In the beginning...

In the beginning...

Chapter One: The Hollow Tree

JK looked at the patch of land he had stumbled upon with a steadily increasing sense of satisfaction.  It was perfect.  Quiet, humble, and beautiful, the area dubbed Camp Hollow served his needs perfectly.  There was just one question:  Where would he and his friends sleep?

 

Nighttime was on its way, and with it came chilly winds and the threat of rain.  JK began desperately searching for a place to take shelter.  After frantically scanning the area, a small piece of tarp rooted to a large oak tree caught his eye.  Upon closer inspection, he realized it was a fully set-up tent.  Suddenly doubting his solitude, he and his friends approached the tent, preparing to meet its inhabitant.

 

But there was no one inside.  With the skies beginning to open and a steady stream of rain beginning to fall, he climbed inside, closing the zipper behind him.  Suddenly, they were all seized by a strange sensation.  Not a feeling of fear or harm, but a feeling of belonging.  As if this tent had been left here by a benevolent power as a gift.  They might have spent the whole night pondering this strange feeling if they hadn't been so exhausted from their travels.  Within minutes, they were fast asleep.

 

Chapter Two: Dream Catcher

That night, JK and his friends dreamed the strangest dreams theyd ever dreamed.  They found themselves surrounded by creatures from every corner of the earth.  They suddenly couldnt tell if he was sleeping or not.  The creatures seemed to be figments of the imagination, and yet, they seemed so real.

 

All through the night, they were visited by one animal after another.  Imagination and reality seemed to be blending.  They soon found themselves inhabiting a strange in-between world.  At first, they felt a little bit of fear.  But eventually, they began to feel at ease.  Their minds gradually settled down, and before they knew it, they returned to a peaceful state of sleep.  Little did they know, they were about to wake up to an entirely new existence.

 

Chapter Three: Hello New World

JK was yanked from his sleep by a cacophony of noises unlike anything he had ever heard.  The hooting of owls, the stomping of elephants, the cries of cats large and small, and the barking of innumerable dogs all blended into one strange and enchanting noise.

 

Upon exiting his tent, he found the meadow to be completely transformed.  Whereas yesterday it was a place of solitude, now it had become a living zoo.  Defying every law of nature imaginable, animals from all over the world had gathered.  To add to the mystery, they seemed to be living in perfect harmony.

 

Cats and dogs walked paw in paw.  Elephants and lions shared a toast.  It was as if the Garden of Eden had been brought to life.  JK had barely wiped the sleep from his eyes when he began to realize what a magical discovery he had made.  

 

JK's friends began to emerge from the tent as well.  Quickly realizing the astounding situation they were in, the friends decided they had to share this strange experience with the rest of their friends.  A message was sent, and soon, the entire group had assembled.  

 

Chapter Four: Stardust

Where does reality end and art begin?  What is the difference between the two?  These questions have haunted the minds of some of historys greatest creators.  Yet for JK and crew, they were a mere afterthought.  They found themselves in a world where living beings happily embraced their existence as works of art.

 

Word spread quickly of the magical zoo that doubled as a museum.  People began trickling in, first from the local towns, and eventually from all over the world.  Camp Hollow was the first place of its kind.  Somewhere a person could come to feel complete harmony with nature, then take a little keepsake with them when they leave.  

 

Anyone who wanted to take their little share of the dream home was welcome to do so.  Each creature was happy to spend the rest of its existence reminding its new owner of the majesty of nature.  Every animal was individually prepared with its own personal story and mission statement.  These magical animals each fulfilled their destiny as a constant reminder of the infinite possibilities of existence.

Chapter Five: Infinite Creation

Overnight, Camp Hollow had become a magical place, spoken of in whispered tones throughout the land.  It was a place where fables could come to life, where dreamers could feel at home, and where an endless supply of beautiful creations could be found.

 

Today, owning even the smallest creation from Camp Hollow is considered a privilege.  Owning one of these beautiful little ornaments sends a message of love, acceptance, and happiness to the world.  

 

Camp Hollow is a place where the impossible is made possible every day.  Stories from ancient history are brought to life so that they can ring out through eternity.  And best of all?  Anyone who wants to own a tiny piece of this little slice of heaven can do so.  Welcome to the dream.

Treasures from Nod

Treasures from Nod

Prologue

 

Nod felt a deep sense of astonishment as he looked down and saw the ground getting further and further away.

