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Thursday, July 20, 2017

NYC, NY and Lessons on Life

Sunday my family and I went to NYC, NY to meet some friends.

Like a lot of best made plans, the HOPE was that we would meet them, and for more than five minutes between subways. Unlike many of those plans, we actually DID manage to meet and even share a meal together.



Before we met our friends, my family toured NYC via ferry. If you want to see a lot of the city while ignoring people, do it by boat. I liked our tour guide, but wished I could have turned down his volume. And I definitely felt like the video and the audio did not match, because I could never see the things he was pointing out to us (except for the bridges).



The big deal for me on this ferry tour was seeing the Brooklyn Bridge, which for nearly twenty years had been my symbol of all things big city and fashion over function. Things I was over. Things I was not. And even though I saw it from behind the windows of a ferry, and maybe it would have felt different if I had been walking across it, I don't know, but it was right there and I still wasn't impressed.

The piece I wrote about it as an undergrad,  Lecture Notes: the Brooklyn Bridge is not something I have published or that has been widely read, even among my peers and BETA readers. Despite that, it is the essay that has meant the most to me, defined me, and been my mission statement (of sorts) over all this time. A little over a year ago, when my husband's job opportunities might have landed him in the five boroughs instead of Athens, Georgia, I had a massive panic attack. In Pennsylvania, three short hours from NYC, I have not recovered. There are too many things from Lecture Notes that I don't feel I have lived up to. And I hate disappointing anyone.

So I was having this experience that was not easy for me to explain or understand. The lack of awe-struck experience with an old bridge was almost as breath-stealing as a profound experience might have been. I can't help but think of the bridge architect as someone who built a casino for you-know-who and thought he was going to get paid without being screwed. He knew better. I might have warned him, had I known him. But he thought his outcome would be different.

What would move me, on the other hand, would be stories of all the workers who died because their literal choices were between working to death or starving to death. Still I wonder why they collectively could not have picked up the blasted architect and tossed him over his damn bridge. People would get to that point. Labor unions and better working conditions and women's suffrage -- all hard fought battles people lived and died to obtain. And I sit in the AC -- breathless, helpless -- thinking about how far we have and have not been able to come.

I had always believed that a college degree would assure my comfortable life. I don't know why. My parents both had college degrees and were both overworked, underpaid individuals. Their lack of financial success in no small way provided the complete funding of my undergraduate degree. So to look from my parent's experience to that of my college professors who gave the class from which Lecture Notes was born, I just figured it had to be something my parents did wrong. How could a student who wasn't even 20 recognize the boatloads of privilege that separated her professors from her parents? I would learn a lot that year about privilege. Nothing compared to what I know now, which will be nothing compared to what I will know in the next five, ten, or twenty years down the road.

Since I left Arkansas, I have really been thinking about privilege. How one side has used it. How one side can't group together to overcome it. How easy it is to get stuck in one place, unsure whether that place is a safe landing or merely a ledge gripped with sweaty fingers.

New York has many things going for it. Tons of tourism opportunities. Lots of museums. Plenty of offices and skyscrapers. But for my money, I want to do one of two things upon my return. One, I have more friends in Brooklyn and Queens. They know the lay of the land and I would learn a lot from them about their experiences as city dwellers. Two, I would just hop from taxi to taxi, going wherever the drivers took me, learning their histories and making sure they got their daily quota of fares.

Where have your travels taken you? Or where has lack of privilege prevented you from visiting?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Writing and Publishing Class for Kids at Creative York



This summer, I am offering two weeks of my 

writing and publishing workshop at Creative York. 


http://creativeyork.org/classes/summercamps/

Students will create their own stories with an experienced teacher and published author as their editor, coach, and guide. Then, students will learn how to format their creative writing into books they can publish with all the technical details and awesome covers. Each student may have their final story published and even made available on Amazon. Students may bring stories they have written or that are in progress. All writing materials and iPads provided.

Instructor: Phyl Campbell
Location: Creative York, 10 N Beaver St, York

June 19-23 • 1-4pm • $90 • Ages 8-14
July 24-28 • 1-4pm • $90 • Ages 8-14

Follow the sign up links here: June 19-23 or July 24-28

I am also offering a culture and crafting camp each week with Victoria Kageni-Woodard of GUSA by Victoria.
For more information on the

Mwembeni-Safari Cultural Camp

 experience, view MORE or call 717-324-3725

Friday, May 12, 2017

Obligatory Mother's Day Post

Planning to perform this piece tomorrow night at GUSA by Victoria, along with a Mother's Day excerpt from #25Reasons.

Chicken Soup for the Transcendentalist Soul



My mom said
"Eat your vegetables -- And
"Get a good night's sleep.
"Don't forget to say your prayers
"Close your eyes, count some sheep," But

Momma never told me -- How
To achieve perfection -- And
Now I guess I understand -- That
It was something she didn't know.

