Clarion West — Week Five

Sorry for fading away for the past three weeks.

It’s been a whirlwind.  Since day one of Clarion West, I’ve written nine stories (almost 40,000 words), read and critiqued ninety stories (closing in on half-a-million words), attended four fan parties and the Locus Awards and been to the emergency room twice (it was for food allergies and after the second trip I was covered with hives for five days, Fun and games.).

I’ve had to learn to live with seventeen strangers, aged 21 to 60, of both genders.  I’ve come to like most of them, formed what I hope will be lasting friendships with two or three, and I’ve probably pissed off all of them at one time or another over thirty-five days (Rachael will tell you I’m not always easy to get along with).  I know I’ve been pissed off myself from time to time.

All in all, though, I find the bunch of them funny, intelligent and interesting to talk with, not to mention incredibly gifted writers. Some of the stories I’ve read have moved me to tears, made me laugh and blown my mind.  They’re not my stories, so I can’t tell you about them, but I suspect you’ll have a chance to read some of them — in print — before too long.

It’s been a singular experience and there’s still a week to go. Ian McDonald is here for last week. We met him last night; he’s a bright and funny man (with a lovely Irish accent). He’s going to talk to us this week about world-building and writing other cultures and pitching stories and who knows what all.

Seventeen more stories to read and critique. One more party to attend. Then it will be over and we haven’t even had a chance to play Thing.

More when I can.

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