we didn't get too much time to explore. (However, dinner at GreenHouse is HIGHLY recommended. They may not be able to spell bruschetta, but dammmmnnn, they can cook it.) But in that 30 minutes, I was able to find two books on my reading list.
The first, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, was beautifully written, compelling, immersive...and just plain brutal. By about page 300, I was like, "I am going to keep reading this book until I finish it because YOU OWE AT LEAST ONE OF THESE CHARACTERS A HAPPY ENDING AND I'M GONNA KEEP READING UNTIL THEY GET IT!" If you count "rebuilding an orphanage after your family is exploded in front of you, you're almost murdered, and you have to abandon your goat" qualifies as a happy ending, SCORE!
The second book, Loving Day, by Mat Johnson, was significantly less gruesome, but just as powerful, though in a fantastical, witty style. The book deals in many ways with the boxes we shove ourselves (and others) into. The main character Warren, who is biracial, looks "white" but identifies as "black" and is constantly trying to pick a side, with often hilarious consequences. When he finds a mixed race group, you'd think he was finally on the path to self-acceptance...but what happens is the group subdivides itself, using a ludicrously sketchy test, into "oreos" and "sunflowers." By the climax, you have a very segregated group inside the walls of the compound being picketed by blacks who feel they're too white and whites who feel they're too black.
In a way, the book is a microcosm of America. We reduce our identities to bumper sticker slogans and then treat any difference of opinion as a betrayal of the group. Yet, if we were to take a few giant steps back off the emotional ledge, we might start to see that we are too big and complex for the boxes we're trying to cram into, that trying to fit into one category (liberal, conservative, whatever) forces us to dangle important parts of ourselves over the edge. When Warren and his daughter are sitting together, staring down into the id of an empty cellar, you get the feeling that maybe he's finally grasped the ridiculousness of all those boxes and that, ultimately, the only box that matters is love and that isn't a box at all.
|Bob, however, can cram himself into any box and still look adorable.|