Sunday, July 31

I tried to leave but...

yeah Im still in Seattle. Hehehe...Well I guess it fits -- I was the last one to get here, now I'm the last to leave. Saying goodbye so many times today is hard. Its hard to see how much of a difference 17 other people have made in your life the last 6 weeks until you're faced with not seeing them every mornin.

I Spent the morning jotting down my revision notes for the Clarion pieces. Then read God Bless you, Dr Kevorkian (Kurt Vonnegut) and hung out with Heather and Chris and Shelly(!party goddess!) will get one last night of sleep then I'm headed home.

Next post from Humboldt County!

Saturday, July 30


Edo practices his signature..

See. We came out fine...just look at Ann's bright shiny face!

Michael, tell us, what is that on Chris's back? Oh its all the silly things we've said over the past 5 weeks in critiques!

Last Days


Its officially 5am on Saturday and I have pulled my last Clarion West all nighter. No, I don't have a story due. Instead I spent the last twelve hours in pure fun social land with my classmates. One last time.

Naw, it wasn't all weepy like that either. After we had our graduation ceremony (following my last story critique -- a revision for life and death that went well but indicated that I still have LOTS of work to do -- and a conference with Michael -- which was fun and informative) we ate cake --mmm cake -- and got ready for the final official shindig of the workshop. We also got our T-shirts --yipeee-- and they look phenomenal.

As a side note, we also had "Michael Swanwick Made Me Cry at Clarion West 2005 and All I Got Was This Lousy T Shirt" shirts made in jest to Michael -- who we were sure would eviscerate one or all of us (and get away with it) this week. As other blogs have noted, what we got was a phenomenal, energetic story doctor who carried us through week six on sheer strength of will and determination alone. He was pretty amazing. First the glowing pickle, then the marshmallow fight after class and a whole lot of fixes for everybody's story issues.

At the party tonight we had a Clarion West first -- a class photo with three of our six instructors. Thanks to Octavia and Timmi for coming back for the killer shot, which hopefully will run in Locus soon. We did lots of goofing off, hugging and t shirt reading. Too much laughing, joking and a whole lot of picture taking...I wound up hanging out till the bitter end with Heather, and had a nice long talk with Michael about my name (to publish under my real name or an adapted version of -- and all the pluses and minuses that go along with) this of course assumes I will get published sometime soon, which I guess means I'd better get cracking on some revisions.

Being home one last time with everyone present was charming, 11 of us hoofed it over to IHOP for a last pancake-a-thon(after fielding such ridiculous questions from the slobbering drunk frat boys across the alley as "so do you read Harry Potter and stuff?") then returned home for a read aloud of The Viking. It felt good to laugh -- and laugh hard, reading to each other and inserting our own novel version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000...

Every so often I would catch myself sitting, just watching everyone and soaking it up. I kept thinking this would be the last time we would be together like this, and how amazing a thing that was. I'm so glad I stayed.

So tonight I'm burning some mix music for the long drive home. I don't really feel like sleeping, it seems like a waste of the last few hours we have here, and even though everyone's gone to bed, I'm feeling like the house is still so full of our vibes, I'd like to just marinate for a bit. In the morning (ah, I guess that means in a few hours) I'll be taking Amy and James to the airport for the first wave of departures. WOW.

I'm so not ready for this.

I miss home, and work and Bj and Echo. I miss my bed and the beach and the quiet nights. I miss the stars and house and walking around barefoot and in my jammies.

But I have loved every moment of this, whether or not I knew it at the time. I will be sad to say goodbye. Tonight I went through my stories, editing out the pages that were unmarked for recycling and saving the crit sheets and line edits for later. It was actually kind of inspiring, and as I read crit sheets I could hear the voices of people that I have come to know in my head. I remember the things we laughed at -- I have a whole t-shirt of full of the best of them. Damn, I am so happy right now. And so sad.

Blame it on the fact that its 5am.

I'm sure in the next few days I'll have lots of insightful things to say about the workshop experience, and things I learned. Right now there's just a big soft warm fuzzy spot in my chest for the whole damn thing and all the people that I shared this experience with.

