Clarion Journal, 2003

Monday, July 14, 2003
Wheee! Charlie came up to visit yesterday (yay!) and his truck promptly broke down (boo!) so we had to deal with the towing and the like, but that meant he got to stay for BBQ and mafia and good stuff like that. Luckily there's a spare bed in the clarion office so he sacked out there.

The BBQ was fabulous - yummy chicken and rice and cheesy potatoes. Maureen was a wonder to watch while she was fixing all this stuff up. Made me think I should be able to cook, too. For a long time it looked like it was going to rain and we wouldn't be able to eat out, and it did rain for a good long time, but it managed to clear up before dinner time.

After dinner Jim got his fondest wish and we had our first clarion water fight. Some of us hid in maureens apartment so we wouldn't get wet. Very fun.

After that we played a couple of rounds of mafia. I was the commandante for the first round, and we managed to zen our way to a 1-2-3 victory. The second round I got killed right off the bat - Charlie was the Commandate, and he pulled off a tough victory (aided and abetted by some stupid moves by the mafia). So Villagers 2, Mafia zip.

Some chinks in the clarion solidarity armor. Folks are still obsessing on the NNI (Nearly Naked Incident) and other folks seem to have forgotten they are going home again - When you see someone coming out of someone else's room at 4 am with their shirt inside out, well, far be it for me to comment.

posted by chance 7:09 AM
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Oh, and I forgot to add, I need a story idea - any idea - my last story critiqued is so not going to be the monkey story.

posted by chance 7:10 AM
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We had an extra pro at critiques this morning. Oh wait, it was just charlie *grins*

Actually his critiques totally rocked. (everyone said so) Some really nice insightful stuff as always. My monkey story was critiqued this morning and the general response was "huh?" though not a few people commented that the shortstop story seemed rich and meaningful in comparison. *giggles* Matt and I were talking about how I should write a sequel to "Monkey and the Baby Jesus" - "Monkeys and the Second Coming" *giggles with matt*

ok, I am just not that cruel. Jim started his critique by saying that he did have a sense of humor, and then told me I should trunk it and use it as an idea generator. Maureen asked me to use my powers for good, instead of evil.

we'll see.

finally got charlie back to ohio today *waves to charlie* it was fun that he got to stay for mafia and such, but stinks that his truck broke down, but much fun was had by all.

Went over to Jim's to drop off my stories for our conference on wednesday and got in a bit of a spirited discussion where he started fwaping his shoe on window sill and made all the cultists who were having some sort of meeting in the courtyard look at us while we were giggling (ok, maybe they weren't cultists, but we had sortof worked out in our brains that they were.)

And now I am just a lonely gal in search of a story idea. maybe if I take out a personal ad ....

posted by chance 9:24 PM
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Tuesday, July 15, 2003
We went by the The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory today. Twas very cool. But no gay hulk. So not cool enough. Got the title of my next story there "The Magnetic Butt" (just kidding maureen)

Feeling the stress of still not having an idea. I'm going to spend a couple of hours surfing the internet to see what I can come up with.

posted by chance 5:33 PM
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Wednesday, July 16, 2003
The Best Day Ever

oooh boy what a day.

our class "couple" was making out during critiques yesterday and the session turned into pretty much a free for all condemning them. (and if you think you know who it is, well you are probably wrong)

And then the Scott crush thing got totally out of control. Everytime Tammy did a critique she would preface it with "Well, as Scott would say ..." "Scott says you really should be sure you are telling the story from the right POV, and this one should be told from the POV of the corn..." arrrrgh! i wanted to pinch her.

Jamie and Maureen both went to the hospital (for separate stuff - maureen had to call in her crits from her room today) and I swear one of my classmates gave someone (not in clarion) a push and they fell down the stairs.

Oh, and let's not forget about the fire alarm incident the other day. (ask charlie - he was here).

But you know, that was all just regular hijinks, but then I went down to the caf at around 3 pm, and who did I see off in the corner eating a hamburger - Jonathan!!!!!

He claims it was a veggie burger, but he wasn't fooling anyone.

Oh, and why was it the best day ever yesterday? Matt and I shot the moon!!!!!! *whispers to matt* we're the best team ever.

posted by chance 7:58 AM
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oh, and I finally got a story idea I quite like, but I'm not sure if I will get it done in time.

posted by chance 7:59 AM
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ok chuckle heads, you do know we were pulling your legs, don't you? stop calling maureen to make sure she is ok

posted by chance 11:50 PM
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Thursday, July 17, 2003
Had my big meeting with Maureen and Jim today. Lots of good helpful stuff - Jim gave me some good advice on how to maybe fix the ending of the Christmas tree story. Also they both liked the book, and told me I better finish it. They also said they would introduce me to agents and stuff at worldcon or boskone. so that totally rocks. (and I loved that they both needed to know how it turned out *grin*) Jim also said he might know a face to face group in the boston area I coulld join.

