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Clarion Call, and Big News

Well, I made it. (edit: I made the application deadline, I mean. I won’t hear about whether I’ve been invited to the Workshop until sometime in late April or May.)

When I thought I’d be doing a summer class, I put off the idea of applying at one of the Clarion workshops — Clarion or Clarion West — because I figured I could wait a year. I have been thinking about trying to attend a Clarion workshop for a long time, and for those of you who don’t know what it is, the best way I can sum it up is to say it’s THE SF/fantasy writing workshop. A large number of the writers I admire have gone through Clarion, and subsequently instructed at Clarion, too. It’s a really cool, amazing chance to meet your peers, other aspiring writers within the genre. As I wrote in one letter of introduction (to Clarion West):

I went through a Creative Writing program in graduate school, and I saw (and to some degree experienced) how powerfully educative a writing workshop can be. But in all of my workshop experiences, I myself have been “the sci-fi guy€?, a term that always made me cringe. I always wondered what it would be like to be with a bunch of people who weren’t shocked or weirded out by the fact that they were critiquing “genreâ€? fiction, who knew that the most important thing in SF is also good writing, and loved and respected the genre.

I was under the impression from my job interview here at my current place of employment that I’d be working during the holidays, teaching summer and winter make-up courses, but the other foreign professor in my department recently assured me this is very unlikely; that I’d be given the option to teach a summer course in the Language Center if I liked, but that I wouldn’t actually be required to do so. Looking at timing, and looking at my plans for the summer, I decided that probably the best thing to do would be to try attend one of these workshops this summer, if I could. So I spent all of Friday getting my applications together, figuring out the PayPal system, and boring Lime by using her credit card to send the payments. (She was bored because she was waiting for me to figure out the system. The Coordinator at the Clarion Workshop office in Michigan wasn’t able to explain well to me how to send the money to her, and I ended up having to figure it out sort of on my own; the coordinator didn’t seem aware that I just had to input one of the Clarion addresses into the PayPal system to send the money, so I tried both email addresses and got the right one, finally, and canceled the other.)

So, whew, I’ve applied to both workshops with different pieces of writing. I’m curious to see what kind of reaction each gets me. I may be spending part of my summer in a classroom with Samuel Delany, Joe Haldeman, Maureen McHugh, or several other rather enviably well-respected authors. Hoo! I guess I’d better try to read some more Delany, just in case.

There’s other big news for the summer — not mine, but news of someone close to me, and it looks like I’ll have a reason to visit Australia. I won’t announce it here, since it’s not my news, but you may want to watch this space.

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