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Light Your Fire, Dreams Never Die (Posted: May 9)

I absolutely love music. I was one of those kids who not only enjoyed the beat and melody of a song but I also listened intensely to every lyric. During the late 70’s, I’d acquired a huge vinyl record collection. My taste in music was very eclectic. I had albums by Curtis Mayfield, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley & the Wailers, etc.

Just like everyone else, during my youth I went through several phases. I wanted to be a writer. I always wanted to play the guitar like Hendrix. At one point during these early years in Spotsylvania County, I had this crazy notion that I was going to share my love of music with others by spinning records at a club and make a name for myself as a popular deejay.

I felt compelled to make good use of my extensive record collection. And especially after listening to Bob Marley’s ‘Natty Dread’ album for the first time, something inside of me told me that everybody in Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg should hear this cool reggae rhythm.

At this time I didn’t have my own car yet, so one night I got a chance to ride in my brother Ricky’s blue Dodge Dart (man, he kept that car so clean!) for the very first time. That night Ricky drove me around through Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania while I pitched my deejay dreams to local club managers. I had this crazy dream that I was going to slowly ease some Marley reggae into my dance mix if I’d gotten the job to spin some records one or two nights a week. I remember this one particular manager in Fredericksburg laughing right in front of me when he struggled to properly pronounce ‘reggae’ for the third time and then said, “We just don’t want that kind of music in here, son.”

No, I never did learn to play the guitar like Hendrix. No, I never did become that popular deejay who would help spread that reggae vibe throughout Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County years ago. But, eventually my dream came to fruition as I wrote a novel that currently sells all over the world. And in this particular novel (’29 Dimes’), I’d created a character named ‘Teki’, who fronts an all-female reggae band in Silver Lake, California. During my book talk sessions, many students have expressed to me how Teki was one of their favorite characters of all from my four novels.

Regardless of your age, if there is something you’ve always wanted to do, please light that fire once again and see it come to life. I’m nearly 60 now, and what I’ve learned over these years is that your goals and dreams may shift and possibly take on different forms or shapes, but in the end, the core of your true dreams never really die. – Randolph Randy Camp

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