Reflections on a White Board
I’ve always liked wintertime in Rehoboth Beach. For much of the last 22 years, January was the time I began to create a new body of work, and did much of the conceptual design I would need for the rest of the year. These last couple of years, CAMP Rehoboth has taken much of that time, and though I haven’t gotten a lot of painting done, it is still a very creative time of year for me.
In my studio there is a large, white dry erase board on one wall. I scribble ideas on it: pictures, words, phrases, notes. At present, there are a variety of items scrawled across it, and it has attracted my attention as I sit down to write.
On one side of the board, a couple of rejected versions of the 2012 Sundance theme linger as if still begging for consideration. Alas, there will be no Silver Sun and the Supersonic Boom Boom Rainbow, or its sister, Super Sun and the Silversonic Boom Boom Rainbow. In the end, I chose the more sedate Legend of the Silver Rainbow—which never even made it onto the board—because I wanted the flavor of the theme to contain something of the history and time wrapped up in the quarter century we’ve been dancing the Sundance. Not, perhaps, that others even care about such things, but the Sundance theme has been a part of my creative work every winter for a very long time.
One the left side of the board is written the word “innovation” followed by “2012.” The word is underlined, and underneath it is written the word “imagination.” I put them there weeks ago as a personal theme for 2012—both in regard to my art and my work at CAMP Rehoboth. Thinking about it now, I am energized by the thought of change and intrigued by the challenge it offers me in regard to the ideas, processes, programs, events, and technologies that are a part of CAMP Rehoboth and the world around us. CAMP Rehoboth has always been about creating positive change, but we can’t just sit back and rest on past successes. Making sure that CAMP Rehoboth is still around and relevant in the future, means that we need innovative and imaginative thinking right now.
Somewhere down on the lower right side of my white board, the word “reverberations” is written. Overlapping it I drew a series of concentric circles much like a pebble would make when tossed into a still pond. I believe I put it there as a visual to the above mentioned, and now abandoned, “supersonic boom boom.” Just because something makes it onto the white board or into one of my notebooks for one reason, certainly doesn’t mean it remains for only that reason, and I’ve learned to listen carefully to the fragments of ideas that have captured my attention.
Until this moment, I hadn’t given it too much thought, but a reverberation is the persistence of sound after the original sound has disappeared. That speaks to me of our work here at CAMP Rehoboth, or for that matter, to the work that any of us do. Its human nature to wonder about what will happen after we are gone; it’s our responsibility as leaders to make sure that we have provided a plan for the future. While I’ve written about succession planning several times over the last few years, it was only this winter, as we began to look at that issue in earnest, that I began to understand that it doesn’t have to be a painful process; it can be an exciting one that offers us yet another chance for innovative and imaginative solutions for the future.
Back to the drawing board: way down in the lower left corner of my board, is written the word “reMEMBER.” This one was clear to me when I wrote it a few weeks ago. I was, at the time, thinking about CAMP Rehoboth membership and how vital it is to the continuing work that we do here. Each year, members are asked to renew their membership. I was intrigued by the idea that we would re-MEMBER our membership, and at the same time remember why we started CAMP Rehoboth in the first place, or why we still need it today. Will it ever become a membership campaign slogan? I don’t know, but it does make me remember a time when life in Rehoboth Beach, and the rest of the world, was very different than it is today.
There are several other little things scattered around the white board, but only one more that really speaks to me right now. I put it there back in early December in preparation for my family’s Christmas gathering: HOME = heart it reads. Let me explain. This past year was a difficult one for my family as we resettled my parents with my brother’s family. We’ve had many “family homes” over the years, but the one my parents had occupied for the last 20 year had served that function for us for a long time. Each year I design a family Christmas T-shirt, and because we were all going to be in a new space for the holidays, I did this year’s shirt with that “home equals heart” design across the front.
Looking at it now, I see the connection to the CAMP Rehoboth “house and heart” logo I designed many years ago. Both speak to the idea of creating a safe place where everyone feels loved, where everyone feels at home.
When I hear stories about kids being bullied because they are gay; when I listen to politicians threatening to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or defending the Defense of Marriage Act; when I hear of churches still closing their doors to LGBT people; I know we still have reason to build a home and a community with room for all.
This Christmas, a beloved nephew came out to Steve and me. I want his life to be safe and good and happy—I want him to always feel at home with who he is and who he wants to be and where he wants to live.
The world is much changed from the days of my youth, but not enough. I guess, that’s all I need to re-member why I give so much creative energy to this organization and to this community.
Murray Archibald, Founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.