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An Interview with Deborah Camp, author of Musings Diner Open 24/7


Deborah Camp is a freelance artist, writer, and art educator. She specializes in a medley of visual and written mediums from short stories and poetry to graphic design illustrations and hand painting murals for a variety of clients. Her passion for visual art derives from her great-grandfather. He loved to paint the landscapes of his motherland and horses. Her passion for writing stems from her mother’s childhood story writing musings. She became inspired in this artistic environment starting at the age of 3 when she first picked up a paint brush to embark on her own artistic journey and followed it throughout her schooling from elementary school through Queens College where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.

Over the years she has shared her literary and visual works with her local community in art shows and open mic nights to channel her boundless passion for the arts to encourage everyone to follow their dreams. The themes of her past art shows and open mic performances were about the inner child in all of us and how important it is to nurture them and keep alive their sense of wonder of how they look at the world and find inspiration in everything around them. The other motifs and styles you will see coursing through her written and visual works are of surrealism, whimsy, peace, environmental awareness of nature, the psychedelic era, uplifting inspirational messages and celebrating and embracing one’s uniqueness. Articles about her work have been published in the Queens Chronicle, Leader Observer, QNS Courier Sun and Airport Voice newspapers as well as The Scene magazine.

Deborah Camp’s work can be found on her social media platforms:

Instagram: @artbydebcamp

Facebook: Art by Deborah Camp

You can buy Musings Diner Open 24/7 here!

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I created written and visual art as a positive coping mechanism throughout my childhood to express my thoughts, feelings and ideas in my own little whimsical world where anything is possible on paper to overcome the bullying that I have endured by my peers as a child. My passion for writing stems from my mother’s childhood story writing musings. I became inspired in this artistic environment starting at the age of 3 when I first picked up a paint brush to embark to write and paint my own artistic journey and followed it throughout my schooling.

My passion for visual art derives from my great-grandfather. He loved to paint the landscapes of his motherland and horses. It delighted him to watch me doodle as a toddler. When he was beaming with happiness, I felt a sense of pride and ever since the moment I first picked up a crayon, art became a part of my identity. I was determined that the arts will be my life path. My mother is my biggest cheerleader for my art and has cultivated and nurtured the love for the arts since I was a kid. My art and English teachers in particular, Ms. Rudnick my elementary school art teacher and Mr. Feimer, my junior high school English teacher, and Dr. Mermelstein, my senior high school English teacher always encouraged me to keep pursuing the arts and to keep writing and drawing even beyond high school and I promised each of them that because I adore both forms of art, I will never stop no matter what obstacle may get in my way and to this day I honor that promise when I create a new piece.

A few years ago, I discovered a call for open mic night for writers to perform their pieces hosted by the Muse Exchange at Neir’s Tavern. At first, I felt apprehensive of how the audience would react to my written pieces that I have been creating since age 16. It was a cathartic release to verbally perform a story that I have written about my visual art piece called “Choice of Regret or Rejoice?” with the audience to help inspire them to dig deep down inside and feel comfortable to express themselves. I could feel the energy of the room resonate as it started to churn with positivity as each performer got on the stage and shared a part of themselves. From then on open mic night became a comforting and energizing space that I continue to look forward to attending to hear, to see, to feel and to heal from poetry, stories, songs and visual performances in all forms.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

This book has been living inside of my mind for the past 20 years. I have decided to release it from the confines of my imagination and flow onto the pages because life is too short to keep putting things off. Instead of letting my work collect digital dust on my hard drive, I decided to release my story to the world so that it can help motivate others to heal from emotional trauma and rediscover their resilience along with their gifts.

One of the mantras I now live by is to go for your dreams NOW while you have the present day because tomorrow is never promised. That is why each day is a gift…it is a present handed to us to make new memories, inspire others, accomplish our goals, live our life to the fullest, contribute our mark in this world and love with all of our heart. Writing and drawing were the two main outlets of escapism that I used to create fantastical worlds and express my feelings. I have always identified as an introvert due to experiencing bullying within school from some of my peers.

However, when it comes to anything to do with the arts, I feel deeply moved to the depths of my soul to express my love and support for creativity and instantly transform into the bubbly spirit that has always resided within me. For years I have held myself back and kept delaying and making up excuses as to why it is not the right time to release my work yet. I kept busy looking too much into the mundane aspects of life yet one thing was constant: I kept creating my art.

