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.
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.