Category Archives: My Thoughts

If Our Kinship Is A Fire

Kinship.

It’s an old-fashioned word: at its most literal, a blood connection. But also: shared characteristics or origins. Affinity, sympathy, rapport, harmony, understanding, empathy, closeness.

It seems unlikely, even with the heady blend of performance, personal essays, and the topic of motherhood thick in the air, that eighteen strangers could form any kind of lasting bond over the course of two three-hour rehearsals and a single performance.

Kinship.

The spark of it was there as soon as our director sat us down in the first draft of the order of our readings. It kindled amongst shared threads on Facebook. By the time we left the second read through, it burned: a merry little flame of kinship between us.

If our kinship is a fire, it’s a bonfire right now—huge, bright, crackling, still fueled by the power of connection, sharing, sheer nerve, and the magic of performing. Before too long, it will be more the sustained glow of embers. Not nearly so dramatic as the bonfire, but quiet and warm and comforting. That warmth is what we’ll carry in our hearts once the light has dimmed.

I have no doubt that we will carry that light with us. The same way that I still feel the flickering of kinship with the women who shared my camp summers, or the woman who was my first college roommate, or the friends with whom I shared other stages over the years.

Emotional experiences leave their embers in our hearts. The best ones glow forever.

I know I’ve thanked the co-producers and cast of Listen to Your Mother Boston before, but it took me a while to really process the experience. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your stories and your friendship and your sparkle.

I Found My Word: A Listen to Your Mother/Boston 2014 Story

Once, I was fearless.

I stood up and sang solos. I submitted writing to journals. I once told the boy I thought I loved what I felt, even though I knew he didn’t feel the same. Because I was, while gut-twistingly nervous, fearless.

And then some things happened. Things which eroded my sense of self. I have allowed them to drive the bus too long.  (Where is Mo Willems to write this post? Don’t Let Your Fears Drive the Bus!)

I’ve never claimed a guide word for a year before, but I have friends who do it routinely.

There is, as they say, a first time for everything.

In 2014, I am going to reclaim FEARLESS.

I am going to go for it. My fakeittilyoumakeit Aries self is going to be the boss. I realized this about 5 weeks ago when the auditions for Listen to Your Mother/Boston were announced. I had an anecdote and an idea I wanted to explore, but I’d never written it down before. In the span of about two days, I drafted, edited, fretted over, and ultimately submitted the piece and signed up for a spot.

That audition was great. I mean, I enjoyed it. I was happily nervous, excited, optimistic, and okay with not making the cut if that was how the wind blew. A healthy kind of mindset I haven’t really owned in a long time. (Perhaps it’s my thick author skin growing in? You can’t please everyone all the time.) The producers were kind and funny, and I left thinking, “Good on ya, Cam.”

Well, friends, readers, and any Romans or countrymen who might be poking about here today, I was cast!

I am one of 15 men and women who will share our stories about motherhood in the inaugural Boston performance of Ann Imig’s fantastic franchise. Take a moment, if you will, to click the pretty image. It will take you to our casting announcement, where you can meet my cast mates.

If you’re going to be in or around Boston on April 26th, please consider bringing your mother, daughter, spouse, sibling, cool uncle, best friend, hot date, or that total fox from band practice to see the performance. I’ll be comparing a small child to a large fowl. Sort of. Earlybird tickets are just $16.52 (pesky fees) until March 15, and 10% of sales proceeds will support  the Cambridge Women’s Center.

In Fourteen, I will be fearless. I will embrace the challenges, believe I can do what I want to get done, and push myself to be my best self. To see again in myself that fearless girl I once was.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to be FEARLESS about working out, because these performances are recorded for posterity by way of YouTube, and there’s only so much Spanx can do…

Thursday Morning Musings

Overcast today. The autumn sky had that pale indigo daylight quality that I love so much about Fall in New England. I was thinking on my commute, about the various things on my to-do list, and how it feels like the plates I’m spinning are going to come crashing down at any moment, books, publishing goals, my son’s birthday party, the coming holidays, the finances… When I parked my car, I checked Facebook while I was walking to the office, and there was one of those snarky ecards that I generally love, which read “You know you’re a writer when the barista knows your name.”

And it pulled me up short.

Without thinking, I commented, “Or, you know you’re a writer when you can’t remember the last time you went to Starbucks, because you’re too busy working a day job for a salary, freelancing in the evenings, balancing home and family, and collapsing and exhausted heap at the end of the day.” And I didn’t even bring up the writing of fiction, for which I don’t get paid until it’s all said and done and published, purchased, and 60-days-for-royalties paid out.

I felt badly, because my tone might have been perceived as sharp, and it was just a silly Facebook image. So, I went back to leave a little, “Sorry, no pre-coffee commenting for me!” comment. And lo! Apparently, I struck a nerve, because there were a bunch of likes, and I had a warm blossom of I am not alone in this.

When I got to the office, the pale indigo had given way to gunmetal clouds and gusty wind that lifted my scarf off my chest to bat at my chin, and I was buoyed by the fact that I am, in fact, not alone in this.

And neither are you.

A Lost Decade, A Found Purpose, A Big Announcement!

I use Grammarly for proofreading online because otherwise? People might figure out that I spent my twenties not writing.

Okay, I jest. Sort of. I’ve been obsessed with stories for as much of my life as I can recall. I live no less than a double life — sometimes a triple or quadruple life — in my imagination. There are stories flickering behind my eyelids all the time. I read a lot, I wrote compulsively — and badly — throughout my teens. Melodramatic poetry, tangled, angsty love stories, fairy tales… The works.

In college, I studied writing as an academic hobby. I majored in music composition, but I took all the creative writing classes I could cram into my schedule: poetry, fiction, memoir/essay, playwriting, libretto, and screenwriting.

And then, like someone pulled the plug in the tub, all the writing drained out of me. Freed into a world of making a living and commuting and buying cute shoes and meeting boys, I forgot to spin the still-constant flow of stories out into notebooks and computer files.

It wasn’t until I was home with Felix, after I lost my job, that I had that ::headslap:: moment: I should be writing. Not just spinning stories in my ever-daydreaming head. I was thirty-two — ten years out of college. I had a fledgling character who’d been with me a for a while, and one day, I just sat down in front of my laptop and began. Thornton, Vermont, is based on a real place, but the town has become a separate, and nearly as real, place for me. It has a long, rich history, full of other characters and stories, all tangled together the way our lives twine with one another’s.

Cameron D. Garriepy, Thornton Vermont, short story, From the Earth to the MoonIn 2014, I’m looking forward to formally introducing that no-longer-fledgling character to all of you. In the meantime, though, From the Earth to the Moon, a short story set in her world a half-century before she lives there, will be released on November 8.

From the Earth to the Moon is the story of George Cartwright, a young soldier returning home from the Korean War to find that the sleepy, Vermont college town he left feels as alien as the moon he once daydreamed of visiting. George is a dreamer who once craved adventure. The war leaves him longing for a quiet life, but meeting his brother’s effervescent fiancée throws his plans into a tailspin. What adventure does love have in store for George?

This post was sponsored by Grammarly. Wasn’t it nice of them to do that? My personal history and publishing future remain, sponsored or not, entirely my own.