Thursday, August 3, 2017

What is Your Superpower?

One of the games we play at our annual Summer Drama Camp is a name game that includes everyone saying their name and what superpower they have. It is a way to help the campers get acquainted, but it also invites them to start thinking about tapping into their imagination for understanding the creative side of what we are doing at camp. Sure we have fun, but that is only a small part of a drama camp.

What I have found very interesting when we play that game, is that the kids rarely say they can fly like Superman or climb up the sides of buildings like Spiderman, or run with the blinding speed of Wonder Woman. Often they share things like; "I can remember things." "I can sing very high notes." "I am good at drawing." "I can make my dog sit."

That last one is good if we need someone to corral an unruly child.

This camp, which I started 15 years ago with a handful of campers and two other adult volunteers, has evolved into a major event. For the past five years we have had 25+ kids in the program, three paid camp leaders, three or four teen helpers and two or three adult helpers. The paid leaders are professionals and work with the kids to write and produce a musical production, which is performed on the weekend following the second week of camp.

Everyone brings their special gift of creativity - their superpower - to the process of writing the songs, writing the script, and staging the show. In addition, we do lots of art to decorate the gallery part of the Winnsboro Center For the Arts, which is where all this fun and magic happens. The artwork then becomes the summer exhibition at the art center, and the pieces will stay up until the first part of September. The kids are almost as excited about the exhibit as the show.

This year we had a Beginner Camp, and the art from that one is part of the exhibit.
So why am I talking about a drama camp when the theme for this month at the Blood-Red Pencil is Wonder Women?

Because watching the repeat campers expand their talents from year to year is not unlike the way Wonder Woman discovered her special powers over a period of time. For her, it didn't happen all at once.

Neither does it happen for the kids.

Or for most of us.

It comes through the months and years that we are open to our superpowers of creativity. When we give them free rein, it's amazing what we can do. Part of having that loose rein is exploring new ways of perfecting our craft. New ways of finding creative energy through art and music and theatre. And new ways of using technology.  Twenty years ago if someone would have said that I would be writing a blog and maintaining a website, I would have asked if I could have some of what they were drinking. But here I am. And there I am, and I am pleased to be able to say I have not allowed myself to become stagnant.

This was my last year as Camp Administrator, and my amazing team surprised me with a tee-shirt. Of course it made me cry, but it also made my heart swell.

This is the front of the shirt.
When I saw what was printed on the back, I cried some more. But now a couple of weeks later, looking at it with less tears, the shirt reminds me that I do have a lot of creative superpowers, and even though I have never made a big splash in the pond of fame, I have made a big splash here in my hometown.

And we won't make any kind of splash at all if we don't keep exploring avenues of creativity.

The back of the shirt.
 So, what are your superpowers? How have you discovered them over the years?

Maryann Miller is a novelist, editor, and sometimes an actress. She has written a number of mysteries, including the critically-acclaimed Season Mystery Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. Yes, she will miss the drama camp.


  1. My superpowers are persistence and perseverance. I've learned over the years that if there's something I really want, I keep after it until I get it. It can be annoying to other people, of course, but I can live with that. :D

    1. Perseverance counts as much as talent in this competitive world of writing and publishing.

  2. What a wonderful camp. Creativity and imagination are two superpowers that determine how well you negotiate life.

    1. Absolutely. I have learned so much about the inter-twining of all creative outlets since I started doing this camp and being involved in theatre - on stage and off.

  3. Great post, Maryann. About that splash in the pond of fame -- sometimes we don't know the size of the splash or the size of the pond, especially now that the Internet takes our words and our works around the globe. How many lives have we touched? How many others have we inspired? How many Wonder Women have us to thank for sending them down a creative path they might never otherwise have traveled? Surely after 15 years of leading the Drama Camp and your several years of story writing that created your wonderful novels, you qualify as a Wonder Woman extraordinaire who has inspired others to find the special powers hiding within themselves!

    1. Linda, you are so right about the fact that we do not always know how many people our work has touched and maybe inspired. And thanks so much for the kind words about me. I have never been the kind of person who thinks about "me" all the time and what benefit do I get out of something, that accolades take me completely by surprise.

  4. Maryann, this is by far the best thing I will read all week. This is the kind of thing I would have loved to be involved in as a child. You are amazing.

    1. Wow, between you and Linda, I have to squish my head to get out of my office doorway. LOL

      Seriously, I am so pleased that you found the post so helpful. I would have loved a drama camp as a child, too. I remember putting on plays in the basement of my house with some of the neighborhood kids. We had a ball, and perhaps that was the beginning of my love-affair with live performance.

  5. I love drama camp so much, yours sounds pretty incredible! I like that the campers don't go for the expected by mentioning a superhero, but instead really look at themselves and come up with something that truly is a super power for them.

    Me? Compassion and empathy, I think, are two of my own super powers. And like the powers of so many superheros, they can be blessings or, to some extent, curses.
    May we all discover our super powers and use them!


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