A few years ago, I decided to open up more to share my love for creating art by having my work displayed in my local community and going to various open mics, such as the one hosted by the Muse Exchange at Neir’s Tavern. It was an unforgettable experience that I will forever cherish to be able to motivate and encourage everyone to reach for their dream. It was an exhilarating feeling to have inspired the audience of all ages to keep reaching for their dreams and to not let anything get in their way of their lifelong ambition because once you find that special gift within your soul that can move mountains, you can share it with the world to make it a better place. The arts cover a such a broad range of topics. It can be the art of being kind, of being empathetic, of writing, painting, building, singing, acting, cooking, motivational speaking, teaching and so much more.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title came about from a running pun that my fiancé Dave would call my brain when I would inform him of all of these ideas that I wanted to draw and write about over the years. He would say to me “Your brain is like a 24/7 diner it never shuts off.” I added “Musings” to the title as an ode to the Muse Exchange that runs the local open mic in my neighborhood. Musings Diner Open 24/7 symbolizes all of the thoughts and musings that have been churned out by my brain at all hours of the day and night over the years and served fresh from my imagination to the readers. It is also a reflection on my love of exploring various restaurants and a cooking metaphor. I enjoy creating recipes in my kitchen just like my brain loves concocting ideas 24/7 to draw and write about ever since I was a child. The title came about quickly right as I was starting to put together all of my poems and artwork musings over the years.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

The soundtrack to my book would be very whimsical, theatrical and uplifting. “Was It All Worth It?” performed by Queen and “Gonna Fly Now” written by Bill Conti would summarize the tone that weaves throughout my story to beckon one to persevere no matter what obstacles stand in their way and that hard work and passion will lead you to your destiny. “The Flower Children” sung by Marcia Strassman summarize the era of peace and love where the world is embraced by the artistic visionaries of the 1960s. “Belle” by Paige O’ Hara showcases the voice of a dreamer that yearns to break free from the ordinary and discover a world beyond her imagination. Her character is a kindhearted soul that is nurturing to all animals and adventurous with her inner child leading her along her unbridled journey. “Never Too Late” sung by Jimi Jamison adds to the chorus of my book by sending out the message that time cannot stop our dreams from coming true because we can start at any age: it is never too late!

Describe your dream book cover.

It would be vibrant, bursting with all of the colors of the rainbow created in a surreal fashion with subliminal messages and metaphors weaved within the illustration. The cover would draw the attention of the reader to want to explore what lies beyond it as they begin to delve into the pages to explore the world that the writer has created through written and visual work.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Prior to pursuing my freelance writing and visual art career full time, I was holding positions in various educational institutions instructing children in the arts from pre-k to 8th grade. I also was a cashier for a pharmacy which taught me the value of organizing and customer service skills which I now apply as a full-time freelance commercial and mural artist in my business. I have also led art-based community events for children and instructed painting classes for adults. Art runs 4 generations deep on my maternal side of the family starting with my great grandfather who started painting in his 70’s until age 104. My grandmother loved to draw as a child and passed the baton to my mother who passed on the love of writing and painting to me. I plan to pass it onto the community and share it with as many people as possible to inspire future generations of artists that will continue to mold and shape our world.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

The vision that I have for my book is to be able to connect with my readers that can relate to the life path that I have followed and inspire each of them to rediscover something that they once loved to do. If they are still searching to find their mission in life, I encourage them to dig deep within themselves and once they discover it, they can pursue it and share it with the world. Let’s make a ripple effect of uninhibited creativity on our planet and think outside of the box.

We can overcome our struggles and inhibitions in this life with the power of determination, dedication, support from our loved ones and most of all, believe in yourself—you have untapped potential and unlimited capacity. If you nurture a seed and you grow it, it’s going to bloom and blossom. We are all seeds watered in the garden of inspiration waiting to bloom into a field of flowers. Together we can change the world and fill it with the sweet fragrance of inspiration.

My perfect reader is an introverted, empathetic soul that has a love for creativity and art. They have had adverse experiences in their lives and are seeking my book to help uplift their spirits and remind them that it is never too late to forge a new journey ahead and to discover or rediscover a passion in life that they loved to do. They are children at heart forever embracing their imaginative side.

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