Clarion Report #2
Well, now our first week is over, and we have all survived so far. Paul Park was a great instructor, and a good person to have the first week. I've heard tales of some more brutal Clarion instructors, but Paul never made discouraging comments. When we were workshopping stories, he let criticism come through gradually, in the questions he asked, so that it became more and more obvious what the story was lacking. One of his favorites was "Where are we? Can you describe it for me?"
My first story got off pretty well. A couple of people hated it but more loved it, so I think I'm on the right track. It was a retelling of the ME Sir Orfeo in the second person, and some people just couldn't get past their aversion to the second person, which I expected. Paul said the main thing you have to do when working with traditional material is make it your own. I like that.
Friday night was the first of the famed Clarion West weekly parties. I met Vonda McIntyre, a small gray-haired woman with a lively smile, and Lucius Shepard, and a couple more local writers whose names I hadn't heard before. For those who aren't familiar with SF/F Vonda just won the Nebula for her new novel, and Lucius has a few awards to his name as well.
The way I met Lucius was very gratifying. I wandered out to the balcony where Paul was standing with a group of people I didn't know. "Ruth," he called out. "Come meet Lucius Shepard. He's the one who gave you the nod." I guess we're not supposed to know what goes on behind the scenes, but hey, in a party situation ... Then somehow or another, four of us, Paul, Lucius, me and Bob (a Clarion grad from last year who had Chip Delany as an instructor) were singing Neil Young until we forgot the words. Quite a change from the Paul Park we had at the beginning of the week.
I love our Clarion group, but they are incredibly virtuous, tending towards the workaholic end of the scale, and almost all the cars went home early -- so I went home early too.
Well, now I have to get back to my second story. I didn't make the Friday deadline, so I'll be turning it in tomorrow.
Clarion Report #3
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Eric Witchey, Daniel Abraham, Michael Bateman