But above all:

We Made It. We survived six weeks, 18 stories a week, 4-6 stories (each) written overall. We laughed, we fussed and we came together in the end. Nobody complained (seriously) about the workload. Nobody quit (including me!)

I am so proud to be here, with this group of people. I still love each and every one of them.

Sun's on its way up. Oh I am tired, and if I close my eyes, I won't sleep a wink.

Tuesday, July 26

In Leiu of a real post I have another silly quiz result. I promise, I'll be back soon...I had a story due this am and a buttload of crits. But you better believe I've got a lot to say about our LAST WEEK.

Remind me to tell you about:
Michael Swanwick the Story Fixer
Marshmellows and glowing pickles
Our last reading
All I need to know I learned at Clarion (well not quite)

and more!

I don't even READ Harry Potter...sigh...

You scored as Ginny Weasley. You definitely share your mother's (Molly Weasley) fiery resolve and slowly but surely people are learning to respect you because of it.

Sirius Black


Ginny Weasley


Remus Lupin


Albus Dumbledore


Harry Potter


Draco Malfoy


Ron Weasley


Severus Snape


Hermione Granger


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with

Sunday, July 24

Mystery Guest, calamari disasters and week 5 wrapup

Oddball statistical analysis:

Week 5 Mystery Guest: Eileen Gunn (yehowsahs) she is too cool.

Foods I might never eat again: Calamari Tempura - still recovering from that one. I am considering swearing off all fried foods at this point. Probably not a bad idea.

Number of times I've regretted ordering the plate of Calimari: that corresponds directly with the number of treks I've made to worship the porcelain god in the last 24 hours -- you don't want to know.

Six Weeks Stats to date:
# of Greeks (sorority/fraternity kids) killed: None....Yet...

Number of times I've called Bj for a sanity check: 5

Number of stories written in six weeks: 4

Number of times I've checked my work email in six weeks: 3 (yeah for me!)

Completed yoga sessions: an abomindable 6...damn...

Coffee house "I must get out of this house or I will get no work done" escapes: 10 (this number increases dramatically as the workshop progressed)

Blog posts: 33

Average times I've shouted, cursed or waved my fist at the computer screen when a story wasn't working: 15-20

Number of times I have done this in public (outside the house): 4

Number of times I have lost my cool (temper) ...In the house...In front of people: 3

Number of times I have regretted said loss: 2

Emo-trainwrecks: 2

Times I have underestimated my skill, voice and stories: 4

Times I have been proven wrong about the worth of my story: 4

Words of love, support and kindness from Clarionites and others dear to me: Countless...

Week 5 Party Pics

Yes your honor, we were all a bit tired at that point in the workshop...but James, well he was just a little bit farther out there than the rest of us :-)

Another, "What do we want? Brains...When do we want them? Brains..." Moment brought to you by the class of 05 -- wait till you see our most killah tee shirts!

I was going for dramatic, but exhausted chic...who nees hard stuff when you can get high off of lack of sleep?

Timmi among us! yipee...Cutie Pie Karen and Heather the Hottie -- plus, back of Edo's head.

New Seattle Friends.
Good moment of the night: Nisi looks up and asks "Can we keep you?"
Love these ladies ;-)

Saturday, July 23

In case you were wondering...

Alright. I am remiss. You win. I fully intended to post after Horseboy crit. Then after my conference with The Gordon. Then after visit from mystery guest Eileen Gunn. Then before the party. Then after the party. Then week 5 reflections today after meandering down to the Farmer's Market.

Shit, Flitch...Its 11 and I ain't blogged a damn thing. Like that DMB song goes..."So much to say, so much to say so much to say."

In an effort to preserve some sanity and get a decent nights sleep (which I am insisting on at this point) I'm gonna divvy this up a bit. So, welcome to Part 1: Where I emerge from week 5 with The Gordon and Horseboy Crit with both arms intact.