 

“Oh my,” he thought, “I’ve really done it this time…”

 

Nod was sitting on a cloud - a cloud that behaved of its own free will.  And this was no ordinary cloud - it was a cloud that Nod had built with his own two hands.

 

You see, Nod was an artist - a builder - someone who uses his imagination to turn nothing into something.  He had created many things before - beautiful statues of animals, breathtaking jewelry, nearly every type of 3-dimensional art you could imagine.  But this - a cloud that seems to behave of its own free will?  This was something else entirely.

 

Oh my,” he thought to himself again, “I’ve really done it this time…”

 

It was the hour when light turns to darkness and strange things begin to happen.  Most people are unaware of the hidden magic the world contains.  But Nod had already begun to suspect that there was more to his surroundings than meets the eye.  For Nod had what you might call…a unique background.  No, maybe I should say instead that he had a…strange background…or maybe an… unbelievable background…Whatever word you use, let’s just say Nod was not an entirely ordinary person.

 

He steadied himself.  It was too late to jump off.  The cloud had risen far too high for that.  The way Nod saw it, his only option was to cling tightly and hope he landed in that right place.

 

Little did he know at the time, he was going to land in a very special place - Camp Hollow. 

 

Everything was quiet and still.  Nod looked down at his old neighborhood as it continued to fade from view.  His cloud was the only cloud in the sky.  Then, just as he was getting used to the silence, he heard a voice say:

 

“Welcome aboard!”

 

Nod was so startled that he nearly lost his balance.  But his carrier adjusted itself to accommodate his sudden movement and quickly regained a steady flight path.  The voice continued:

 

“Perhaps I shouldn’t have surprised you like that.  I say again though, ‘welcome aboard!’”

 

“Wait,” Nod said, barely able to contain his shock, “you can talk?”

 

“Of course I can talk!  And I have much to tell you before we reach our final destination.”

 

Nod was silent for a moment, trying to process all the information he had just received.

 

“Oh my,” he thought, “I’ve really done it this time…”

 

 

Chapter One:  It’s Just Your Imagination

 

 

Once the initial shock had worn off, a strange sense of calm overcame Nod.  After all, a talking cloud wasn’t all that unusual.  Nod had a vivid imagination, so in a sense, he was used to impossible things.  The thing that truly aroused his curiosity, however, was that the cloud was going to teach him something.  What could a talking cloud possibly have to teach a person?  Nod quietly wondered what would come next.

 

“You’ve probably got a lot of questions you’d like to ask.” The cloud said. 

 

“Yes. Yes I do!  I don’t even know where to start…” Nod replied.

 

“Well, let me explain.  You are a person with an unusually vivid imagination.  Such people are rare.  I’m taking you to a place where imagination is treasured above all else.”

 

“What is the place you speak of?”

 

“I will explain in due time.  But first, we have a stop to make. It will help you understand the power of imagination.”

 

“Well that sounds like a great time!  I’ve always suspected that my imagination would take me places.  I didn’t realize that would mean floating through the sky on a talking cloud, but hey!  Why not?”

 

“That is a great attitude.  So many people lose touch with their imaginations as they grow up.  It’s such a sad thing to see.  People become obsessed with their jobs and their money.  It’s not always their fault.  It just sort of…happens.  Those people are in need.  They need people like you to remind them of the wonders of the world.  That is the artist’s job.”

 

“Really?  I’ve always liked making art, but I never thought about it that way.  When I was a child, I just liked making stuff that looked good.  I kept doing it my whole life.  Eventually, I got pretty good at it.  But I never really thought about its purpose.”

 

“Well, after our little journey, I hope that you will come to understand an artist’s purpose.  Then, once you’ve unlocked the secrets of your imagination, you will arrive in a magical place where you can become the artist you were born to be.”

 

Nod thought about this for a moment.  Then, an intrigued grin appeared on his face.

 

“That sounds just fine to me!”

 

 

Chapter Two:  The Museum In The Sky

 

Nod and the cloud had been drifting through the sky for some time now.  The moon had risen and the air was sweet and cool.  Nod felt calm and easy.  His hometown had long since faded from view.  Now, he was floating over land he had never set foot on.  He sensed that his world was about to be inalterably changed for the better.

 

“Are you ready for the first stop of our journey?” The cloud asked.

 

“Sure am!”

 

“Let’s do it.”

