Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Category Archives: clarion

Processing Clarion

Six instructors, seventeen classmates, twenty-three friendships.
Over one hundred stories read and critiqued.
Seven stories written, plus two more started and not finished (one nearly done).
Four new story ideas to work on, six stories to revise and possibly send out to markets, two novels awaiting application of learnings, one website to construct.

Clarion was amazing, life-changing in certain ways (not as much for me as for some of my classmates), incredible fun, and incredibly intense. We saw few people apart from each other in the normal course of the day, thought about writing all the time, read an incredible variety of stories from some amazing talents, and had to think up something useful to say about each and every one. In between, we had some wonderful professionals giving their thoughts on our stories, giving us tips from their lives, and playing drinking games with us on weekends.

I really loved the experience, and I’m so excited to be moving on into some story projects, finishing up other stories, working on the novels. It isn’t that I feel I wasn’t a writer before; none of us should have felt that, because we were told over and over that we are a talented group (otherwise we wouldn’t be at Clarion). It’s that I feel more confident. I know a few more tricks. I have a list of things to keep an eye out for. And I have a feel for what makes a good story, just by dint of having read wildly different stories from wildly different people. I know I can make mine better in ways I wouldn’t have thought of before. It means more work, but I’m so looking forward to it.

And we’re already starting to plan meet-ups at future conventions. Which is cool–I already can’t wait to see everyone again, and it’s only been three days since we were all together last (two and a half days since I said good-bye to my roomie at the airport). We are all full of bright plans and dreams and hopefully some measures of confidence, and it’s going to be a fun few years coming up. :)

One thing on my list is getting my vanity domain up, with this blog moved over there and a few stories up for people to read. August is kind of a busy month, but I think I can get some of that rolling. So watch this space for pointers to the next space…

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Clarion Reflections

It’s not over yet; we have two more critiquing days and three more wonderful evenings to spend together before we go our somewhat-less-separate ways. But this has been a truly remarkable experience, participating in the creation of a new community, or, perhaps more accurately, a new iteration of an existing community. We have been assured by previous Clarion graduates that we are all part of the same tribe now. Still: eighteen people from geographically and somewhat culturally diverse backgrounds have spent five and a half weeks together, and now people whose names I did not know four months ago have become close friends and trusted writing companions. And we have learned a lot about writing along the way, and learned even more about ourselves as writers.

It’ll be bittersweet, the leaving, because of course I love my normal life and would not trade it for anything in the world, except for possibly a life identical in every way with a healthier bank account (but who wouldn’t want that?). The few occasions on which I’ve gotten to see my husband over the last six weeks have not been compensation for the time without (though I am dearly grateful for them). This little bubble we’ve lived in, though, where literally nearly everything is about writing–we critique, we write, we read, we repeat–has been a really wonderful experience. And will continue to be for three more days.

It’s kind of like that Avenue Q song, “I Wish I Could Go Back To College.” I always have, and for this summer, for six weeks, I kind of feel like I did.

(Of course, sitting in a library doing research kind of helps…)