On Course

Here’s the update:

  • I’m now 100% definitely going to Seattle for the Clarion Workshop. I’ll fly out on the 17th, and I’m going to try to get a ticket that allows me to stop by my mother’s place on the way back to Korea, six weeks later.
  • I’m now in the thick of marking. It’s just not pretty. But one thing that is really making me happy is that a lot of my students seem to have really picked up what I’ve been trying to get them to learn — things like structure in their writing, or a certain kind of critical approach to understanding media, or whatever.

    When I mentioned I’d be flying out of Korea on the 17th of June, rightat the end of semester, and that therefore final projects would have to be submitted a week before the end of semester, one of my more conscientious and active students asked me, with notable trepidation, whether I’d actually be leaving the country for good. When I reassured her that I’d be back in August, she seemed relieved, and told me she didn’t want to see a “good professor” leave the University so soon. Which is nice, it alleviates my fears about whether my courses are too heavy/demanding/whatever.

  • I’m reading John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on the Craft for Young Writers. You don’t have to be young to appreciate the good points he makes. I was inspired to do so when I noticed that Rudy Rucker mentioned he was reading it on his own blog, and I remembered a professor recommending it to me years ago. I’m certainly not crazy about it, nowhere near becoming a devotee like some of my old classmates, who seemed to have passages in it memorized, but it is a good book.

    After that, I’m going to start digging into some of the books by Clarion West Instructors whom I haven’t yet read. I have a nice stack that arrived the other day, and if nothing else, it will give me a better sense of who I am going to be learning with. Some of these authors I’ve never read before, and I feel a bit sheepish about that. But it’s easily rectified, if I can get the time to sit down and read.

7 thoughts on “On Course

  1. John Gardner taught at my alma mater (although not while I was there), so I’ve had his book since I was an undergrad majoring in CW. It certainly is a good book, and is quite helpful. I take it out from time to time and look through it. I don’t memorize passages from it, but I do like the part where he says that writers are abnormal people (can’t be bothered to look up the exact phrasing right now).

    Have fun at the Clarion Workshop. I’m looking forward to hearing your reports on it.

  2. I think I read that bit last night and giggled. He says it a few times in different ways, but one time it’s quite like how you put it.

    I think I may be blogging (very mildly) about the experience. I’ll mostly be focused on getting the stories written, reading others’, doing up crits (I assume we’re to write them formally) and so on, but the odd update is going to be just essential, I assume.

  3. I don’t know if he’ll be teaching at Clarion this year, but even if he’s not, Samuel R. Delany’s About Writing is excellent. If you can squeeze it onto your reading list I don’t think you’ll regret it.



  4. Delany’s at Clarion East this year. I was on the wait-list for East, but had all but decided to go to West because of the lineup, which just suited me better, when (a) Clarion West gave me a pretty compelling reason to go West, and (b) Clarion East contacted me with a “Sorry, not this year” rejection. But really, even before all of that, I was leaning towards Clarion West anyway. Providence, perhaps.

    What’s funny is that I sent a much older story (“Tannenbaum”) to Clarion West and a much newer one, and one of which I was somewhat more proud (but couldn’t submit to West because of the length restrictions, and which maybe was not quite as polished — “Instead of Pinochets”), to Clarion East. Hmm.

    I’ll have to look for the Delany book. I have to admit, I would like to have had the chance to study with him, but I imagine reading his book shall be a good key to some of his insights.

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