Moving, Personal Life, plain silliness, Writing Workshops

I Made It to Clarion!!!

Clarion, PA that is. Yes, it’s the place the original Clarion workshops were held, and where the name comes from. We stopped there for a bathroom and lunch break, but I didn’t get a picture.

In a funny-strange way, that break mimicked what I’ve so often heard about the workshop experience. Before Clarion (PA), it was gray and my view was obscured by snow. It was like being alone in a gray room on a highway to nowhere. After Clarion (PA), the sky brightened, and finally lifted into sunny blue skies. I wasn’t at my destination yet, but at least the way was clearer and it seemed far more do-able. I felt more confident in that warm sunshine after Clarion (PA), and it was easier to push on.

OK, enough with the extended analogy. I have to go unpack. (Still no Internet here, BTW; I’m so thankful for my smart phone now!) regular postings will resume at a later date….

goals, Write 1/Sub 1

Dreams of Obsolescence, and Write 1/Sub 1 in 2013

I had the strangest darn dream last night. In it, I got a letter from Clarion accepting me as a 2013 attendee (yay!). The letter told me the list of supplies was included in the envelope. Tipping it over let a 3.5″ floppy disk fall out onto my hand. OH!!!! How was I ever going to see what I needed to attend?

As you might image, I woke after this and wondered what in the world I ate to conjure up such a strange dream. (I hope the first part is true, that at least one of the workshops accepts me this year. If they do, I’ll deal with a floppy disk–somehow.) Then I settled into nice, normal dreams of the zombie apocalypse… ūüėČ I’m sure hoping this isn’t one of those unusual animal messengers infiltrating my dreamscapes. Maybe that disk contained an encoded, um, earthworm? A chartreuse one.

W1S1 Year 3 GraphicOh, hey, what’s this strange-yet-cool badge here? Well, I’ve decided to join up with Write 1/Sub 1 in 2013. It’s a group of writers who are following in Ray Bradbury’s footsteps. From their site: “Ray Bradbury is reported to have¬†finished a story¬†each week, mailed¬†it out to a magazine,¬†then got to work right away¬†on his next story. We’re going to spend this year in his shadow.”

There are two categories: monthly or weekly. I, of course, can’t fit into such strictures, so I’m carving out my own niche. I’m going for bi-weekly. To illustrate: this week write a story, the next week submit a story, the third week write a story, the fourth submit a story. Repeat each month. Since I don’t write much flash fiction, this fits my writing style better, and my goals. The weekly check-in will help keep me motivated. And the cheerleading … well, can you ever have too much cheerleading? (Outside of high school sports, that is?)

I’m hoping Write 1/Sub 1 will increase my output (I’ve gotten into the holiday slump — ugh.). I’m also hoping to join in with a wider community of writers.¬†Are you a W1/S1 member? Have any advice? Thinking of joining? Let me know. And I’ll let you know how it goes for me in 2013.

Rejection, Writing

Breath Returns, and I Get Back to Work

Well, here’s to the end of Clarion hopes and dreams for 2012. I got the Clarion-San Diego rejection letter last night and the Clarion West rejection letter this morning. Ah, the joys of email — faster rejections, and at all hours!

This isn’t the end of the world, of course. Plenty of others were denied this year, and in years past, as well. Most people, I think, have to apply more than once to get in. While I was really, really hoping to be accepted, I have to think that maybe next year I’ll do better, that I’ll be more ready.

So, I now have plenty of time to get new stories written, ready and polished for December, when applications begin for the 2013 workshops. I’m already hard at work on this, having finished one story this month while waiting for my Clarion emails. Another is almost done, just needing a darned ending (which is proving elusive right now, but I’ll get it!). Which means, of course, that this month I’ll have made my ‘two finished stories a month’ goal for another month. Yay!

I’m also challenging the other rejected applicants of C-SD and CW 2012 to improve their writing over the coming months and apply again with me for 2013. We had a bit of fun together on the forums; think how much fun we’d have learning together. I really hope to see many of your forum names again next year.