So I -- Ate my vegetables. And
Said my good night prayers. But
Lay awake in my bed
Too concerned with all my cares. Like

What would I be when I grow up
And who would I marry
Would my kids eat their vegetables
Believe the things that I believe in?

Woke up next morning
Never knowing I was fast asleep
But knowing God was there for me
Prayed the Lord my soul to keep

My mom said
"Do your homework now. And
"That's enough TV
"Are you ready for the science fair?
"Did you study for the Spelling Bee?"

And it got so aggravating
Seemed like she was so caught up
There's so much more to life at school
Than Science Fairs and empty cups.

But I turned off the television
Cracked a book
(or sometimes three). And tried my best to do my best
I wanted her to be proud of me.

Woke up next morning
Never knowing I'd been fast asleep
But knowing God was there for me
Prayed the Lord my soul to keep.

My mom said
"Don't you fall too hard. When
"That first boy looks at you
"You must be kind to everyone. But
"Don't let them walk all over you."

Then came the most disgusting part. She
Wanted to kiss me goodbye. At school
In front of all my friends
I couldn't Hide. Or disappear. Or di
e.

So I let her kiss me then. And
She waved as she drove away.
I'm glad I know she cares for me
Even though I'll never say it (oops!).

What would I be when I grow up
And who would I marry
Would I embarrass my own kids
The way that mom embarrassed me?

Woke up next morning
Never knowing I was fast asleep
But knowing God was there for me
Prayed the Lord my soul to keep.

And now that I'm a mom myself. I'm
Glad she doesn't laugh at me
'Cuz my kid won't eat vegetables. And
Dodges responsibilities.

My soul
Could use some chicken soup. And
My son's hug could fill a bowl. Though
I would like to keep him small
Growing up is his main goal.

What will he be when he grows up
Will he ever marry
And if he questions all I say
Will I be wise enough to hear him?

Woke up next morning
Never knowing I'd been fast asleep
But knowing God was there for me
Prayed the Lord my soul to keep.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Just Sew Stories with GUSA by Victoria


I am putting together a short story collection for an African fashion designer for a series of sewing and crafting camps this summer. Victoria has been in business in York for about a year, and this camp is a brand new thing we are trying. In addition to her marvelous fashions, her shop includes art from local artists. She has also been teaching Swahili and sewing classes, which I think is awesome! I think we are going to have tons of fun this summer.

If you are in York, certainly pay her a visit at GUSA by Victoria.

Anyway, in keeping with her theme of African design for these summer camp experiences, I am writing a book of short stories where sewing or crafting is relevant to the story in some way. I know I am rewriting a Kenyan Cinderella story (no prince, no glass slipper, but a talking flamingo) and a Kenyan version of the Miller's Daughter/Rumpelstiltskin (no baby, no talking animals, but a smart young woman having to find a way out of a bad situation with a tricky suitor).

I also wanted to include some modern stories, and I definitely wanted a few stories were boys were sewing, too. I hope you'll enjoy this first one I want to share with you.

Boys Sew, Too


“Drat! The button came off my sweater and I can’t get this thread through my needle!” Evie complained to her friend Nairobi. Classes had been dismissed early, so students were on the playgorund outside the building. Parents would be arriving soon, but not immediately.
“Can I help?” Evan, a boy from their class, asked.
“You?” Evie scoffed. “Boys can’t sew!”
She and Nairobi laughed at the idea.
“We do, too!” Evan insisted. “When I was very young, I watched my grandfather repair fishing nets. Later, he showed me how. Then, my mother said if I fix any holes I rip in my clothes while playing, I won’t get in trouble for them. So I’m pretty good now.” Evan puffed out his chest with pride, and twisted his leg to show some stitches that were not created by the original designer. “See? Lots of practice.”



Image Created by Phyl Campbell using StoryBoard That!


Evie looked at Evan. Then she looked at Nairobi. Both girls shrugged their shoulders. It was worth a try.
“All right. I guess I trust you.” Evie said finally.
“Gee. Thanks. Thanks a lot.” Evan said with a frown.
“Besides,” Evie added, “buttons are easy. I just can’t get my thread through the eye of my needle, and I left my threader at home.”
“Why don’t you just wait until you get home?” Nairobi wanted to know.
“I don’t get home until late tonight. I have a music lesson, and then soccer practice,” Evie replied.
Evan cleared his throat. “Are you going to let me help? Can I see your needle?”
“I don’t know. CAN you?” Nairobi teased.
“Do you want my help or not?” Evan held out his hand impatiently.
Evie handed him the needle. “You MAY have it,” she said.
Evan held the needle with one hand. The eye of the needle was small, but his plan would still work. He slid his backpack off his shoulder and with his free hand fished out a notebook. He tore a small corner of a piece of paper out of the notebook. He folded the small piece in half and held it to the eye of the needle. Unsatisfied, he tore the piece even smaller, folded it in half again, and held it to the eye of the needle once more.
Evie and Nairobi watched, fascinated.
“What are you doing?” Nairobi asked.
“You’ll see. Evie, hand me the thread, please.”
Evie handed Evan the thread. Evan placed the edge of the thread inside the fold of the small piece of paper. Then, he pushed the paper with the thread inside through the eye of the needle.
When he finished, he pulled the paper off the thread and stuffed it in his pocket. The needle was threaded.

