Getting acquainted

Eight weeks to go until Clarion West 2010 begins. Well, sixty days.

I’ve been spending the last two weeks participating in an e-mail exchange, as the eighteen of us who will be attending get to know each other. There are a flurry of messages every day, at all hours.

Seventeen of us are from the United States, but scattered from south Florida to Seattle, and the eighteenth is from Australia. So it’s almost always evening hours somewhere and when the messages come fastest; when people are at home.

We’ve been talking a lot about reading preferences and writing habits, which is only natural for a group of writers. But we’ve also been spending a lot of time discussing mundane things, like food and sleep and exercise habits.

As I’ve been reading these e-mails, it has finally come home to me that I’ll be living 24/7 with these folks soon for a six-week stretch. Six weeks doesn’t sound like all that long, given the way time seems to rush by, but when you consider that it’s six weeks away from normal patterns, that notion changes.

Last summer, I spent two weeks in Lawrence, Kansas, at Jim Gunn’s SF Writers Workshop. It was the longest I have been away from Rachael in the ten years we’ve been a couple.

When I got home, it seemed as if I had been gone forever.

So now, six weeks. 1,038 hours. That’s as much time as you spend with the folks at your workplace, unless you are a glutton for overtime, in six months.

It’s a magnificent opportunity to hone my writing skills, but it’s also a significant investment in seventeen relationships. Given the quasi-hermit lifestyle that Rachael and I practice, that’s more people than I’ve gotten close to in the two-plus years we’ve lived in Seattle.

I hope I’m up to it.

And I hope to tell you all about it in on-going blog entries during the workshop. Other participants have done this in previous classes, with varying success. I hope to be able to post at least twice a week. We’ll see.

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