Now that I know I’m not going to Clarion or CW, I’ve signed up for the World Fantasy Convention 2012 in Toronto. It’s being held November 1-4. I went two years ago, when it was in Columbus. It was my first convention and my jaw dropped. It was just so overwhelming, so wonderfully amazing! I didn’t know mere hallways could hold so much talent at one time. Of course, I was too overwhelmed to meet many people. This time, I’m hoping to meet a few folks, maybe put some faces to names I’ve seen online, in forums, etc. (But I know I’ll still be a wallflower. It’s who I am, I guess.) If you’re there, look for the skinny, gawky-looking woman standing in the corner; that’ll be me. ūüėģ ¬†Do me a favor–come say hello!

Moving, Writing

The Longest Wait

Hello all Clarion and Clarion West applicants (and yes, acceptees, since I’m sure some of you have gotten good news by now! And congrats to you!). My stats have shown a huge spike since the forums at CW opened, so I’m assuming a good portion of that is fellow applicants scoping out ‘the competition’ and just getting to know other applicants. I know I’ve been doing the same. I’ve also checked out previous years’ forum threads and checked out those applicants’ blogs. (Some wonderful stuff there. If you haven’t done it yet, I suggest you do.)

Yes, I’ve got a massive case of the waiting-jitters. I haunt the forums in spare minutes, looking for signs of life, for the blaring news of acceptances (yay!) or rejections (oh, no!). How can I stop thinking about something so momentous? Honestly, I don’t really want to, either. I want to glory in the uncertainty, the shared tension. The adrenaline-surge speaks to me of life and hope and a future, all of which seem especially precious now.

Of course, I’m still writing. I started a new story today, inspired by a strange coincidence of thoughts about St. Patrick’s Day and SF. Hmm. Since I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer, we’ll see where it goes.

I also put in words on another story, one I had just started when I got news of my sister’s death. It was hard to go back to that story. It’s mind-set is like that from when I was a girl growing up in small-town Ohio — when my sister was still very much a part of my life. It brings up memories, which often make me sad. So it’s going slower than normal, but I refuse to give up on it. I know Deb wouldn’t want me to. Even if it never sees publication, I’ll finish it, and be glad I did.

In completely non-writing related news, my home no longer looks like a squatters’ cardboard-box village. The place is still jumbled, but our belongings are finding permanent homes instead of being shuffled from room to room and pile to pile. I’m still forced to leave home to write (otherwise I’d rearrange piles instead of writing), but I can actually sit at my desk now! Soon, I’ll be writing from home. Until then, keep looking for me at my new favorite coffee shop, tapping away at the keys.

And good luck to Clarion SD and W applicants! Don’t be afraid to say hello.

And keep writing!


Can You Cross Your Fingers and Still Type?

So…I’ve decided to come clean. I’ve been bubbling over with excitement for the last month and a half, excitement I’ve had to suppress¬†in order to keep on writing and moving day-to-day. A friend finally convinced me to blog about this, despite its open-ended nature. What is the cause of said giddiness? I’ve applied to the Clarion 2012 Workshops! There, I’ve said it. And it still feels pretty amazing.

If you don’t know, Clarion and Clarion West are six-week intensive, residential writing workshops for genre fiction (SF, fantasy and horror) that have been compared to boot camps for writers, or like getting an MFA in genre fiction in 6 short weeks, or like…many other insane ideas.

Who in their right mind would want to do this, you ask? Apparently, many silly fools (like me) who want to kick up their commitment to writing, who want to ramp up their understanding of the craft, studying with masters in the field. Each workshop only takes 12-18 students, and I read somewhere that last year one of them had approx. 200 applicants! Yes, that’s right, you have to apply (and pay to apply) in order to be evaluated. They accept you, not the other way around.

No, I haven’t heard anything from either one yet, other than that my applications have been received. And, well, that’s the part that has me dancing on my toes! Will I be accepted? If so, by which one? Which set of instructors will I quiver before as I submit works for critique each week? Or, will I be gently declined this year, like so many others, and have to swallow my hopes and fears and try again next year?

Oh, the waiting is killing me. It feels like I’m walking through a swamp filled with quicksand. Will the next step bring safe shores, or a sudden sinking sensation? And is that panic because I’ve been rejected, or accepted?

Well, despite the flutterings in my stomach, I’m writing. Fellow applicants, I hope you are, too. Let me know if any of you have applied, and how you’re faring. We’ll all get through this, no matter our individual outcomes. If not this time, maybe next year. To borrow a movie’s title, one I firmly believe, Hope Floats!