Image Created by Phyl Campbell using MS Paint.


“Whoah! That was cool!” Nairobi said.
Evan grinned. “I know.” He handed the threaded needle back to Evie. “You CAN have that back now,” he teased. He put his notebook back in his backpack and started to walk away.
“Wait, Evan.”
“Yeah?” Evan turned back toward the girls.
“That was really cool, Evan,” Evie said. “Thanks for showing us that trick.” She set to work re-attaching the button to her sweater.
“You’re welcome. Glad I could help.” Evan said.
“All done!” Evie said. She snipped the last thread and put her tiny sewing kit away.
“Great! Now you can help me with something,” Evan said.
“Sure. What is it?”
“See, well, I was playing tag over there and I was IT.” He reached over and tagged Evie. “But now you are!”
“Hey! Wait a minute! Evan!”
“No tagbacks!”
Evie quickly reached over and tagged Nairobi. “No tagbacks.”
Both girls got up to join their friends in the game.

  *******************************************************************
I'd love to hear your comments!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Books by Phyl Campbell coming to I-ron-ic in May





Order on Amazon.com today or look for Phyl's titles at i-ron-ic in May!
I-ron-ic is located at 256 W Philadelphia St, York, PA 17401



Do you see the sign for "your book here"? Don't forget my writing and publishing classes

Picture Books



Middle Grades



Adult Fiction






Nonfiction









Classes at Creative York and Rustic Cup

Creative York

Teen and Adult Creatives

Find Your Voice
Learn to write and publish
Mondays(4), April 17-May 8 (Adult Class)
6-8pm•$60•Ages 18+
Tuesdays(4), May 2-23 (Teen Class)
5:30-7:30PM
$40 Ages 13-17
Flash Fiction After Dark
Community Storytelling / Improv Game
Friday, April 14• 6-8pm • $20 • Ages 16+
Friday, May 19• 6-8pm • $20 • Ages 16+

Younger Creatives
Art with Me: Tell Me a Story
Saturday, April 15•10-11am• $15•Ages 3-6
Saturday, May 13•10-11am• $15•Ages 3-6

Summer Writing Camp
June 19-23 • 1-4pm • $90 • Ages 8-14
July 24-28 • 1-4pm • $90 • Ages 8-14
 
First Friday
no registration - drop in
5-8PMFree All ages
May 5 June 2 July 7

Creative York Classes and Events will be held at 10 N Beaver in Downtown York.

As a Creative York Instructor
Teen Flash Fiction After Dark Party
Kaltreider-Benfer Library in Red Lion
June 28 – Time TBA

     Rustic Cup 


Kids Publishing Workshop

Saturdays by appointment
2-3:30PM$10 per person Ages 6-16
May  and June
Contact Rustic Cup FB page to register
https://www.facebook.com/RusticCupLLC/

Adult Publishing Workshop

Six sessions over two days
Learn to self-publish your book
and sell it on Amazon
Laptop strongly encouraged but not required
Summer Date TBD
LIKE the Rustic Cup Page for updates!

Rustic Cup events will be held at
50 W Maple Street in East Prospect

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

LOCAL AUTHOR TO HOLD WRITING WORKSHOP

 LOCAL AUTHOR TO HOLD WRITING WORKSHOP
Date: March 25&26, 2017
Time: 1:00PM – 4:00 PM EDT



Event Description:
Local author Phyl Campbell will hold a two-day intensive creative writing and publishing workshop Saturday, March 25, from 1-4 PM and Sunday, March 26, from 1-4 PM at RusticCup Coffee Shop in East Prospect, PA.

Campbell has been offering monthly creative writing and publishing workshops for young people at Rustic Cup. This is the first time she is offering a workshop for adults in the area. The workshop is geared to anyone who wants to write and does not know where to start or those that have some writing experience but either haven't written anything for a while or are not sure what to do next.

Each session in the workshop will cover a separate aspect of the writing process from how to develop ideas, plot structure, character development, to writing dialogue and preventing "blank page" syndrome.  Some sessions will be geared to self-publishing – cover art, formatting, editing, legalese. Each session will be $20, or attend multiple sessions for a discounted price.

Campbell is a seven-time published author who has already helped students age 6-76 publish their own books on Amazon. Her titles include I'm Not Writing a Book Today, #25 Reasons Why Charlie Should Never Read Jane's Books to Jane, and A Muse Meant. Campbell is a member of Pennwriters and the Athens Writers Association. She also teaches literary arts classes and leads literary art events at Creative York


Registration is required and seating is limited. To register or ask questions, email Phyl at phyln@phylcampbell.com or fill out the form at http://phylcampbell.blogspot.com/2017/01/adult-publishing-workshop.html