I returned home from 2 weeks at Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop on Sunday, dragging and tired. My dog hasn’t left my side or my lap since. (It’s nice to be loved, but really? Still, he’s on my lap sleeping now, as I type this, so I guess I missed him just as much.) Fortunately for both the dog and me, husband-dearest caught me out of my freefall and helped me settle my feet firmly onto home ground again.
How was it? Amazing. Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress each know more about publishing and writing than any five other folks, and their advice was wonderful and specific. The guest lecturers–James S.A. Corey and Emily Mah Tippetts–also had great insights for us, which we ate up like tasty petit fours. Daniel Abraham’s talk on success vs failure was a perfect fit; while some of my classmates found it depressing, I found it liberating and uplifting.
My classmates were wonderful and extremely talented, kind and funny, critical and yet supportive. I’m sure you’ll be seeing them in print and publication soon! Some are self-publishing already! (You can see our class photo at Walter’s website, and soon in Locus magazine.) My roommates were a joy to be around. (*waves hi!* Miss you guys already!) Conversations about writing took place in the classroom, in the resort lobby, in our rooms, in the hot tub and pool, in cars, on the mountainside, on the roads, and are probably still echoing in the halls we’ve left behind.
Speaking of which, their new location at Angel Fire Resort was beautiful! Three of us took the chairlift to the summit of Angel Fire and hiked down during our Sunday off, and found it gorgeous and exhilarating. But why hike down, you ask? Well…I found out that altitude sickness was a real and actual thing that can whoop your butt. And it did whoop mine. Be forewarned, and if you’ve lived your whole life near sea level, arrive early! Your body and brain will thank you for it.
For two weeks, we students got to live, breathe, eat, and sleep words. We read and critiqued, we wrote. We discussed ideas. And I got to write down snippets of funny things said, especially out of context, as I’m going to present them here:
“We didn’t have a day before yesterday.”
“There are actually things in the first chapter I like.”
On the Oxford comma:
Student: But what about editors who tell you to take it out?”
Instructor: “That’s what ‘STET’ is for.”
“I’m enjoying it, but possibly I’m enjoying what’s going on in my head and not what you’ve written down.”
“Oh, you’re the one with the writing.”
“Most manuscripts aren’t smelly enough.”
“So you’re saying ‘horror’ is undead?”
“I hate words.”
“OK. That’s hard to follow.”
“You need to build the world more before you destroy it.”
“It just seemed like there should be more paragraphs?”
“I like it when Science Fiction novels encourage the metric system.”
“Yeah, what they all said.”
“I have a high tolerance for things that don’t make sense.”
“You want a light spice here, not Sriracha.”
“It had all the excitement of trying to remember where your car was parked.”
“Ditto everything, but with some ‘buts.'”