Reflection: Campfire Stories Game Cards

Anytime I see a new way of telling stories or writing, I get excited and buy stuff. That’s what happened when I was in Barnes and Noble in Atlanta recently and picked up a copy of Gathered Around the Campfire by Melody Carson and read a few pages of her real life stories about her experiences under the stars. That’s also what happened when I was walking through the Betty Dunn Nature Center at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee and saw a deck of cards called Campfire Stories: Prompts for Igniting Stories by the Fire, published by Mountaineers Books (Ilyssa Kyu & Dave Kyu). There are 50 cards in the deck, complete with instructions and variations for storytelling.

As one who loves to camp, I look forward to using these to generate new conversations as I relax and spend time with others as we make s’mores and stargaze. That’s enough of a reason to love these prompts. My role as a Literacy Specialist and leader of small writing groups is a bonus reason. Cards like these help in getting to know students and inspiring them with new ideas for their writing. The game element adds to the thrill!

Immediately, I was transported to White Wharf at Bear Skin Neck in Rockport, Massachussetts when I selected the card that asked me to share an object I found and kept from my travels. I can still see clearly the tiny pair of angel wings resting along the shore as I ambled around near the water’s edge searching for sea glass. My mother, who often took me shell hunting on Sea Island, Georgia when I was a child, found several pairs of intact angel wings over the years and celebrated each rare discovery. Her sweet hello from Heaven was a reminder that no matter where I am on the face of this planet, she is right there with me. I wrote a poem about my experience here.

A Hello from Heaven….Mom sent a pair of angel wings to White Wharf for me to find!

Another time, I took a walk with my daughter while visiting her for the weekend and picked up a rock at the edge of the path. I brought it home to put on my computer at work so that whenever I see it, I think back to that afternoon I spent with her and know that a piece of our journey is still tangible. These objects inspire the memories, and the memories keep those we love close to us.

“I realize their trailer was pretty tiny, but it didn’t feel overly small back then….In fact, it felt perfect. And I know (my grandparents’) little trailer planted seeds in me…making me look forward to the day when I would get my own trailer. Even now, five trailers and one motor home later, I can still feel my grandparents’ influence.” -Melody Carson

….and to echo, with my own words that are not published in this book but are forever in my heart and on my blog…..

“As a child, I camped with my grandparents on Fernandina Beach in Florida. I can still smell the sulfur in the water and see the table that magically became my bed in their truck camper. When my grandparents left each of their grandchildren a small inheritance, I knew what I would do with part of their gift after camping for years with my own children. I bought a camper so we can honor their legacy and continue making memories with their great, great grandchildren.” -Kim Johnson

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