Maureen said that she thought I was making my own genre, which is cool on the one hand, but also makes for tough selling on the other hand.

I had been moaning and groaning about how I never had any great breakthroughs while I was here, but I think I was wrong about that (though I still think I didn't have a breakthrough in a the way Matt or Joel did, bringing their fiction to a whole knew level) More I think I had a breakthrough in the kind of fiction I write. Everyone here sees me as the person who writes sortof odd experimental fiction, but really I never did so much before I came here. Maureen said that that part of the fiction I submitted here has a sense of wildness that my linear fiction didn't have, though the hands story does. (And I think I was starting to touch on this last winter when I wrote the Elvis story last winter.) so I don't think I had a breakthrough on the level of writing so much as I think I will be producing very fiction than I had been before I came here. And that's a good thing, and part of the process of finding your own voice.

I will have to think on this more once I get home. (Alas, I am always a very instinctual learner, so lots of times it is really hard for me to intellectualize stuff or even explain what I was trying to do in a story, though I usually know, I just can't tell you too well.)

Anyway, I was going to try to turn in another story, but Maureen told me I was required to watch Spirited Away with folks tonight, because I don't create enough of a sense of real danger for Selene in the novel. (That and the four hour nap I took has pretty much killed the one final story submission idea.)

We hung in Matt's room looking over the list of stories submitted from past Clarion classes and planned a pilgrimage over to the archives tomorrow to look at some of them. (Seems our titles are pretty darn tame in comparison, though I think I have two pretty interesting ones) Then Matt, Ryan, and I brainstormed about writing "Baby Jesus in Space" - he rides around in a space ship shaped like a manger and smokes cigarettes, and if the air gets too smoking, he can just do a miracle, oh, and he has a tiny baby sized space suit - now do you understand how "Monkey and the Baby Jesus" got written?

Ok, four hour nap not really enough - I'm off to bed.

posted by chance 12:10 AM
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Oh, one addendum to the practical joke posts - this is very important

Matt and I did really shoot the moon!! (best team ever!)

posted by chance 1:11 AM
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Well, I ended up writing 1300 words of "The Second to Last Car in America" *waves to the folks who were brainstorming about this* Why is it the second to last car? Because of the giants. Didn't you notice them? I colda maybe finished it up, but it was going to be at least 3k and it really isn't fully baked yet. (And also because I heard Lance is turning in a 13k behemoth, so we have plenty of pages to read still)

No one seems to have mentioned this in their journals, and I think I'm going to, because its something real and hard and generally doesn't show up in the journals people read when they are thinking about applying to clarion.

One of our group had a bit of a meltdown during critique yesterday. He'd (i use he as a gender neutral pronoun. btw) been saving up hard feelings for the six weeks because he felt inhibited (writingwise) by the critique process. At first I was mad, and now I feel really sad.

Unfortunately, Clarion isn't for everyone, and that's a really hard truth if you come here for six weeks before you figure that out. Sometimes it's difficult not to take away the negative from people, even though there is all kinds of positive. Something to think about before you apply.

Anyway, that's probably about enough of that, because it's not my story to tell.

So here is an essay on
a group is its own worst enemy.

posted by chance 8:00 AM
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Saturday, July 19, 2003
Last, Last, Last

Last critique day today - just Lance's story. Which was good because it was long. Afterwards, Jim and Maureen gave a talk on revising and one on novels. Lots of good stuff - too late to write up.

I wasn't feeling well, so I had nappies after class. Then I walked to get my car and a quick trip to Meijer. Before I knew it, it was time for the farewell BBQ. Food was yummy, and we played mafia after - was mafia the first time and we lost, got killed right away the second time and the mafia won. Then I ran off to pack for a goodly while before heading back down to Jim's to hang.

Bit by bit people started dropping away - since they moved the BBQ to tonight, lots of folk are leaving tomorrow, me included. I'm heading off to spend the night at Mary Rickert's (i know all the BH folk are jealous now) before finishing the trip home on sunday.

But now I am finally packed, so I'm heading off to bed.

Farewell Clarion!

posted by chance 1:29 AM
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