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Go Read… (Classmates Plug)

Go check out Ben Burgis’s pre-Clarion West story “Three Perspectives on the Role of the Anarchists in the Zombie Apocalypse” (ahem) over at Afterburn SF. (It has Ben’s fingerprints all over it.) Then go read Meghan Sinoff’s award-winning “Shift,” currently online at Asimov’s. Both tales are worth your while.

Just a year ago — was it really so long ago? — I was in Seattle, hanging out with these people, drinking sangria and, Ben, what was that drink you bought me when I was reading “Lester Young” at the pub?

Just a year ago, I was waking up with itchy eyes and scurrying downstairs to try and offer sensible, useful criticism and feedback on stories by the best bunch of writers I’d ever shared  a room with. I was listening to incisive, essential, and unflinching — but also kind — feedback and criticism of my own work. I was short of sleep, I was missing Lime, I was longing for Korean food (at least, by week six I was). It was a trial, a test of strength and of will, of passion.

Before flying to Seattle, I thought it would be so hard, writing six stories in six weeks. So hard? It was like worrying that heat couldn’t possibly build up inside a closed pressure cooker — by week three, the ideas were spilling out, were getting typed into notes I still haven’t gotten around to opening. The challenges, the chit-chat about ideas, the scheming about world-building… it was as if all of that woke something up inside me, something that had been covered over in a thin coating of dust and inertia. Suddenly, the dust was thrown off, the music was pounding, and the last thing I could imagine was being short of ideas.

It was a good group. It is, as it is now, with those remaining active on the mailing list, a good group. (Though a few more of the ones who’ve gone silent, or almost-silent, would be nice to see.) It’s been too long since I’ve seen these folks.

Ah well, I’ll get to see a few of them in Yokohama, at the end of summer. That’ll be cool.

Time for a walk or something. Now, go and read those stories.

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