Monday, March 22, 2010

In Which the SIlence is Lifted

At least, the Clarion West "radio silence" is over. I can officially announce my acceptance, not that I've been as quiet as I should have been (it's really difficult). Shout it from the rooftops! Except I still can't talk above a whisper without strain. Argh! Oh, wait. I can't even say "argh."

When I applied last year to the Clarion West Writers Workshop, I took two "bathroom mirror" photos of myself, one with the Acceptance Face that can be seen here, and the Rejection Face, which I was too deflated to use in my 2009 rejection post. Don't ask why. If you've played the Clarion waiting game, you probably know that it has serious side effects on your sanity. The photo's a little myspace-ish, but what the heck.

The stupified expression I'm sporting in the photo is appropriate, as it turns out. When I got the call, my brain turned to mush and made me incoherent. I'd gone for a walk and left my phone at home, and there was a voicemail waiting from Seattle when I returned. I called back immediately without collecting my thoughts, which may not have helped matters anyway. Enter the gibbering idiot. I probably said "wow" and "thank you" about ten times each and failed to process much of what was being said on the other end, except the part about acceptance. Yikes! I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this instant moron reaction, as a few of my future classmates have expressed the same.

While waiting to share the news, I have to say that my overall response to this turn of events has not been quite what I expected. Instead of triumph and elation, I think the word for what I'm feeling comes somewhere between anticipation and terror. Kinda like I felt right before walking down the aisle at my wedding. Attending the workshop involves sacrifice, not just a financial one and not just on my part; plus, it's an opportunity that, I think, comes with a certain kinda price tag, an obligation to live up to the faith being placed in me, both during and after. Most importantly after. I hope I can, more than anything.

Needless to say, I'm already planning what to pack.

EDIT: Oops. I didn't apply to Clarion West in 2009. Rather, I applied to Clarion (San Diego), which is a whole different workshop. Maybe I am a little giddy after all.

16 comments:

E. J. said...

Excellent! Huge congratulations!

Utopiana said...

Thanks so much!

Utopiana said...

BTW, I am so jazzed about your Asimov's success! Congrats back at ya!

JohnR said...

Congrats, officially!

Can you believe we have to endure 3 months of daily anticipation?

Penumbra said...

I am so so happy for you. Cannot think of a better way to connect to the web of existence than to tell a story. I did not choose the bardic path - it chose me. It is immensely gratifying to see someone moving down that path with success. The joy and commitment you bring to everything you touch will no doubt see you through to many other silly mirror pics.

Utopiana said...

Thanks, guys! If I can just get well (cough, cough), maybe I could focus on cultivating my anxious side.

Right now, I'm just fantasizing about the semester's end and thinking in vague terms about the time between Florida Pagan Gathering at the end of April and June 19. I'm sure it'll fly by (crosses fingers).

Stephanie Denise Brown said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person with a little anxiety. I keep worrying about whether I'll stand up to the expectation of the program. Eep! I'm hoping that we'll all continue to support one another in the after life of the workshop. That would be an immense support system to have.

JohnR said...

Stephanie, I hope you're spot on about the support system. One of the main reasons I'm excited about the workshop is because of the community that is built in each one.

Lauren said...

I'm really anxious too. I have a tendency to really beat myself up when I know I'm not doing my best--or for whatever reason, could be doing better but just cannot figure out how to leap over that roadblock. Anyway, I hope our class is like last year's class and is super supportive of each other (that's what I heard, anyway). I know I will do my best to support all of you!

Congrats, Tracie!

Stephanie Denise Brown said...

And congratulations, Tracie! I read last year's post and I think you should feel proud and strong about all the work you've done, never giving up to get into CW. You rock, woman! :)

Utopiana said...

Thank you! Your comments are so supportive and I really appreciate the thoughts. I'm holding your successes in my heart as well; yes, I've no doubt we'll continue to support one another even after the workshop ends.

It was nice to look back on last year's rejection post and consider what I've done in the meantime, which is admittedly not a lot in terms of writing output, but I'm ready for this now. Feels good. I'm glad to have you all along with me!

a blog by Andy Romine said...

Congrats!! And Can't wait to meet you!

Yes, Terror and Anxiety go hand-in-hand with Elation and Excitement like chocolate and peanut butter.

Wait, no...

Like cheese and crackers.

er.

(I think about food too much!)

Anxiety seems to be part and parcel of being a writer (or an artist). I worry too that I won't be ready when I get to CW. But think of all the people who have come before us, worrying about the same things we worry about now.

We'll be fine. At least after all the watergun fights... :)

Utopiana said...

So,we are in this together, then. I'm not crazy! Thanks for weighing in, Andy!

Frank_Ard said...

A big and official congrats to you! I feel the same terror and anticipation. I can already tell the camaraderie this year is going to be amazing. We'll be a tight-knit group, for sure, and I think that'll most definitely carry on after the workshop. I'll do my part :) See you in Seattle! Cheers!

Susan Stone-Lawrence said...

Now that you officially post, I officially say, "Congratulations!"

I felt a combination of excitement, anticipation, and dread before my trip to KCACTF Region IV in February. Then, I had a great experience, met some cool people (who have since hooked up with me on FB), and learned more than I would expect in five days. Plus, I received second place for my Dramaturgy.

Something clicked for me in Tennessee, such that I finally completely accepted the idea that I belong in my dream. I would not want the things I do if I were not allowed to have them. Of course, now I realize some heavy responsibilities come along with the life I deserve. Between the thesis and applications to PhD programs, I have so much work ahead of me this next year. And when I think about my father's return from California for the summer, I feel overwhelmed. But I won't give up.

Best wishes to you in the fulfillment of your destiny!

Utopiana said...

Thanks. Feeling like I have permission to follow this dream is a big part of Clarion's value, to me. Just being invited lets me know my work is worthwhile.

I'm glad to hear things are going well for you. You DO deserve to have that dream, and I think you can do it. You've got drive to spare!