YES! I STILL HAVE MY ARMS! (actually no arms -- writing or otherwise -- were severed in the course of this week. Although one fictional character did chop off her own foot, but that, as they say is another story entirely)

In case some of us had this fairy tale fantasy of The Gordon leaping up from the crit table with one of our manuscripts in hand shouting, "YES! YES YES! THIS TOOOTALLY WORKS FOR ME. I WILL PUBLISH IT AS IS, AS WELL AS ANYTHING YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN INCLUDING YOUR GROCERY LISTS!" wake up kids, its time to get schooled. It didn't happen. An even greater factor adding to the fear and anxiety emanating from the house this week was the "ohmygodihavetosubmitafirstdraftwrittenonnosleeptoTHEGORDON...iamsoscrewed...."

That said, what we all got was a (sometimes bitter) dose of reality about publishing and industry just at the moment when we needed it...(Cat has done a WAY better analysis of this theory than my battered grey matter could even attempt, so I will direct you to her blog for some damn fine thoughts on the subject -- Ditto Cat on the Writers vs Editors... Yeah, what she said! That's the ticket) Which all leads me to my ugly baby of the week -- the grammatically mangled, triple diaper bottomed ending but otherwise well meaning ode to a boy, a horse and a liar: The Horseboy.

(one Gordon suggestion: I need to work on my titles...But that's getting ahead of myself)

Class responded uber well, to the point that I often had the eerie feeling they were privy to my entire agonizing process when they started suggesting that what I needed to add was EXACTLY THE STUFF I HAD SECOND GUESSED MY JUDGMENT ON AND TAKEN OUT AT THREE AM. It was simultaneously the most thrilling and frustrating thing I've ever experiences.

  • taking out all the horse stuff for fear it was too sentimental, smarmy or high when it was really integral to the plot and the bitter reversal that closes the deal
  • pulling punches with the liar
  • moving my initial starting point to page FOUR and creating what The Gordon referred to as an opening with the effect of the writer clearing her throat.
Thrilling factors: I HAVE INSTINCTS, I CAN TRUST MY INTERNAL COMPASS...HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH...I immediately make the following promise:
  • I will no longer refer to my penchance for writing horses into stories as a "weakness" or a "comfort zone." Rather, now have a new TOTEM. Sweet. I will learn to use element when appropriate to the best of my storytelling ability.
  • I will no longer fear that my take on fantasy will inevitably be bogged down in medieval Europe/post Tolkein Fantasy-land. I will no longer be afraid of world building I CAN do something new!
  • I will start where the voices tell me to start.
  • I will hug myself everytime I feel like I am retarded for not being able to tell an entire story in under 5000 words. Some of us are just novelists by nature. Not that we can't learn both, but it helps to know where you're coming from.
  • I will not chide myself for buying well illustrated children's books. It suddenly hit me that one of the reasons why one my strengths is descriptions. I'm a fucking photog -- I'm a picture PERSON. (insert big valley girl Duh-uh!)
To be honest, the worst thing Gordon said to me (in my humble opinion) was that my manuscript looked like shit - typos, extraneous commas, nonsense in sentences. Which embarrassed me to no end, but is TOTALLY FIXABLE with a good night's sleep between writing and submission and a helpful copy editor. This is not a global "pick a new career" issue.

I STILL HAVE MY HAND, in fact. If I keep this up, I may actually get paid for that which it spews. One day, in a land far far away.

Damn I have not been so pleased in some time. Yes I was a nervous wreck this week (for oh so many reasons) and acted like a total spaz multiple times (in public, gasp!) as a result. However something happened for me internally this week that I will probably be sorting out for some time. Can't say it was totally The Gordon (though the one on one conversation we had didn't hurt) cause by the time I turned in Horseboy I was feeling resolute about it and overall pleased with the first draft of what I was trying to accomplish.

On some level I feel like I just got my internal north setting -- after watching the needle spin and spin and jerk around for an ungodly amount of time. With all the "normal" Clarion stuff and the Real World stuff crashing down at once I think maybe I was just raw and laid open enough to have to rely on my own voice, style and intuition in ways that I have thus far been able to avoid (to my detriment)

oh yeah, my editorial red line of death a la Gordon: page 4. Right before the spot where I would have started the story if I had just been paying attention to that little needle pointing north. Which also happens to be the place where the story apparently got interesting for him. HA!

