Although I’m a memoirist and playwright, I hadn’t considered writing about my experience of sexual abuse at summer camp until 1990, when an Off-Broadway producer asked me if I’d be interested in doing a play on the subject. I was and proceeded to write Camp Paradox, the play. It was first workshopped at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, in 1991, then produced at the WPA Theater in New York City in the fall of 1992.
I was pleased with both productions, but when I wrote the play I hadn’t yet fully integrated or psychologically processed the experience. I was still somewhat on the fence about whether or not what happened with my camp counselor was true sexual abuse or simply a weird relationship—and the play reflects my lack of clarity.
Since I wrote the play, however, there is no more gray area in my thinking. I am quite clear that what happened to me was sexual abuse. The laws of New York State, where the camp was located, are also quite clear. According to state statutes, I was raped.
After coming to terms with this, I was compelled to tell the whole story. Originally, the camp material was meant to be part of a larger memoir titled Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, about coming of age in the 1960s. But the camp story simply took over and demanded to be told on its own.
Happily, the team at Shebooks jumped at the chance to publish it, and Camp Paradox, the memoir, was born.