This whole is hard to climb out of

Yes, I meant to spell it that way.

My last post was a very long time ago. I’m not even going to count the days, weeks, months, etc. For a while I thought I’d just give up on keeping a blog, but then all the other Clarion 2012 grads were posting their post-Clarion thoughts, and I wanted to join the (melancholy) party.

So. Why “whole?” Because Clarion fuses the people who participate into exactly that. An eighteen person singular entity. And even though that entity is now stretched across the globe, and its hard to stop living as if we are all still in one big puppy pile of togetherness.

Other people have posted writing advice they learned at the workshop–valuable stuff, beautiful stuff. But most of the time, I was too busy soaking that advice into my body and brain to bother writing it down. So all I am left with is a couple of goofy quotes (“I feel like mad scientists are poised for a comeback,” for instance, or “awkward insertion of England, page 4,” or “now we’re in Hell, and I’m not as excited because I’ve been here before.”) and a body and brain suffused with the collective wisdom of seventeen wise and wonderful other writers and six instructors whose knowledge and insightfulness sometimes verged on uncanny.

For instance, there was one instructor who, during personal conferences, had a fix for literally (LITERALLY) every problem in every story everyone brought to the meetings. And they were all brilliant fixes. People came out of those conferences looking slightly gobsmacked, waving a sheaf of papers and saying, “[x instructor] fixed all my stories.”

The best moments of Clarion, though, were not in personal conferences, or in critique sessions, or at readings. They were in the common room, on the balconies, over (execrable) meals in the cafeteria, when you looked up and said something no one else in the world would understand (about writing, life, the execrable cafeteria food, etc.) and the seventeen other faces around the table broke into smiles.

Also, that time someone filled up a trashcan with water during the squirt gun battle and hurled it down onto an unsuspecting victim. That was pretty excellent too.

A wise Clarion alumnus who greeted us all on our first day said, “while you are here, if you have a choice between sleep and socializing, eating and socializing, even writing and socializing, you should socialize.” Not because she wanted us to ignore our writing, the thing we were there for, not because she wanted us to party hard and live it up, but because, she told us, “these people will be your peers in the industry. They will be your colleagues. They will be your friends.”

So I just wanted to take a moment on my little blog here and say thank you to all the instructors and all the students, for making those six weeks the best six weeks I have ever spent anywhere, doing anything, with anyone, ever.

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The last night of Clarion, looking off into our future as famous science fiction writers.

If you write science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, horror, or any other type of thing that has stuff in it that doesn’t generally happen in real life (flying cars, ghostly children, sentient cities…), and you are even REMOTELY interested in meeting other people who write things like you do, Clarion is the place to be. For more information on the 2013 Clarion workshop, visit the Clarion UCSD website. There’s also Clarion West in Seattle. If you apply, if you get in, you will never, ever regret going. I promise you.

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