Other suggestions from Gordon: COME UP WITH SOME DECENT TITLES [DAMNIT!]

Titles so far:
  • Small Strange Town
  • The Prince
  • A Matter of Life and Death
  • The Horseboy
Hmmm...Maybe he's right on that one. I'm already pretty sure Horseboy will become "Grace for Fools" or something...else. Amy's made suggestion of an author who's titles I should check out. UNF I have forgotten (already) -- *calling down the hall* Ai-meeeee...

Swanwick comes tomorrow. Rumor has it he will make us cry, energize us, perform strange magics and/or make us run screaming from the house. Anyway you slice it, I'm already grateful to the man for offering us the opportunity to do a revision of a clarion story. Frankly, I'm damn near tapped out for new stuff. Horseboy was my last glorious Clarion explosion. Whatever else he brings to the table, I'm thankful for that.

And hey, big girls DO cry and that's okay too.

Friday, July 22

Is it Friday yet?

Just barely, at the moment. So Horseboy is up for crit tomorrow. At this rate I will be doing my best to stay awake long enough to take notes. I'm actually really proud of it, in spite of the malformed lumpedness of the plot and distinctly horsey aroma. My poor little ugly baby. Isn't he cute? With a rewite it *might* be interesting to someone who publishes something and wants to pay people to put their story in said publication. That is the goal, eh?

For your amusement, I present a scene from a screw loose comedy I'm considering writing calling "Dinner for One at the Clarion Cafe, or, Requiem for a Zombie"

(Scene: Unnamed woman goes into restaurant, sits down without opening menu and waits patiently for the server. There is a large bandage on her forehead, much like ones on some of the her fellow human diners. A group of zombies sit at another table, splitting a brain sundae and talking about a killer Halloween party they went to last year. At a booth, a mermaid luxuriously unfurls her tail while spooning grey goo into her lamprey like mouth. The well worn cover of her book is visible, titled The Viking. In one corner another diner has peeled the bandage off and is beginning to bang his or her head on the laminate table, muttering "this just isn't working for me." )

Server (carrying notepad with large red pen and a stack of manuscripts under one arm): You got two minutes. Order.
Woman (in a polite and overly cheery voice): I think I'll start with the spastic critique sampler. Then I'd like an order of deep fried nerves and general lack of sleep with extra gravy. Does the lack of sleep come with a side of unnessary tension ? (waitress nods) Great. I'll order desert now too...Yeah I'll take the pie a la mort -- don't forget the cherry.
Server: to drink?
Woman: how about one of those hormonal smoothies -- you make them regularly, right.
Server: once a month, regular as clockwork.
Woman: Yeah I think its about time...
Server: (chewing gum, pauses to shake head and circle unnessary commas and incorrect use of "its" and "it's" on the top manuscript...Mutters to self) amateurs. (to diner) You know, by the time the check gets here you're gonna wish you had just relaxed and enjoyed this whole thing....
Woman: (laughing) I'm sure I'll be paying for this meal for some time but like mom always says, that which does not kill you...
Server: in that case, lemme get you some Tums.
Woman: great, I'm starved. Mind if I work on this story while I wait?
Server: suit yourself, just don't leave any brains on the table --
What is it with you kids and that headbanging thing?
Woman: um, how long is it going to take?
Server: 5 weeks or thereabouts.


Thank god for Edo. After weeks of talk, I finally took him up on the offer to join him for a jog in the evening. I'd been meaning to do this the entire time, but, so it goes. I forgot how good it feels to pound pavement. Even if I had to drop back and walk the killer hill, it was totally worth it. I may even try a repeat preformance tomorrow. Note to future kiddies: GET EXERCISE.

In other news, T called, which always manages to make me feel extra shiny. I got to hear someone else's dramatics -- the impossibly long plane flight from Idaho to DC (via SEATTLE...How bizarre is that?) and getting ready to marry one's best buddy (and by marry I do mean perform the ceremony...HA!) Though I did get a little bit of chiding for my impulsive impromptu boating trip last weekend it was still good to hear his voice. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy in my tummy. Well, that and the fact that I ate a solid meal for the first time in in 48 hours...Note to self: don't forget to eat.

