Barr's Meadow: Julian's Private Scrapbook Part 1
Julian has had this crush for four years; it's time to make his move. He's been a scout for a year now; he just knows the perfect situation is at hand: summer camp. The distractions of the working world will be removed. Mark will be his before the bus trip home. He's been in love with his scoutmaster forever - since he was nine, at least. Mark proves to be more of a challenge than he expected. More
A summer Fantasy
Eldot presents the Revised Edition of his new novel for adults. It has been expanded slightly, and modified. This romantic comedy is about love and discovery and coming of age in the early 1960’s. Embedded in an episodic two week summer camp full of variety and fun, the narrative looks at the world from inside the mind of a boy who is in a big hurry to grow up.
Barr’s Meadow is first book in the five part series that constitute Julian’s Private Scrapbook. The series addresses the sometimes troubling and controversial issue of a teen’s “coming out” in a different way: comedy. A lot of boys frolic, experiment, and discover wonderful things. There are surprises and lots of fulfilled expectations. Very fulfilled. Naturally, most of these are not “approved” activities.
The underlying theme and topic are serious, but the treatment is meant to entertain and answer the call for nostalgia. The happy days of youth are special; why not relive some memories, or supply ones that were missed? This is a peek at the world before the internet and cell phones - when things were done manually.
From the Preface:
The most magical time in a boy’s life is when he discovers who he is sexually. It can be scary, threatening, and it can be fun and exciting; it can be a mix of these things. At the end of the process, he is forever changed physically and psychologically. This story looks at that process in a way that is unusual, and perhaps unique. It is not a typical coming of age story, though that is central to the work.
Julian's Private Scrapbook makes an unusual underlying assumption. It departs from “accepted” mores of contemporary society: it posits a society that is accepting and non-judgmental. Right and wrong still exist - but the puritan ethic and moral code are no longer the norm. Moralizers of the puritan sort remain - they are an archetype, after all - but they are the aberration. Sexual issues are no longer taboo. They are still complex, private, mysterious, and very special - but they are out from under the mindless repression we know so well.
A boy is not faced with the “coming out” drama that preoccupies so much of our society; rather, he is faced with the process of “coming into.” That, as the reader will see, is still a full time challenge.
The time selected to play in is the early 1960’s, before the technical gadget revolution. The relative naïveté and general optimism of those years is a comfortable fit for the subject, and not so remote in time that it is unfamiliar - nor would the world of Julian's Private Scrapbook be preposterously utopian.
"... this is, above all, a celebration of who we are."
The story is meant to entertain, not preach or argue the underlying social issues. it is presented in a series of five novels. They progress chronologically and grow in complexity. Each is a complete segment, but the combination as a whole is greater than the parts, allowing the subject to be fully addressed. Luckily, there are over 650 boys at Camp Walker in the summer of 1963, and we get to know several, rather well. Oh, yes.
Profanity is missing entirely because it's silly and not needed; but readers will be subjected to a good deal of very "naughty" behavior. Any two-week stay at a boy scout camp would have that as a minimum. You should expect to have a good time and feel elevated as a human being. This is, above all, a celebration of who we are. You will have to do your own lesson drawing and moralizing, however. And be warned: if you are a puritan at heart, you will not be pleased.
The first novel is introductory, as one would expect. At the end of the second day at camp, what will they have discovered, and what does it mean? Addressing those questions is where part one of Julian’s Private Scrapbook ends.
Julian’s Private Scrapbook replaces the series entitled Little J and Roger. For information, see the Diphra Enterprises website.