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Clarion 1, Livia 0

Michael Swanwick, both in his workshop critique and one-on-one session, pointed out to me that the story I turned in was not a story (as I'd so fervently hoped for), but a vignette. I agree. This means that as of now, I am the only person at Clarion who has not turned in a story. A real story - something in the 5000 word count range. The thought hit me yesterday morning, just before the workshop started, that I had become the Official Class Loser, and that - couple with stress over some personal things concerning life back home, and my migraine - caused me to ditch class at the last second, sobbing all the way back to my dorm room like some self-indulgent four-year-old. Except, a four-year-old would have been much more composed and adult even than me. So, I'm also the first Clarionite to Officially Freak The Fuck Out.

Does this surprise anyone?


No, I didn't think it would. I knew I'd be the first to crack. We all did. :)

On the other hand, I'm way ahead of the curve in terms of class freak-outs - I can rest easy knowing that when dreaded Week Four Hell rolls around, I'll have already gone through it. In the meantime, however, there's the small matter of writing. I won't be turning in anything new for Nancy Kress next week. Just can't do it. I thought being at Clarion would somehow magically turn me into someone who can write stories as quickly and smoothly as all y'all seem to be able to. Nope. I'm a novel writer who occasionally writes short stories. It's never going to be anything else. And because this is a class that pounds out short fiction like it's no harder than breathing (to date: 45 stories written, at approx. 229,000 words), my time outside the workshop will always have to be reserved for critiquing first. It's the nature of the beast here - I can't come into workshop telling people I didn't crit their stories because I wanted to work on my own, and then expect them not to do the same. So, I'll probably have one story ready in time for week four (Joe Haldeman) and one for week six (Holly Black and Kelly Link). Two stories total for six weeks of Clarion. I've heard of at least one person who went through Clarion without writing anything at all - I knew I'd escape that distinction, I just didn't think I'd come so close to it.

I'm very tired and a bit demoralized right now. No, I'm not tired. I'm utterly exhausted. And I haven't eaten a real meal in five days. This morning I'll work on the writing (only two stories due for critiquing on Monday, which I've already finished), then this afternoon walk along East Grand River Road. I want: books, clothes, food that has some GODDAMN FLAVOR to it (it's not natural from someone from the NYC area to not have a certain amount of MSG in their system, so I'm looking for Asian food, specifically), and Starbucks. Yes, I want some fucking Starbucks. Drinking shitty overpriced coffee after spending way to much money on some hideous piece of clothing at Urban Outfitters will sooth my troubled soul.


Marine Autumn

I owe you marine autumn
With dankness at its roots
and fog like a grape
and the graceful sun of the country;
and the silent space
in which sorrows lose themselves
and only the bright crown
of joy comes to the surface.

--Pablo Neruda.

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