Apparently, if the planets align a massage therapist may pay us a visit this weekend (at our expense, don't go freaking out thinking CW is footin the bill just cause we got a few extra meals and a cooler house than the last couple of years.)

Also, don't forget to do your laundry on a regular basis or you will find yourself floating around the house in your only remaining clean clothes (not good in my case) until the dryer stops goes off.

Off to bed. Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, July 20

Good reminder...

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In his commencement address to Stanford's graduating class, Apple CEO Steve Jobs reminisced about the time, many years ago, when he was sacked by the company he started. "It turned out that getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me," he said. "The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life." In telling you this, Gemini, I am definitely *not* predicting that you will lose your job. My purpose is to encourage you to cultivate the frame of mind Jobs described. Here's another angle on the perspective I hope you'll make into your permanent modus operandi: "In times of change, learners inherit the earth," wrote Eric Hoffer, "while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."
Nuff Said...thanks Rob..

Tuesday, July 19

And they're turning for home...

Well, week 5 is here. To be honest, I don't remember much of week 4. The worst part was getting to know Connie, starting to really like her and then being yanked out of Clarion by "real life." Technically I only missed four days, but it feels like a month the way things move around here. I'm just getting back up to speed, though I was back in the house on Thursday afternoon. I've been doing lots of reading -- at least trying to read the stories from my classmates, if not crit them all (a Herculean effort at this point)
I'm so grateful to the support and love from this class, not only did they let me go when I needed, but there were lots of open arms waiting when I came back. Connie was also incredible -- so kind and generous. I scraped turning in a story this week but she still gave me a conference and the opportunity to turn in something to her at a later date to make up for this. I feel so lucky to be here, in spite of everything. I'm doing my best to earn the privilege and catch up to the group.
How am I doing? It sucked to loose Grandpa Silvera at this particular time and space and the last few days have been interesting to say the least. When I came back I decided it was no good coming back if I was useless for crits and writing. I'm pushing through on sheer willpower and stubborness at this point. Most of the weekend it was all I could do to read the stories, crit the ones I still had time for and remember to breathe.
I didn't have the energy to make the party Friday night or Saturday's get away at the lake, though I heard both were incredible. I find myself needing a lot more time away from the house, and space from everyone. I'm trying to respect that need, and still be part of the group. After all, I totally adore the fact that I have the opportunity to spend time among a group of incredible folks. So I'm back. Aside from throwing a mini tizzy fit this morning over the lack of paperclips on some people's crits (don't ask me where the HELL that came from) and some poorly timed jokes I think I'll live.
Gordon is pretty cool. He has a good sense of humor and a great sense of story.
Although he hasn't yet taken an ax to anyone's story and left them armless and bleeding at the crit table or clubbed any baby seals before breakfast, there is a suspicious air of fear tinged awe in the group now. Might be due to the fact that he's one of the people we're all going to be submitting stories to (or are already currently submitting to) when we get back in the Real World. Might also be due to the fact that this is week 5 and we are tired and running on steam. Thankfully, Gordon seems to get this and so far, no one has been mauled beyond recognition. One of us even made the "potential" pile based on today's crit. Very cool. It is however, only Monday. I personally am terrified of the editorial "red line" of death (the point at which my story will receive said axe) but I'm here to fail, remember.
I will fail to succeed, I will fail to succeed. (Lather, Rinse, Repeat)
I have decided to throw the last shred of caution to the wind and attempt the utterly ridiculous: High-ish Fantasy with swords but no fighting and off stage magic. Hehehe...Am I feeling suicidal, you ask? Should somebody put me on a watch of some kind? Nah. I guess I'm just feeling like I have nothing left to lose.
Plus after last week's events my "designer pets" story just feels trite and unsatisfying. Perhaps I'll go back to it at some point, but for now I need something a bit weightier -- if only in my own head. Working title, "The Horseboy" I started to hear this character talking, I got the first line(s) tinkered around with an opening and the rest just came along. Going well. I am keeping an eye on the length. This is definitely a short story. My worst fear is that I will get self-indulgent with the horse stuff and bore everyone to tears. Its not really about the horses....I swear. This alone may illicit the strike of the red pen. Ah, hell, nothing an editor can say to me can be worse than being told my grandpa is dead. (I'm only half joking)
Plus, I am saving up my tears and the last loop of the emocoaster for saying goodbye to CW 05 next week. I don't care what anyone says, the time ALWAYS rushes by and you're left wondering how six weeks simultaneously feel like six years and six amazing minutes all at once.

