Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Friday, November 07, 2008

The World will know me

See, I was going to post yesterday, but before I did I realized that I was way, way too depressed. I try to not post when I'm that far down, because god. You don't want to read that. But things are better today. I'm still tracking why that might be.

One of the things that got me up was reading a story I wrote something like three years ago. It was horrible. I mean, not *bad* bad, but bad enough that I wouldn't have sent it out to magazines. But I liked the central idea, so I just dumped the unsalvageable bits (that would be all the words, and the punctuation, and also the specific plot structure that I chose) and am now working on a rough draft. I think this is good, because it'll serve as a break between book stuff. Again, it's nice to see that I'm better now than I was three years ago.

I've been thinking a lot about Clarion. For those of you unaware, Clarion (East and West) is a six week writing class. It focuses on short stories and is taught by various luminaries in the SF/F world. People who go swear by it. And I don't doubt it's great, but I've never had the time. Does this reflect a lack of commitment on my part? No, it reflects a mortgage and a wife who expects me to pay my half of the Discover bill, which I think is a perfectly reasonable expectation. And I think I've learned a lot about writing just by writing. If the story I pulled out last night is any indication, I've learned a *lot* about writing.

But I'll tell you the thing I miss. Community. Clarion grads know each other. They keep in touch. There's a sense of belonging in being a Clarion graduate. Me, I'm just a rogue author. You meet me at a con, you have no idea how well I write. I could be a nice guy and a shitty writer. I know my fair share.

Anyway. I'm just thinking outloud here. The nice thing about Calgary was that it was like having friends. The bad thing was that I was reminded I really only have friends once or twice a year. I trade one great week for one really bad week of withdrawal. Next week it's back to slightly even keel, and a good deal of work.

Totally my fault. And I'll do something about it, someday. Not having friends does free up a lot of time for writing. So there's that.


At 6:05 PM , Blogger Marshdrifter said...

Friends, nothing. There is nothing better than meeting up with your professional cohorts, if even only once a year.

At 10:29 PM , Blogger Splitcoil said...

Clarion would probably be good. I met and spent a little time with a couple of Clarion alumni (Kelly Eskridge and Nicola Griffith) a couple of years ago. Went to a Clarion party. Very nice group of people, and the people in the workshop at the time were very intensely into each other and their work. They encouraged me to go for the workshop, but I'm nowhere near ready and couldn't get the time anyway, since I work for the Man. Scratch that. I AM the Man.

There was a girl at the party wearing boots that may have weighed more than she did. I'm not sure how she got around, but at least she wouldn't have been blown away in a stiff wind.

At 3:59 PM , Blogger Daryl said...

I went to Clarion, and two of my classmates were Kelly and Nicola, as a matter of fact. Clarion was hugely important to me, but then again, I was 23 at the time and more clueless than the usual 23
year old.

The most important thing I learned -- and I repeated this anecdote to Farrah M at the Thai place in Calgary, though you probably weren't listening because you were hungry -- is that no one can help you. If everybody thinks something is wrong with a story, then there probably is something wrong, but no one can tell you how to fix it.

But you're a (multiply) published short story writer and a novelist, so you know that already.

I will give you this, though. Clarion history does give you a free 30 seconds of chit-chat at a con party. You went to Clarion too? Which one? What year?

And then you're done.

At 8:16 PM , Anonymous Jenn (tacithydra) said...

I like you! I also wish we talked more, except you rarely post and *I* rarely post, so sometimes it feels like two ships passing in the night.

But anyway, I think about you a lot more often than you hear from me. I know I'm not really next door or anything, but still. When you have good news it makes my day.

At 7:41 AM , Blogger Tim Akers said...

I agree that there's nothing better than spending time with your professional cohorts. I just wish a couple of them lived a little closer, especially the ones I've made a good connection with. You people know who you are!

My wife has those boots. I'm still thinking about Clarion. I agree with Daryl that other people can't really help you (and Daryl, I kind of phased out when Farah started going on about IZ. Which was pretty close to the start of the meal) other than to say what does or doesn't work for them. You really have to learn to do your own maintenance. It's tough.

As far as conversation material goes. Seriously? Have you ever known me to be at a con with a beer in my hand and at a loss for words? Seriously?

Jenn! Yes, talk more. Post more! Join Facebook so I can update you on my status fifteen times a day! It's serious content.


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