Church Camp Romance, Age 14

Nonfiction / Anna Joy Springer

:: Church Camp Romance, Age 14 ::

Springer 1
Springer 2
Springer 3



From the writer

:: Account ::

These three pages from the longer piece, “Church Camp Romance, Age 14,” are maybe the most point­ed­ly abject in con­tent and form—they are some­thing like comics with no car­toons, bub­bles, or frames. Whose plea does the “Do you hate me now?” become, now thir­ty years old on tou­can sta­tion­ary? As a smudged sur­face of weird­ly con­trolled and con­trol­ling impuls­es that also stage a gen­dered and com­pul­sive sub­mis­sive­ness, the slant­ed, drunk­en, hand­writ­ten text evokes con­ta­gion, like the tox­ic vapors described at the begin­ning of a his­to­ry of mad­ness. It con­tains actu­al lies to make me seem “worse.” I was dar­ing God in a plea to be my ser­vant and mar­ry me, inter­vene and save me from men, from being their thing, from the obvi­ous nar­ra­tive out­come. And do I dare God, now, con­fess­ing this? What hap­pens to dried-up old scanned-in abjec­tion? Does it con­tin­ue to leak even as it seems sta­t­ic, already past? Does the dig­i­tal sur­face where­upon this pic­ture of a real let­ter appears have a san­i­tiz­ing, his­tori­ciz­ing, archival effect? Does it trans­form its read­er into an unchang­ing object, a cool­ly dis­en­gaged “not-it?”


Anna Joy Springer is a writer, visu­al artist, and teacher. Her books are The Vicious Red Rel­ic, Love (Jad­ed Ibis, 2011) and The Bird­wish­er (Birds of Lace, 2009). Anna Joy has cre­at­ed many record­ings with the bands Blatz, The Gr’ups, and Cypher in the Snow, and has per­formed through­out the U.S. and West­ern Europe. She works as an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Lit­er­a­ture at Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego and lives in Los Angeles.