Rattler #1 for you all to enjoy.
I have been an Arts and Crafts camp counselor since 1984. This past summer I thought it would be fun to make an underground newspaper with our campers age 8-15. I wanted to give our photo department a boost with a ‘zine project mixed with a class in making comics. This way campers could draw, photograph, write, and create games, and have it all bound together into our own magazine.
Our camp already has an official yearbook called The Tattler, so we called our project, The Rattler. Those that contributed became Vipers interviewing counselors at picnic lunch, drawing snarky cartoons during rest hour, and Photoshopping things that never happened. Here is our first fun filled issue from summer 2017.
I have been an arts and crafts camp counselor for most of my summers since 1984. Working in the woods and along the lakes of Maine during summers have been the best days of my life. I like working in the art room with kids so I can steal all their great ideas. Over time my own daughter became one of the campers, so here we are getting into two generations at camp.
On my way to pre-camp set up each season, I am busy getting the art room ready as my daughter and wife stay home until it’s time for the kids to arrive a week or so after me. This happens to fall on Fathers’ Day, so each summer as I pack up to leave for camp my family have a little Fathers’ Day celebration before I go.
In our kitchen there is a chalk board. I love to cook, but I’m a horrible namer. I like to write my horrible entrees on this chalkboard. My version of Emphysema Lambada is delicious, it just has a horrible name. I don’t go a week without making a big batch of Bodarg-a-larg. The kids love it.
Often, after a meal, I like to doodle on this same chalkboard. I like to make something kooky, so the last thing my daughter sees in the morning on her way to school is something fun and up lifting.
Well, on this fine evening I wanted to draw a new character. I remember it well. I wanted to make the simplest creature I could. Sort of a Yupapotamus mixed with a Swamp Bogger… but simplified until it was only what it needed to be. I started to draw a rectangle with a face, but I gave it four little stumpy legs.
Wiggly Loaf was born on our chalkboard, and we had our Fathers’ Day party and all went off to sleep so I could get up early for that long drive to camp. But you know what? By morning that crazy girl of mine had stayed up late and felted a nifty 3D version of Wiggly Loaf for me to take to camp. It was my Fathers’ Day gift so I wouldn’t be all alone my first week of camp. I now had Wiggly Loaf to keep me company.
When I got to camp I was so taken with The Loaf I decided to make “Don’t Get Weird” posters and put them up all over camp. In no time Wiggly Loaf was friends with everyone. Soon campers were making Wiggly Loaf comics, plush toys, hand carved stamps, and screening T shirts.
During the winters I make memes, sharing them with friends from camp, and their friends. It doesn’t stop there. Getting Wiggly is for everyone, so I invite you to share, like, follow our social media pages, and post Wiggly Loaf Fan Art using: #wigglyloaf so we can all get Wiggly!
Kay Stephens was kind enough to photograph and interview Malaya and I now that we’re conducting book readings of Snotgrass. Check out the Pen Bay Pilot’s article! Snotgrass is available as a paperback book on Amazon for only $6.99 – buy several copies and hand them out to all your weirdo friends! Yeah!
My reading of Snotgrass at the Camden Library was completely taken over by the Time Brats! What a hoot it was to make so much noise inside a library. We all took turns telling strange tales of mythical Maine beasts. The night turned into all of us sharing stories told to us by our grandparents and elders. I heard about several old Maine story tellers: Buckwheat Shed and Frisco Ireland, strange tall tales of bear hunting at the Houlton dump, and how to catch Bigfoot using peanut butter. We made up a new local monster and called it the Camden Crawler. Here the kids display the handmade Swamp Boggers I brought along. Thanks one and all for coming out on a rainy Maine evening!
Check out the Camden Time Brats in action:
I will be at the Camden Library reading excerpts from my book Snotgrass on Tuesday, June 16th from 7 – 8 PM. Paperback books will be on sale at $6.99 each. If you want, I’ll draw critters and sign ’em for you. Hope to see you there!
I grew up in Washington, Maine. My book Snotgrass is a memoir of my childhood in the magical village of WASH ME. Launching the book in Washington’s very own Gibbs Library gave me the warm fuzzies. Reading a few pages of my book to the people that knew my family is different than reading to a group of strangers. Everyone in the audience at Gibbs knew at least one person in the book. They all had stories of their own to tell. For me it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Many of these folks knew me when I was just a wee one. Thanks to everyone that came out to see me. It’s nice to be surrounded by old friends.