My advice:
  1. Take that respect your fellows and teachers seriously -- even if it means you have to be sure to take time away from them so you can appreciate them better.
  2. Never miss a chance to chat in the living room or the kitchen, or get a midnight snack with others who have a story due the next morning.
  3. Take time for Self - Do something that makes you feel good. Get some time away from the house. Anything.
  4. Laugh as often as possible. Laugh hard. Read The Viking or Eye of Argon or whatever it takes. Read it outloud to each other. Laugh until your stomach aches and the person next to you can't breathe. Giggle.Chortle. Snicker. Guffaw.
  5. Make a group booklist. Find out what everybody reads. Start somewhere. You'll never finish. That's okay too.
  6. Take a hug when you can get it. You might forget how good it feels to have someone's arms around you -- it can happen. Trust me.
  7. SLEEP. Yes. I can tell you having done the 24 hour streches and greater that yes, you may be able to write and "get stuff done" on that kind of crazy schedule, but it will begin to wear on you, and after a while you'll come to realize that if staying up till three in the morning means you get your story done, but you have to get up at 6 and rewrite half of it cause its nonsense gibberish, you will wish you had gone to sleep at midnight and just crammed in the morning on a decent amount of sleep.
Okay, that's enough esoteric bullshit from me for one night. There's a paper ball fight going on in the living room right now. I can hear the shrieking laughter through my headphones. I'm preparing ammo. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 12

So much for skatin through week 4...

Well kids, I hate to drop the anvil in the middle of the party but so it goes. Grandpa Silvera died yesterday. I got the call from mom last night, and as expected, Silveras across the country are rattled and answering our own version of the "clarion call" home. After a long set of talks with mom, I've decided not to go to the service -- which will be next week--for many reasons, all of which I don't really have the heart to get into right now. Not the least of which is the freight train called Clarion, that is speeding steadily along toward our July disembarking at which point the whole magical experience will be over and done with...

Suffice it to say the largest part of my decision was this, as mom said (and we all know mom always knows best), "he would have wanted you to finish."

I hear ya mom. I hear ya. Doesn't make my heart hurt any less to be away from you all right now.

Call it a compromise. I can't keep motoring on as is, but I'm determined to stay the course: so I'm calling this the "FOURTH WEEK FROM HELL" and giving myself the next couple of days to just freefall. This will be my last post for a bit. I'm headed a few hours east. T knows I'm comin and will give me as much of his time as he can. I'll say my good bye to Silvera my own way, as best I can, and then come back here to Seattle, to finish what I started, because he would have wanted that.

Apologies to the greatest Clarion West class ever, I know I've been a ghost the last 24 hours, but if you keep a spot for me and the light on, I'll be back, I promise. Apologies also to Connie Willis, I am going to miss your guidance on plot -- looks like other things are just getting in the way right now. Thanks for being our fourth week mamma hen -- just when we needed it.

As for the rest of you cats, see ya when I see ya. Much love.


Sunday, July 10

Another one bites the dust

Good Evening, dear reader. (Always wanted to say that)

(This post is hereby dedicated to Tazsa, without whom it might not exist.)

So week three has just gone down the tubes and before I hop on the freight train conveniently titled "Week 4: Avoiding Predictions of Overworked Writers, Group Disgust and Unbearable Homesickness " I thought I'd touch bases with you for a brief recap of Timmi's week.

First of all. I (HEART) Timmi in a major way. Just so as you know. I also (HEART)ed Octavia and Andy, and with only three hours of Connie under my belt I sense the (HEART) growing...Its amazing how each individual instructor brings such unique and wonderful things to the table. All those things that have been said about Timmi's remarkable ability to see to the core of your story and lay it bare are TRUE. It is absolutely terrifying and thrilling all at once.

