Snakes Alive!

As you know, my grandparents raised me.  Grandma didn’t drive, and Granddaddy worked out of state during the summers.  So, I never went on any family vacations.  Ever.  Okay, we went to a hotel at the beach an hour away and spent a single night on two separate occasions.  And we went to visit Grandma’s family at their house in a small town a few hours away where there was nothing to do and no one to play with.

So, quite frequently, friends and neighbors felt bad for me and tried to include me in on their families’ vacation plans.  But Grandma wouldn’t hear of it.  She didn’t want me “bothering” them.  She was always so worried about what everyone else thought of her that she never cared what I thought.  As for me, I just wanted to go somewhere and be with kids.

The summer I was nine, my best friend, Beth, and her family were going camping and then to Busch Gardens the following day.  They asked if I could go, and of course, Grandma said, “No.”  That is, until Beth’s dad asked her.  As much a she liked to negate any of my plans, she wouldn’t say no to a man.  (I realize that sounds pretty bad, but I don’t mean it that way!)  She grew up in a generation where a woman deferred to the man’s opinion, whether she liked it or not.  I didn’t care why.  I was just glad to get to go!

We camped at some state park, I guess.  It was mostly woods, but it did have an outhouse as opposed to us having to relieve ourselves out in the open.  Beth, her older sister Lori, Lori’s friend, their parents, and I all slept in the same tent.  Her mom packed “Frito Pie” (chili lined with Fritos) which she heated over the campfire for dinner.  And Beth and I played in the hundreds of palmetto bushes that surrounded our campsite… until her dad told us those bushes were “snake heaven.”  We played inside the tent and in the car after that!

That was my only experience camping in the great outdoors.  Unless you count when I got older and got locked out of my house when I stayed out too late, but that’s a different story.

Coming next month is another session of Camp NaNoWriMo.  Now, I obviously understand this is a virtual camp, and I won’t have to fear any snakes other than the ones that live in my own yard (such as this red corn snake that was parked up on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago and now lives in the backyard along with a black snake that’s slightly bigger than him.)  At least I’m not nearly as scared of snakes now as I was when I was little, thankfully.

So, what I need to know from you, fellow writers, is how does this work exactly?  I’ve read the website, but I’m still at a loss.  I know the goal is to write 50,000 words, but I don’t understand what else is involved.  I mean, I can do that without registering anywhere, so what’s the point?  What’s the deal with the “cabin assignments” etc.  Is the whole purpose to socialize with other writers?  And if so, how often do you have to “check in”?  What am I missing?

I know that this should probably not be such a source of distress, but I have so many unanswered questions, that I can’t fully submerge until I know the answers.  Do any of you participate in this?  If so, do you have any suggestions or advice?

Thank you, friends!

Have you ever really been camping?  Were you in a camper, a cabin, or a tent?  What was the thing you loved the most or like the least about it?  Do snakes bother you?