 

Nod could see a floating island in the sky forming in the distance.  Clearly this was the first destination.  As it came in to view, he could see a large building.  There were was a large statue of a lion.  It looked as if he were guarding the entrance to this strange and mysterious building.

 

“This,” the cloud began, “is a place called The Museum In The Sky.” 

 

“The Museum In The Sky?” Nod asked.

 

“That’s right.  There are plenty of museums in the world, but none are quite like this.  This is a special place that is only accessible to the most imaginative artists in the world.  Anyone could go if they wanted to, but few ever complete the journey.  And that is what makes it so special.  The things that you see here will open the door to possibilities you would have never dreamed of.  I will drop you off, then you will meet your tour guide.  When you’re done, I will come pick you up so we can continue our journey.”

 

With that, the cloud descended onto the floating island.  As it gently touched the land, Nod stepped off and tried to regain his sense of balance.  There was a white brick path leading to the entrance of the museum.  Nod followed it.

 

As he approached the entrance, Nod could clearly see the statue.  It stood completely still, but he immediately sensed there was something extraordinary about it.  Nod approached it cautiously.

 

“Wow, look at the detail in this sculpture.” He said out loud.  It looks as real as any animal I have ever seen.  Whoever created this must have had a true love of the natural world.”

 

He stared at the lion’s eyes.  They were locked in an intense gaze.  And then…The lion’s mouth began to move.

 

“Welcome.” the lion said, “Now, it is time for the test to begin.”

 

Chapter Three:  The Test

 

Nod jumped back in astonishment as the statue slowly came to life.  First, the face became animated, its stony stare being replaced by a fearsome face, complete with piercing blue eyes and a luxurious mane.  Then the lion’s broad chest emerged.  Finally, its four legs began to flex, as if he were stretching himself out after an unusually long nap.  As the lion shook, bits of stone flew in every direction, barely missing Nod. 

 

The statue was gone now.  Nod stood face to face with a lion that was every bit as real as the animals that grace the Savanah.

 

“You are on a journey, my friend,” the lion spoke, “You are on your way to a special place called Camp Hollow.  But not just anyone can enter Camp Hollow’s grounds.  Only true believers in the power of art are welcome.  It is a calling, and you have been selected to join them by a higher power.”

 

“Wait, Camp Hollow?  That sounds familiar, but I can’t seem to remember where I’ve heard of it…” Nod scoured his memory, but for the life of him, he couldn’t recall where he had heard of Camp Hollow.  “Maybe it was in my dreams.”

 

“Indeed, maybe it was your dreams.  But before you join your companions at Camp Hollow, you must prove your worth.  You have started well by bringing me to life.  When you gaze upon a stone statue carved by the hands of man, you don’t see an inanimate object - you see a living, breathing thing.  This is the first sign of a true artist.”

 

“Huh…I guess I never considered it, but that’s true.  I’ve always seen life and art as being inseparable from each other.”

 

“Very good.  But that alone is not enough.  You have more to do.  Your task lies beyond these doors.  Come now.”

 

With that, Nod and the lion stepped through the museum’s massive doors.  They were met with total darkness.

 

Chapter Four:  Turning Darkness Into Light

 

As the door shut behind them, Nod and the lion were consumed by total darkness.  It was pitch black, and Nod couldn’t see a thing.

 

“Hey, where is the light switch in here?” He asked nervously. 

 

“The light switch, so to speak, is within you.”

 

“Within me?  I don’t understand.”

 

“Before us, we see what the world would feel like without art.  Dark and empty.  As an artist, your job is to fill this space, and indeed the whole world, with beauty and meaning.”

 

“I understand what you mean.  But how do I begin?”

 

“How does anything great begin,” the lion asked.  “With an idea.”

 

“So if I come up with an idea, the room will become lit up?”

 

“Not quite.  An idea is just the beginning.  Without action, an idea doesn’t help anything.  You must come up with an idea, then use your hands to bring that idea to life.”

 

“I see.  Let me think.”

 

Nod stood in the darkness and thought back to his childhood.  He remembered the first things he ever created.  Little shapes made of clay, simple pictures.  Could any of these ideas help him now?

 

He decided to start with the simplest thing he could - a piece of clay.  As this idea appeared in his mind, a small sphere of dark grey clay appeared in his hands. His idea had worked.  Now, he had to make something with it.