And I really liked her. A lot.

How's that for goofy fandom. Yeah, I know. I have so much admiration for her starting her own press and keeping the doorway open for sf writers with feminist inclinations and that can't get traction in the major houses. Too cool.

And now, back to me. I had a good week last week, but the fatigue was SOMETHING. I felt dead tired, and so far behind on everything it wasn't funny. I couldn't sleep enough, or keep my room tidy enough to remain sane. Also "REAL LIFE" reared its ugly head early in the week when I realized I totally screwed the pooch about the intersection of my rent due date, paycheck and fourth of July holiday. Suffice it to say, thank god for my amazing roommate who not only covered rent until said "real life" issue resolved itslef but endured countless "did my check get there yet?" messages on the machine while I got myproverbial shit together. I (HEART) my girl, BJ. Big time.

The Prince crit went well -- did I talk about this already? If so, tell me to shut up, or just skip this graf. For a story I viewed as a writing exercise in "how much can I get away with before people start throwing small objects at me" I was amazed that people did find it engaging and a turn (no matter how slight) from the usual fairy tale retelling. I did predict a few of the places where people had problems, but a few blindsided me (a good thing, really) and gave me lots of room for thought. My favorite comment of disbelief was about the Prince retaining his keen froggy hearing as a human. HA! Who would have guessed anyone cared?! I love this class. Thanks for keeping me honest kids. Really, really (HEART) this Clarion group.

There's been some discussion on this lately so I'll just add my two cents on the "to rewrite or not to rewrite" (at Clarion) dilemma. I've decided not to do rewrites of my stories at this point. The momentum train is rolling and doing rewrites now would be like having a delay at the depot. So I'm reading over the crit sheets immediately after session, taking any notes or asking for clarification but then they go in a box (actually a plastic storage unit from Target) Every once in a while I pull a stack out and read the good comments for motivation, but other than that they are OFF LIMITS. That way they can marinate in my head with the story and when I'm clearer (read: had more sleep) I can really rewrite with a conscious eye on what I was trying to do and how well I did or did not accomplish that without getting swamped by seventeen individual (albeit AMAZING voices) That said, I am gonna get a bit of Strange out, sooner rather than later. Technically that's not a rewrite, more like a sneak preview. Pinkie Swear.

I'm also just killing time while I'm SUPPOSED to be working on my next piece (genetically modified designer pets anyone?Why do I feel like its a "fluff" piece already?) Connie Willis arrived tonight and she is SOMETHING. You ever like someone that totally scares you with how great they are at what they do? Yeah that's Connie. I (heart) Connie. Not as much as Amy though. NOBODY (hearts) Connie like Amy does. Its a beautiful thing.

One last bit. Thanks to the hosts of Friday's shindig. Fabulous house, great crowd and I learned the flavor aesthetics of a good Scotch. I feel so edu-ma-cated. I forgot my camera, but have plenty of eyeball memories stashed in my grey matter. I'd love to drop names but then you'd get sick of me and just go away, so all I will say is that the writing community here in Seattle is pretty stinkin cool and they come out to the gatherings. Nothing like talking to someone in casual conversation and having the surreal moment of realizing that they're THE....(fill in the blank with the name of your favorite writer)

Yipee! I may just be delirious, but at the start of week four I still love being here and can't wait for tomorrow.

Did I mention I am sick of my hair? Well, that's another rant - now I'm just procrastinating. Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to work I go...

Thursday, July 7

Oh I forgot!

Beautiful Seattle at Dusk...

Seattle's AWESOME 4th of July fireworks display. James, Katie and I hung out under the stars, it was very cool.

Well, except for the part where they started playing Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries...can we say SCARY anyone?

Wednesday, July 6

No time for words, just pics

As part of some important....ah research, yeah...we took a tour of some of the Ave's nicer shops. Ann and I got sarees at this really nice place called Bombay Jewlers...

...which we wore at the party on Friday. Aren't we cute?

Working hard, hardly be the judge.
Amy and I get some sun and take on our crits while posing as UW

Don't ask. It was something about the statue of liberty. However I got some really fun party shots from this vantage point. (No mom, I wasn't drinking. I swear)

Last Friday's Party Extravaganza -- Chris takes the whole "name tag" thing TOO far...

Our parting gift to Andy -- a gargoyle with a handmade "I got stoned at the Bontroff" tee shirt
It is a LONG story. But a funny one.

Parting Shot: A sample of Eugene's "dust jacket" photo shoot from the week 1 party...hehehe, he's so cute!

Thank You Rob Brezsny

So I checked my favorite horoscope, Free Will Astrology, this morning after a last minute changes to The Prince and email submission to Kinkos (God I love the internet) and laughed out loud:
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): A young goth woman was weaving her bicycle
through heavy traffic. She was talking on a cell phone with her left hand and smoking a cigarette with her right. Watching from my Honda, I marveled at how well she maneuvered without the guiding influence of her hands on the handlebars. I stopped next to her at a red light, and was further impressed when she pulled out a candy bar and a small book of poems by Charles Baudelaire. For a minute or so, she smoked, ate, read, and chatted on her phone. Just before the light changed, I leaned out the window and said, "You're not a Gemini, are you?" "Yeah," she replied. "Of course. How did you know?" I knew because not only are you the zodiac's best multitasker, you're also at the very peak of your ability to do five things at once.
Thanks for the giggle Rob. If only you knew. Feeling behind on so much at once, I'm planning on making today a "super Gemini multi-tasking day." (Insert cape and fanfare here)

Things to do:
  • Finish yesterday's Crits
  • Start on today's
  • Timmy's assignment
  • Post to the Blog ( 4th of July pics, the fuss about horoscopes, the best midnight Gyro run and muggy Seattle storms and...I have gained permission to post photos with a few of my classmates, yipee!)
  • Call T back (I meant to do this last night but got busy)
  • Do something really sweet for Rachel (who waded through all 50 pages of Prince last night and hacked it down to managable size)
  • Take a NAP -- I am barely functioning on three hours of sleep.
  • And I have every good intention to take crack at Strange's opening for you, because I promised and I hate to break my word.
Any predicition about my ability to squeeze an extra hour into the day, Rob?

Sunday, July 3

Which Sci- Fi Writer Are You?

I would like to say this is flattering...but I'm not so sure.
(back to writing. This week's tale: The Prince, aka "Eddie Takes on a Male POV-- more to follow)

I am:
Isaac Asimov
One of the most prolific writers in history, on any imaginable subject. Cared little for art but created lasting and memorable tales.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Friday, July 1

Happy Friday

Howdy! Thanks for checking back in. Crit for "Life and Death" went great, people really got to the meat of what needed to be worked and saw right through my "Clarion middle" (rushing through with a "because I said so" to the reader cause I had 4 hours till story due time) demanding the meat of the story.

Again, seemed like a bit of a longer piece (read book or novella)

Again, where's the conflict, why is this day more important than any other day (even more so than "Strange")

But, the plus side: folks liked the premise (largely), and the voice and no one protested about the talking cat. (That was my mission, sneak a talking cat into the piece and raise no alarm)

AND...I know I promised you part of "Strange" today but this has been an insane Friday -- busy busy busy and my laptop got here yesterday early! I'm in the process of moving all my files, favorites and crap from Ms Toshiba Saurus Rex to the tentatively named New Delli so I didn't get to play with "Strange" like I thought I would. I will definitely work on getting that out soon. Cause the farther I get from it the more I really like it and the thought of turning it into a novella is starting to excite me more and more.

tonight, we party (such a rough life) I had dish detail but most everyone pitched in -- Heather even popped behind the counter to help change the dishes in washer and "dish" with me about life in Seattle. It sounds very awesome...its going to be hard not to quit my job and crash on somebody's couch when this is all over :-)

Okay for people reading this from work I am JUST KIDDING. I LOVE YOU AND CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU!

I'm gonna paint my nails (thanks mom for the care package!) and get my sari on, then I'm taking Clarion Scout Troop #2005 to another fabulous shindig.