 

Despite being unable to see, he worked skillfully to craft the clay into the shape he desired - that of a two dimensional flame, like you would have seen on a cave painting.  He worked the clay into the fiery shape and placed it in front of him. 

 

As he did so, he could smell a wisp of smoke arising.  Within a few seconds, he saw a spark.  After a few more seconds, the clay figure had transformed into a full burning fire.  Its light filled the center of the room, just enough for Nod to make out the lion’s face as he grinned his approval.

 

“A good start,” said the lion, “you have lit the floor, but darkness is still above us.  Before you can continue on your journey, you must illuminate the entire sky.

 

Now, with enough light to see what he was doing, Nod imagined all the supplies he would need to create a detailed ceramic shape.  Before him appeared a glowing piece of marble.  He took the marble in his hand and crafted it into a sphere.  Then, with a small instrument, he began to carve out its craters.  Nod was creating a moon.

 

When he had finished the shape, Nod used the fire to solidify his creation.  When he was finished, his moon looked as real as the one that hangs in the night sky. 

 

Nod took his moon and threw it as high as he could into the air.  As it reached the peak of its arch, the moon seemed to be caught by some invisible force, as it did not return to the ground.

 

Then, fixed in place, the moon began to glow.  Within moments, its beams had filled the room with light.

 

At first, Nod grimaced, closing his eyes to avoid the sudden change in light.  When he opened them, he was astounded by what he saw.

 

It was the most beautiful collection of art he had ever seen.  There were paintings and statues of people, animals, nature, and angels.  It was unlike anything he had imagined. 

 

“You have done well, Nod,” the lion spoke.  “You have shown the ability to create magic using the power of your imagination and the hard work of your hands.  You have proven yourself worthy of Camp Hollow.  What you see around you is only the beginning.  Now, it is time to complete your journey.  Come with me, and I will show you a place where possibilities are infinite.”

 

Nod was almost sorry to leave so soon.  The art all around him was so breathtaking, he could have stared at it for days at a time.  But the lion promised him there were even bigger things to come.  So without hesitation, he followed the lion as he turned and walked out the door.

 

 

Chapter Five: Welcome To Camp Hollow

 

The talking cloud from earlier was waiting for them outside the doors. 

 

“Well, Mr. Lion, how did our friend do?”

 

“He is worthy.  Let us take him there now.”

 

With that, both Nod and the lion boarded the flying cloud.

 

They flew through the majestic sky with such speed that Nod could barely see what was happening.  They must have flown thousands of miles.  Then, finally, the cloud announced that their destination was imminent.

 

“We are here.” He said.

 

The sun was coming up now.  Its rays illuminated a large archway over a gently flowing river.  The words on the archway read:

 

“Welcome To Camp Hollow.”

 

Nod smiled as the cloud landed softly in the river, acting as a big white fluffy canoe for himself and the lion.  As the three of them floated underneath the archway and into this magical new world, Nod’s head began to swim with all the possibilities that awaited him.  Finally, he had found a place where he could truly bring his vision to life.

 

After a moment’s silence, Nod looked over at the lion and said:

 

“I think I’m going to like it here.”

Every Creatures has a Story

Every Creatures has a Story

Mary Jane had a lot to learn from Camp Hollow. She's 34 and hates her job. Occasionally, on weekends, she dreams of Camp Hollow, a place where imagination is the key to creation. But Mary Jane doesn't dream very often. She loves long walks in the woods and would love to travel. She was working so hard towards her promotion that she forgot to sleep. A lot of people are very rude to her. In her two weeks off she goes to Spain but it's always so crowed and sweltering. If she didn't work then she felt guilty, and when she works too much she feels stressed and guilty too. She hardly sees her two daughters who wanted her to be the Queen in their own game of Princesses.

One night she finds an invite to Camp Hollow under her pillow. Silently she accepted, closing her eyes and going to sleep. Mary Jane was 34 but only 8 years old when she sets foot in Camp Hollow.

It seemed that if you lost your way as a child, if you stopped believing in magic and in fairytales, if you lost touch with your inner child then they stop growing. When she was young she was very hard work and ambitious. But she also wanted to travel and see the world. She liked playing pirates, princesses and climbing trees. 

In Camp Hollow, her accounting skills would not help her.

She will have to use her imagination... 

 

In the beginning...

In the beginning...

Treasures from Nod

Treasures from Nod

Every Creatures has a Story

Every Creatures has a Story
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